A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Announces New Initiative to Support Coalition-Based Conservation
Office of the Secretary
Highlights Economic Benefits of Landscape-Level Partnerships in Speech to “Conserving the Future” Conference
MADISON, WI -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced a new initiative that will spur collaborative efforts to protect vital wildlife habitat through community-based coalitions of private landowners, conservation groups, and state and federal agencies.
The Landscape Stewards program, a partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will leverage up to $200,000 to support coalition-based conservation efforts beginning next year. Each grant will be matched by equal contributions from the coalition partners.
“By stretching limited resources and partnering with communities and other organizations, we can find innovative ways to encourage wise stewardship across entire landscapes,” said Secretary Salazar.
“In recent decades, we've seen inspiring examples of ranchers, farmers and other private landowners working with government to ensure protection of large, rural landscapes and the abundance of fish and wildlife,” he said. “These types of community-driven efforts can generate tremendous results, and can be an economic engine for rural communities and businesses that benefit from hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.”
Salazar made the announcement during remarks to “Conserving the Future” Conference, a gathering of 1,200 professional and citizen conservationists to ratify a new vision to guide the National Wildlife Refuge System for the next decade.
The Landscape Stewards program is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to create a 21st Century conservation ethic and reconnect Americans, especially young people, to the natural world.
In his remarks, Salazar noted that coalitions have had significant success in protecting broad landscapes that cross jurisdictional boundaries. Many issues facing national wildlife refuges — from invasive species to the protection of threatened and endangered species — cross individual property lines as well as county and state lines.
Salazar said the program aims to replicate the success of award-winning coalitions such as the Blackfoot Challenge, which unites more than 50 partners — including federal agencies, foundations and corporations — in protecting the natural resources and rural lifestyle of the Blackfoot River Valley in western Montana.
The 1.5-million-acre watershed, including prairie grasslands, sagebrush steppe, coniferous forest and wetlands, provides habitat for wildlife that inhabited the area when Lewis and Clark traveled up the Blackfoot River in 1806. Challenge partners have reintroduced native species, restored stream tributaries and removed hundreds of miles of fish passage barrier. The protected area includes the Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area, comprised of lands entirely protected by perpetual conservation easements acquired from willing sellers.
Salazar's remarks as prepared for delivery to the “Conserving the Future” conference can be accessed here.