ESA Policy News: December 5, 2022
In this issue:
ESA to Hold Informational US National Nature Assessment Webinar Dec. 6
Webinar will be Dec. 6 at 12 noon EDT.
ESA Holds National Climate Assessment 5 Webinar
Webinar recording is available.
Apply for the 2023 Katherine S. McArthur Graduate Student Policy Award
Applications are due January 1, 2023.
Senate passes bill authorizing research in saline lake ecosystems in the Great Basin.
White House to hold event discussing global change research priorities.
New Jersey Pinelands Commission plans to cut down trees to prevent wildfire.
Countries agree to protect a record number of species from wildlife trade during World Wildlife Conference.
The National Academies seeks early career liaisons to the U.S. National Committee for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
In April 2022, the Biden administration announced the launch of the first-ever U.S. National Nature Assessment. Led by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, this report will assess the state of the U.S.’s lands, waters and wildlife and the specific benefits that they provide. The assessment will also allow the country to look ahead at how nature might change in the future and identify opportunities for investments in nature to help achieve climate, health, environmental justice and economic goals.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is now soliciting feedback from the scientific community and the public about the scope of the assessment.
OSTP Assistant Director for Biodiversity and Conservation Science Dr. Heather Tallis will join a webinar hosted by ESA to introduce its members to the assessment and provide information about how ESA members may contribute by submitting comments that will help inform the scope of the assessment. The webinar will be held Tues., Dec. 6 at noon EDT. RSVP here.
The request for information includes a series of questions for stakeholders, some of which are below:
- What forms of engagement should the U.S. Global Change Research Program use to best inform the assessment?
- How far back in time should the National Nature Assessment (NNA) explore observed trends and why?
- What kinds of questions about the future should the NNA aim to answer? How far into the future should projections extend, and why?
- What types of future scenarios would best support the recommended uses (e.g. quantitative time series, directional changes, stories)?
- How should the information in the NNA be organized?
To view the full list of questions and submit a comment, see the Federal Register Notice. Comments are due by March 31, 2023.
Director of the National Climate Assessment Allison Crimmins joined a webinar hosted by ESA and moderated by ESA Past President Dennis Ojima to give an overview of the fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) status and how ESA members can submit feedback regarding the draft NCA5. The webinar recording is posted online.
Additional information about the NCA5 draft can be found in the Federal Register Notice and in the USGCRP Open Notice. All comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM ET on January 27, 2023 via the USGCRP Review and Comment System.
Are you a science graduate student interested in the intersection between policy and science? ESA invites you to apply for the 2023 Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). Apply and come to DC to meet with your lawmaker on Capitol Hill!
Offered each year, this award gives graduate students hands-on training and science policy experience including interacting with congressional decision-makers, federal agency officials, and ecologists who work in the science and public policy arena. ESA covers all travel expenses and plans to hold the event onsite at its Washington, DC office Tuesday, April 24-25 unless events beyond our control occur. Applications are due Jan. 1, 2023, 12PM EDT.
For more information and to apply, visit the ESA website.
Farm Bill: The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will hold a hearing this Tuesday, Dec. 6 regarding research programs in the 2023 Farm Bill. Speakers include US Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Chavonda Jacobs-Young, University of Arkansas Vice President for Agriculture Deacue Fields, Director of the Michigan State Center for Regenerative Agriculture Jason Rowntree and Felecia Nave, the president of Alcorn State University. Jacobs-Young oversees agricultural research programs at the USDA, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service. Congress is currently gearing up to draft a new Farm Bill, which will set agicultural and food policy for the next five years.
- The full Senate passed the Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act (S. 1466). This bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), authorizes U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study to create an action plan for a robust multi-year integrated program to assess, monitor and conserve saline lake ecosystems such as the Great Salt Lake. The bill authorizes $5 million for this study each year through Fiscal Year 2027. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) are original co-sponsors of the bill. Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) introduced companion legislation (H.R. 5345) in the House of Representatives, which passed the House Natural Resources Committee last month.
- Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a bill (S. 5134) creating a United States Foundation for International Conservation. This non-governmental entity would be tasked with soliciting, accepting and administering governmental and nongovernmental funds for long-term management of protected and conserved areas, among other functions. The US Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Interior and the heads of the US Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Agency for International Development would serve as ex-oficio members of the foundation’s board. The Senate bill has six co-sponsors, including three Democrats and three Republicans. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 9340).
White House: The Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), are hosting a discussion on global change research priorities for the next decade Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 1:00pm eastern. USGCRP leaders will present their 10-year strategic research plan, which will serve as a comprehensive blueprint for producing the information urgently needed for the US and the world to address the causes and reduce the impacts of climate change and other global changes. The panel speakers include Jane Lubchenco, the White House OSTP Deputy Director for Climate and Environment and a former ESA president and James Rattling Leaf Sr, who is an associate researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a member of ESA’s Public Affairs Committee. RSVP for the virtual event here.
White House: During its first in-person Tribal Nations Summit, the Biden administration pledged to create a new national monument in Nevada around Sprit Mountain, protecting a sacred space for the Fort Mojave Tribe.
The administration also released new tribal consultation guidance and announced that NOAA will join efforts to increase tribal co-management and co-stewardship of public lands and waters.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality announced government-wide guidance for agencies to recognize and include Indigenous Knowledge in research, policy and decision-making. This guidance was first initiated at the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Submit and is intended to elevate the use of Indigenous Knowledge in decision-making.
Interior: The Bureau of Land Management released a proposed rule intended to reduce methane leaks from gas and oil drilling on federal and tribal lands. In a press release, the Interior Department reports that the total methane venting and flaring reported by oil and gas companies operating on federal and tribal lands averaged approximately 44.2 billion cubic feet per year over the last decade, enough to serve roughly 675,000 homes. In 2016, the Obama administration proposed another rule to reduce methane leaks, which was challenged in the courts and weakened by the Trump administration. The courts eventually forced the Interior Department to revert back to a 1979 rule. The new proposed rule requires oil companies to make technological upgrades and create plans to reduce waste and detect leaks.
USFWS: Citing the impacts of white-nose syndrome on the species, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized a rule listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as an endangered species. Previously, the species was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. White-nose syndrome is a deadly fungal infection that was first discovered in New York in 2006. According to USFWS, White-nose syndrome has caused estimated northern long-eared bat population declines of 97–100 percent across 79 percent of the species’ range.
USGS: The Interior Department is seeking nominations for individuals to join the new Advisory Council for Climate Adaption Science. This council will advise the Secretary of the Interior and the Interior Department regarding the operations of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Climate Adaptation Science Center and the regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers. The Interior Department is seeking members representing state and local government, scientific and conservation non-governmental organizations, academia and American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous organizations, among other sectors. Nominations are due by Jan. 16, 2023. To submit a nomination, see the Federal Register Notice.
- NASA cancels greenhouse gas monitoring satellite due to cost – Associated Press
- White House releases environmental justice screening tool – E&E News
- Drying California lake to get $250M in US drought funding – Associated Press
- Ruby, the Capitol Christmas Tree, is part of a species in climate peril – The Washington Post
- Feds list Dixie Valley toad, found only in Nevada, as endangered – States Newsroom
- EPA proposes restrictions to block proposed Alaska mine – Associated Press
- Analysis: First U.S. coral insurance marks the rise of the reef brigades – Reuters
- Environmental Advocates Call on Gov.-Elect Wes Moore to Roll Back State Funding for Fossil Fuel Industry – Inside Climate News
- Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin Lag on Environmental Justice Issues – Inside Climate News
- Fire plan would cut 2.4 million New Jersey Pinelands trees – Associated Press
Wildlife Trade: Diplomats agreed to protect a record number of species from wildlife trade during the 19th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES, COP19) in Panama City, Panama. The agreement includes new protections for glass frogs, which are commonly sold in the pet trade, freshwater turtles and several shark species which make up the majority of the shark fin trade. Parties to the treaty agreed to try to address gender inequality as it relates to wildlife trade, noting that women are more likely to lose out on the benefits of wildlife trade. Diplomats also agreed to investigate how CITES could play a role in reducing the spread of zoonotic disease to humans.
Biodiversity: Nations will gather December 7-19 for the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, Canada. Diplomats will work to adopt a Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to address biodiversity loss and allocate resources for the implementation of this framework. The United Nations Environment Program said that this framework must include clear targets to address overexploitation of species, pollution, habitat fragmentation and unsustainable agricultural practices and safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples. Nations agreed to end biodiversity loss within ten years in 2010 but have made minimal progress toward that goal.
- COP15 biodiversity plan risks being alarmingly diluted – Nature World View
- Governments are subsidizing the destruction of nature even as they promise to protect it – The Narwhal
- UN Says New Biodiversity Credits Can Succeed Where Carbon Offsets Failed – Bloomberg
- What are climate summits actually for, and how can we make them work? – Scientific American
- French Police Guard Water as Seasonal Drought Intensifies – The New York Times
- Israel and Jordan agree to team up to save Jordan River – Associated Press
- How ‘spurious science’ threatens Antarctica – E&E News
- Plastics tsunami: Can a landmark treaty stop waste from choking the oceans? – Nature
- EU climate plan sacrifices carbon storage and biodiversity for bioenergy – Nature
- In Canada, scientists are struggling with stagnant funding – Science
NAS: The U.S. National Committee for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is soliciting applications for early career liaisons. Early career liaisons serve for two years and communicate regularly with the committee members and participation in the committee’s discussions and deliberations. Liaisons should be no more than ten years post receipt of an undergraduate or graduate degree and should have postgraduate training or work experience in an ocean-related field. Applications are due Dec. 31, 2022.
NSF: The agency held a webinar providing information about how NSF will respond to and comply with an August 2022 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy memo directing agencies to update their public access policies to make publications and research funded by taxpayers publicly accessible, without an embargo or cost. NSF will submit a draft plan to the White House by the end of February 2023, which will become public once the White House approves the plan. View the webinar recording and live transcript here.
NSF: The Division of Environmental Biology will hold a virtual office hour with program officers to discuss the Mid-Career Advancement Solicitation (NSF 22-603) Dec. 12 at 1:00pm. Register here for the virtual office hour.
Other upcoming virtual office hours and topics are listed below:
- January 9: Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP) Update
- February 13: How to Write a Great Budget
- March 13: PAPPG: Cracking the code – Understanding NSF policies and procedures that shape your funding opportunities
- April 10: Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUI)
- May 8: CAREER Solicitation
ESA Correspondence to Policymakers
- CNSF – FY 2024 Letter to White House OMB and OSTP (Oct. 27, 2022)
- CNSF – FY 2023 Conference Committee Appropriations Letter (Oct. 27, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter of Support for Agricultural Research Appropriations (Oct. 17, 2022)
- ESC – Letter of Support for the DOE Foundation for FY 2024 (Sept. 20, 2022)
- ESC – FY 2024 Funding Request (Aug. 11, 2022)
- CNSF – Statement on Passage of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (Aug. 2, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of Appropriations for Agricultural Research (July 13, 2022)
- ESC – FY2023 Department of Energy Office of Science Appropriations Statement (June 14, 2022)
- ESA – Testimony in Support of FY 2023 Appropriations for Forest Service Research and Development (June 10, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of FY 2023 Appropriations for the DOE Foundation (identical letters sent to both the House and Senate) (May 20, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter about Appropriations for USDA Agricultural Research and Climate (May 11, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of FY 2023 302(b) Allocation for Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations (May 11, 2022)
- ESA – Letter to the Forest Service about Managed Wildland Fire (May 3, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in Support of Appropriations to the Agricultural Research Service (April 25, 2022)
- CNSF – FY 2023 Appropriations Letter (identical letters sent to both the House and Senate) (April 7, 2022)
- Multiorganization Letter in support of appropriations for EPA Science and Technology and Science to Achieve Results program (identical letters sent to both the House and Senate) (April 4, 2022)
View more letters and testimony from ESA here.
Upcoming Public Meetings:
Upcoming Public Meetings:
- BLM – Colorado Southwest District Resource Advisory Council Meeting (Dec. 8-9)
- BLM – Meetings of the California Desert District Advisory Council (Dec. 10)
- BLM – Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Advisory Committee Meeting (Dec. 13)
- EPA – Great Lakes Advisory Board Virtual Meeting (Dec. 6)
- EPA – National and Governmental Advisory Committees to the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (Dec. 9)
- EPA – Public Environmental Financial Advisory Board Virtual Meetings (Dec. 15)
- Forest Service – Hood-Willamette Resource Advisory Committee (Dec. 12)
- Forest Service – Southwest Idaho Resource Advisory Committee (Dec. 6)
- Forest Service – Sanders Resource Advisory Committee (Dec. 6)
- Forest Service – Sanders Resource Advisory Committee (Dec. 13)
- Forest Service – Southern Montana Resource Advisory Committee (Dec. 14)
- Forest Service – Butte County Resource Advisory Committee (Dec. 15)
- HHS – Meeting of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (Dec. 7)
- Interior Department – Public Meeting of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (Dec. 6-7)
- NASA – NASA Advisory Council Technology, Innovation and Engineering Committee Meeting (Dec. 15)
- NOAA NMFS – New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting (Dec. 6-8)
- NOAA NMFS- Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings (Dec. 8)
- NOAA NMFS – North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings (Dec. 6-14)
- NOAA NMFS – Research Track Assessment for Spiny Dogfish and Bluefish (Dec. 15-19)
- NSF – National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force Meeting (Dec. 7)
- NSF – Business and Operations Advisory Committee Meeting (Dec. 12)
- USFWS – Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the R-Project Transmission Line Revised Habitat Conservation Plan, Nebraska (Dec. 8)
- USFWS – Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Elliott State Research Forest Habitat Conservation Plan in Coos and Douglas Counties (Dec. 13)
- USFWS – Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council Virtual Meeting (Dec. 19)
Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:
- Army Corps of Engineers – Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Islands Ecosystem Restoration Project at James Island. Comments and suggestions must be submitted by Dec. 7, 2022.
- Bureau of Land Management – Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Ivanpah-Control Project, Inyo, Kern, and San Bernardino Counties, CA. The BLM requests comments concerning the scope of the analysis and identification of relevant information and studies by Jan. 3, 2023
- EPA – Request for Nominations for the Science Advisory Board Inorganic Arsenic Review Panel. Nominations should be submitted by Dec. 9, 2022.
- EPA – Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC); Request for Nominations. Nominations must be received on or before Dec. 12, 2022.
- EPA – Pesticide Product Registration; Receipt of Applications for New Uses October 2022. Comments must be received on or before Dec. 19, 2022.
- EPA – Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit. Written comments on the proposed consent decree must be received by Dec. 23, 2022.
- Forest Service – Inyo National Forest; California; Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Main Lodge Redevelopment. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by Dec. 27, 2022.
- NOAA – Notice of Availability for Public Comments of the National Sea Grant Office. Written comments must be submitted on or before Dec. 18, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Ocean Wind 1 Offshore Wind Energy Project Offshore of New Jersey; Extension of Public Comment Period. The last day to submit a public comment is Dec. 10, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Listing the Queen Conch as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act . Comments must be received by Dec. 15, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Nassau Grouper . Written comments and information must be received by Dec. 16, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Amendment 124 to the BSAI FMP for Groundfish and Amendment 112 to the GOA FMP for Groundfish To Revise IFQ Program Regulations. Submit comments on or before Dec. 23, 2022.
- NOAA NMFS – Identification of Nations or Entities Engaged in Illegal, Unreported, or Unregulated Fishing, Bycatch of Protected Living Marine Resources, or Shark Fishing on the High Seas. Information should be received on or before Dec. 31, 2022.
- NPS – Request for Nominations for the Acadia National Park Advisory Commission. Written nominations must be postmarked by Dec. 12, 2022.
- NPS & USFWS – Notice of Intent To Prepare North Cascades Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement, Washington . All comments must be received or postmarked by Dec. 14, 2022.
- USDA – Request for Public Input About Implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act Funding. Comments will be considered if received by Dec. 21, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered Species Status for the San Francisco Bay-Delta Distinct Population Segment of the Longfin Smelt. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Dec. 6, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Chamaecrista lineata. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Dec. 13, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Sideroxylon reclinatum. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Dec. 13, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered Species Status for Rim Rock Crowned Snake and Key Ring-Necked Snake and Designation of Critical Habitat. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before Dec. 13, 2022.
- USWS – John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System; Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin; Draft 5-Year Review Boundaries. Comments must received by Dec. 22, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Southern Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment of Fisher . Submit comments on or before Dec. 22, 2022.
- USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Request for New Information for the North American Wolverine Species Status Assessment. In order to fully consider and incorporate new information, USFWS requests submittal of new information by close of business Dec. 23, 2022.
Visit this page on ESA’s website for updates on opportunities from the Federal Register, including upcoming meetings and regulations open for public comment.
ESA’s policy activities work to infuse ecological knowledge into national policy decisions through activities such as policy statements, Capitol Hill briefings, Congressional Visits Days, and coalition involvement. Policy News Updates are bi-monthly summaries of major environmental and science policy news. They are produced by the Public Affairs Office of the Ecological Society of America.
Visit the ESA website to learn more about our activities and membership.