Contact: Enesta Jones – U.S. Environmental Protection Agecny – May 11, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released the first-ever National Wetland Condition Assessment, showing that nearly half of the nation’s wetlands are in good health, while 20 percent are in fair health and the remaining 32 percent in poor health. The National Wetland Condition Assessment is part of a series of National Aquatic Resource Surveys designed to advance the science of coastal monitoring and answer critical questions about the condition of waters in the United States. For full news release, click here.

By Laura Zuckerman – PanetArk – May 11, 2016

North America's bison, a living emblem of the Western frontier that roamed the continent by the millions before being hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s, was officially designated on Monday as the national mammal of the United States. The bison, whose image adorned the back of the U.S. nickel for 25 years and has graced the U.S. Interior Department seal since 1912, was bestowed symbolic status equal to that of the American bald eagle through an act of Congress. The measure, signed into law by President Barack Obama, proclaims the bison's role as a symbol for America's heritage as a whole. It cites the animal's history as "integrally linked with the economic and spiritual lives of many Indian tribes through trade and sacred ceremonies." For full story, click here.

Contact: Laury Parramore – U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – May 4, 2016

In a move designed to maintain strong protections for bald and golden eagles, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it is opening a 60-day public comment period on proposed improvements to the agency’s comprehensive eagle conservation and management program. The proposed changes include modifications to the regulations governing permits for incidental take of bald and golden eagles that will protect eagle populations during the course of otherwise lawful human activities. For full press release, click here. The public may submit comments on the proposed rule and the PEIS until July 5, 2016.

By Liz Szbo – USA Today – May 6, 2016 – Video

The Gulf Coast may know hurricanes, but this year the region of 60 million people could find itself unprepared and at ground zero for a different type of storm: a mosquito-borne Zika epidemic. A look at the region's urban hubs, small towns and rural outposts shows a patchwork of preparedness. Cities such as Houston have robust plans in place, while smaller towns, such as Corpus Christi, Texas, struggle with fewer resources. The Gulf Coast's steamy climate, abundant mosquitoes and international airports create an environment ripe for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has spread to 37 countries and territories in the Americas. For full story and to view video, click here.

By Brady Dennis – The Washington Post – May 4, 2016

A collection of environmental advocacy groups on Wednesday sued the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the government has failed to adequately regulate the disposal of waste generated by oil and gas drilling. In particular, the lawsuit seeks to force the agency to impose stricter rules on the disposal of wastewater, including that from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. For full story, click here.