“Being a native of Wisconsin – land of beer, brats, and polkas – I’ve always dreamed of delivering a science presentation with a drink in my hand.” — Lisa Schulte Moore writes about her new adventures in public outreach at the Science Cafe, and as a fellow in the Leopold Leadership program.
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by Policy Analyst Terence Houston. Read the full Policy News here. WHITE HOUSE: ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL CHAIR TO STEP DOWN On Dec. 3, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairwoman Nancy Sutley announced she will resign from her post in February. Sutley has held the position since Jan. 22, 2009, when the Senate confirmed her by unanimous consent. As CEQ chair, Sutley played a pivotal role in advancing the administration’s Climate Action Plan and National Ocean Policy. Sutley was one of the last environmental advisers remaining from President Obama’s first term. The top spots at the Departments of Energy, Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency have all garnered new faces this year. Prior to joining CEQ, she served as deputy mayor for energy and environment in Los Angeles. She was an energy adviser to former California Gov. Gray Davis and served as deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations at the California EPA from 1999-2003. During the Clinton administration, she served as senior policy advisor to the EPA regional administrator in San Francisco. Sutley grew up in Queens, NY and is an alumna of Harvard and Cornell Universities. BUDGET: ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR AN END TO SEQUESTER CUTS On Dec. 4, the Ecological Society of America joined several hundred national organizations from health, education, environmental, research and other communities in sending a letter to Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to forgo continued cuts to discretionary spending programs. The 470 signature letter, timed to coincide with the budget conference talks this month, urges lawmakers to replace the sequester cuts with a bipartisan balanced approach to deficit reduction that relieves non-defense discretionary spending (NDD) programs. “Despite the vast array of important services provided through NDD programs—from education and job training, to housing and science, to National Parks and veterans services, to public health, safety and security—these programs have been cut dramatically and disproportionately in recent years as lawmakers work to reduce the deficit, even though experts agree these programs don’t contribute to our nation’s mid- and longer-term debt problem,” the letter notes. The letter also references the recent Faces of Austerity report from NDD United, which spearheaded the letter. The comprehensive report spotlights the impact discretionary spending cuts implemented through the 2013 sequestration have had on education, scientific discovery, infrastructure investment and natural resource conservation, among other areas. View the Faces of Austerity report here. View the NDD programs letter here. APPROPRIATIONS: THREE NEW REPUBLICANS JOIN SPENDING COMMITTEE Reps. Mark Amodei (R-NV), Martha Roby (R-AL) and Chris Stewart (R-UT) were approved by the House Steering Committee this past week to fill Republican vacancies on the House Appropriations Committee that were...
A Field Talk interview with Lisa Schulte Moore (Land Sharing/Sparing #1) digs into how integrating STRIPs of prairie into conventional row crops helps farms, waterways, and wildlife.
ESA Policy News: November 11: President’s climate action plan, farm bill compromise and FS funding shortfalls
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by Policy Analyst Terence Houston. Read the full Policy News here. WHITE HOUSE: NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER BUILDS ON CLIMATE ACTION PLAN On Nov. 1, President Obama issued a new broad Executive Order, instructing federal agencies to help states strengthen their ability to cope with increasingly intense storms, severe droughts, wildfires and other various effects of climate change. The Executive Order establishes a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the administration on how the federal government can respond to state and local concerns across the country on how to increase climate change preparedness. The task force will be comprised of governors, mayors, tribal leaders and other officials from across the country. The Executive Order instructs federal agencies to improve dissemination of tools to address climate change and help local communities to construct natural disaster-resilient infrastructure and natural resource and ecosystem resiliency. The order also establishes a Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, involving 20 federal offices that will be charged with implementing the Executive Order. The council will be co-chaired by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. View the full Executive Order here. A special issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment assesses the impacts of climate change on people and ecosystems this November, and includes an article on preparing for future environmental flux. To view the special issue, click here. SCIENCE: LAWMAKERS REVIEW LEGISLATION TO REAUTHORIZE AMERICA COMPETES ACT On Oct. 30, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee convened a hearing to consider a draft bill to partially reauthorize the America COMPETES Act, legislation to increase US federal investment in scientific research and innovation. However, there was debate among committee members over whether funding authorized in the bill was sufficient. The Enabling Innovation for Science, Technology, and Energy in America (EINSTEIN) Act, the draft bill under consideration, would set science priorities for the Department of Energy (DOE). “The discussion draft requires the Department of Energy to coordinate with other federal agencies to streamline workplace regulations. This reduces burdensome red tape and provides the National Labs flexibility to more effectively and efficiently execute the Department’s mission,” stated House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). Committee Democrats, however, expressed concerns with how the bill funds the DOE Office of Science. “At first glance, one might think that the Majority’s bill actually increases funding for the Office, but a closer look reveals that they are actually cutting funding – the rate of inflation for research is...
Research on hold in government shutdown, farm bill (in)action, EPA cleared in email scandal, climate skeptics denied
ESA action alert on Farm Bill;
FWS extends comment period on wolf delisting;
Science Laureates bill torpedoed;
EPA announces environmental justice grants;
NOAA says human activity influenced 2013 extreme weather events.
More Agro-ecology at ESA’s 2013 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer Big changes in agriculture are visible on the global scale – changes in crop yields, dietary choices, water use, fertilizer application, soil retention, and nutrient pollution. In some parts of the world, yield lags, revealing opportunities to get more out of land already in production. In others, crop production has sagged or plateaued. Will yields keep increasing as they have in the past? It’s hard to see trajectories without local context, said session organizer Kate Brauman of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Site-specific field work fills in details. “Agronomy has been working very successfully for a long time, and it’s been focused on practitioners,” said Brauman. “And global analysis can be hard for someone in the field to interpret. How can we take insights from the local to the global scale and make them useful?” Ecology has great scientists studying the very local, applied art and science of getting more yield out of our crops and the local ecological effects of agriculture, and great scientists studying global trends, said Bauman. It does not have much of a history of cross-pollination between the groups. This session aims to bridge gulfs of scientific culture and of scale, connecting the satellite’s eye view of global change to the view from the field; computational modeling to on-the-ground experimentation; and snapshot observations to daily, seasonal, annual, and decadal change. Symposium 20: Integrating Agro-Ecological Research Across Spatial and Temporal Scales Thursday, August 8, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM Organizer: Kate Brauman More>>> PS-29: Agriculture Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM, Exhibit Hall B (Poster session) COS 1: Agriculture I Monday, August 5, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, room L100I (Contributed Oral Session) Grasslands, coffee, excess nitrogen fertilizer COS 18: Agriculture II Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room 101C Biodiversity, weeds, spatial organization COS 80: Soil Ecology Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, room M100GD Includes soybean symbiosis, prairie grazing gradients, and bioenergy constraints. COS 77: Land-Use And Land-Use History Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, room L100H Consequences of armed conflict, restoration ecology, and shifting away from beef(?). OOS 24: Managing Belowground Processes In Agroecosystems Thursday, August 8, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room 101B (Organized Oral Session) The invisible world of roots, fungi, insects, arthropods, microbes, and decomposing plants matter matter very much to crop success and environmental health. This session will evaluate the state of the science and “alternative” agro-ecological systems, and discuss management opportunities. COS 126: Pollination Friday, August 9, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, room L100G Cranberries, blueberries, and parasitoid...
For much of the world, high-intensity industrial farming produces food with high efficiency, but puts the squeeze on other plant and animal life. Wildlife is mostly sequestered on preserves. But is this the best way to maximize food and biodiversity? Or are there other configurations that might improve mobility of wildlife and benefit other ecosystem services without cost (and possibly with benefit) to private land owners?