If you care about nature, there is no time like the present to do something to try to stem the tide of destruction and take up restoration of even the tiniest area of habitat. There’s a myriad of environmental causes to choose from. I will focus on two such issues facing wildlife and ecosystems in Iowa and the Midwest.
1. Loss of CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) acres: For the past two decades, millions of acres have been planted with prairie grasses and wildflowers to put farmland out of production temporarily for periods ranging from 5 – 10 years. This program has been a boon to prairie bird species for obvious reasons. Recently, due to record commodity prices, a reverse trend of putting CRP land back into production has escalated. Drastic declines are predicted for prairie bird species as a result. This highlights the need for permanent and large acreage prairie restorations.
2. Endangered Species: Bit by bit we are losing multiple endangered species every day to extinction. There is still animosity among many towards the Endangered Species Act in general. Case in point is the fate of the Lesser Prairie Chicken. Numbers of the bird have plummeted in recent years, approaching a 95 % decline in the last decade. The bird’s fate makes it more than worthy of protection under the Endangered Species Act. Yet powerful oil and gas interests are fighting hard to stop the bird’s listing under the Act because of the federal regulations that would come into play. Some of these interests have formed “dummy” non-profits to “help” the Lesser Prairie Chicken. The species is doomed if oil and gas interests are its only champion. Emails and letters to the FWS and legislators are needed to speak for the Lesser Prairie Chicken.