Earth Optimism: Reasons to Feel Positive in 2019 — The Nature Conservancy #ActOnClimate #EarthOptimism

Climate news is not all gloom and doom. Here’s a report from the Nature Conservancy (Justine E. Hausheer/Matthew L. Miller). Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

If you’re a fan of nature documentaries, you’ve probably heard about the unsettling images in Netflix’s new series, Our Planet. In one episode, the lack of sea ice forces walruses to rest on a steep cliff face… where many fall to their deaths.

This disturbing image is emblematic of so many environmental stories: not only are they dreary, but they suggest that we are heading for the cliff. All of us.

Earth Day originated as a way to bring attention to environmental issues. But it’s also fundamentally about hope. There has been great progress made on many conservation issues. While we need to be realistic about the challenges ahead, we can’t lose sight of what we have achieved so far. You can help make a difference.

Here is a selection of stories to feel optimistic about his Earth Day. Check out the Earth Optimism movement, and follow #EarthOptimism on Twitter for many more.

Pop-Up Wetlands Provide New Habitat for Migrating Shorebirds

Foraging shorebirds. Photo © David Ledig / USFWS

Migrating shorebirds can’t afford to be choosy about where they stop — whether the right habitat is there or not, they can only fly so far and so long.

In California’s Central Valley, flocks of 20-40 million waterfowl once used the plentiful wetlands to rest and refuel. But today those flocks are a mere fraction of their former numbers, as more than 90 percent of these wetlands and riparian areas have been converted to agricultural fields.

TNC’s California program came up with a creative solution to help the birds and benefit farmers. By temporarily flooding rice fields, they can provide “pop-up” habitat when the birds need it most. Now, science shows that this ingenious method is working, yielding the largest average shorebird densities ever reported for agriculture in the region…

Congress Reauthorises the LWCF

Every March, thousands of Sandhill cranes stop in #GreatSandDunes National Park & Preserve on their way to their northern breeding grounds. The fields and wetlands of #Colorado’s San Luis Valley provide excellent habitat for these majestic #birds. With the dunes and mountains nearby, they dance and call to each other. It’s one of nature’s great spectacles. Photo @greatsanddunesnps by #NationalPark Service.

In 1964 the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) became law, allocating a tiny fraction of federal royalties from oil-gas leases to fund habitat protection, public access, public recreation, and historical preservation.

LWCF quickly became America’s main tool for protecting and restoring historic sites, like battlefields, and for providing matching grants to states for urban and suburban recreation facilities, like ballfields.

Most importantly, it became a tool for acquiring wildlife habitat and public access — through purchase and conservation easements — to be managed and improved by states, the National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.

That history of conservation success appeared to end last September, when Congress declined to reauthorize LWCF and it expired. Luckily, due to action by Nature Conservancy members and many others, that setback was temporary. In January, Congress permanently reauthorized LWCF, a major victory for both wildlife conservation and public recreational access.

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