By Joshua Reichert – The Hill – November 20, 2015

One of America's greatest assets is our natural patrimony, with national parks and monuments, wildlife preserves, scenic rivers, and national forests containing some of the nation's most visited and treasured landscapes. However, beauty is not the only value of these places. They also provide significant and often overlooked economic benefits to surrounding communities and to the country at large. Data show that protected spaces put money in the coffers of U.S. businesses, municipalities, families and individuals — and that these gains are sustained over time. The Outdoor Industry Association's most recent report, in 2012, noted that consumers spent $646 billion on outdoor recreation, an economic sector that supports more than 6 million jobs. This includes gear, travel and costs associated with camping, snow sports, mountain biking and other activities, as well as professional guides for hunting, fishing and river trips. For full blog post, click here.

Winston-Salem Journal – November 18, 2015

North Carolina’s recent tactic of blocking citizens from challenging state permits for industrial polluters could result in a federal takeover of the state’s regulatory program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put state officials on notice that North Carolina’s strategy is putting the state at risk of losing its authority to regulate industrial water pollution and air pollution. Since receiving the warning two weeks ago, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is downplaying the incident as a misunderstanding. For full story, click here.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – November 5, 2015

EPA has released the draft National Wetland Condition Assessment, the first national assessment of the ecological condition of the nation's wetlands. The draft report describes the results of a nationwide probabilistic survey of wetlands conducted in the spring and summer of 2011 by EPA and its state and tribal partners. Results are based on ecological data collected at more than 1,000 sites across the country using standardized field protocols and include estimates of wetland area in "good", "fair", or "poor" condition, nationally and by major ecoregion. EPA is seeking comment on the draft. Read more here.

NOAA Habitat Conservation – October 28, 2015

NOAA has released a Guidance for Considering the Use of Living Shorelines, which outlines how we promote living shorelines as a shoreline stabilization technique. Along sheltered coasts, living shorelines can preserve and improve habitats and the benefits they provide and promote resilient communities. To read more, go here. To download Guidance, go here.

Pennsylvania Business Daily – November 10, 2015

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB), the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and agricultural and development stakeholders recently requested that the U.S. Supreme Court hear an appeal of a federal decision upholding an EPA action affecting Chesapeake Bay. The consortium of citizens is concerned about the effect of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, saying it will negatively impact farm families, communities and the rural economy in general. For full story, click here.