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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2014
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CONSERVATION
Effort to Protect Hill Country Bat Cave, Warbler Habitat Moves Forward
The City of San Antonio, Bat Conservation International (BCI) and The Nature Conservancy have announced a major breakthrough in efforts to keep a highly sensitive natural area near San Antonio free from development.

DESIGNATIONS
Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve Designated as IBA
Audubon New York has announced the designation of the 1,100-acre Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve in Seneca Falls as an Important Bird Area (IBA).

FEEDER WATCH
Don't Let What Happens at the Feeder Stay at the Feeder
The 28th season of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology citizen-science project FeederWatch is about to begin, and door is open for new participants and more observations.

FUNDING
Crane Foundation Receives Disney Conservation Grants
The International Crane Foundation (ICF) has been awarded two $25,000 grants from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), which recognize ICF's efforts to protect critical habitats for threatened cranes while engaging local communities in Vietnam and South Africa.
Brownells

HUMMINGBIRDS
Georgians Reminded to Keep Hummingbird Feeders Up Year-Round
Keep your hummingbird feeders up as temperatures drop this fall and winter. That's the suggestion of Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologists, who say that some visiting hummers make the state their winter home and benefit from the nourishment feeders provide.

NATIONAL PARKS
Yosemite National Park Proposes Entrance Fee and Campground Fee Increase
Under a proposal to raise entrance fees at Yosemite National Park, the single vehicle entrance fee would change from $20 to $30 for a seven-day pass and AN annual pass would increase from $40 to $60.

ORGANIZATIONS
NBCI's State of the Bobwhite 2014 Released
There was a major increase in bobwhite habitat management by the states in 2013 over the previous drought year and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) was approved for funding from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, as reported in the new NBCI's Bobwhite Almanac, State of the Bobwhite 2014.
Delta Waterfowl Names Jason Tharpe COO
Delta Waterfowl has promoted Jason Tharpe to chief operating officer, a primary role in running the business aspects of the organization to oversee systems, planning, staff development and be a liaison to the Board of Directors.

PUBLIC LANDS
Fed Agencies Sign Off on Wilderness Agreement
The federal land management agencies that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System signed an agreement that will guide interagency collaboration and vision to ensure the continued preservation of nearly 110 million acres of the most primitive of public lands.
Duck Stamp

PUBLICATIONS
New EBook: Biography of Roger Tory Peterson
"A Concise Biography Of: Roger Tory Peterson", by David M. Zumbaugh describes the important milestones and influencers in Peterson's life, providing the reader with insights into his journey of teaching, painting, photographing and enjoying the natural history of birds.

RECOGNITION
Mike Rader Named KOS Avian Conservationist of the Year
Mike Rader, Wildlife Education Coordinator for Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), has been named Avian Conservationist of the Year by the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS).
Audubon Florida Honors Palm Beach County Natural Areas Program
Audubon Florida presented its 2014 special recognition award to the Palm Beach County Natural Areas Program during the 2014 Audubon Assembly at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Resort & Marina on Friday, October 17.
Rep. Murphy Receives 'Champion of the Everglades' Award
U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy accepted the prestigious Champion of the Everglades award, while 300 attendees cheered, during the 2014 Audubon Assembly in Stuart, Fla.

RESEARCH
Feather Findings Get Scientists in a Flap
Scientists from the University of Southampton have revealed that feather shafts are made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material, much like carbon fibre, which allows the feather to bend and twist to cope with the stresses of flight.

SPECIES
First Described as a Species in 1988: The Antioquia Bristle-Tyrant
This bright little yellow-and-olive flycatcher was only described as a species in 1988 and its name refers to Antioquia, the bird's mountainous home in Colombia, and to the "bristles" found around its mouth that help it to capture insects.

STATES
Pelicans Return to South Carolina's Bird Key in 2014
With the 2014 seabird nesting season at an end, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reports Colonial seabirds including Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns, Sandwich Terns, and Black Skimmers successfully nested on Seabird Sanctuary islands located along the coast.
Report Whooping Crane Sightings in Nebraska
With the entire population of whooping cranes in the Central Flyway expected to migrate through Nebraska over the next several weeks, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission encourages the public to report all sightings.

SURVEYS
Elk Refuge Trumpeter Swan Survey Completed
The National Elk Refuge completed a summary of the 2014 trumpeter swan nesting season this week, bringing with it good news regarding nesting pairs on the refuge.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery


Last week's featured photographer, InterMedia Outdoors Editorial Director Ken Dunwoody, returns for a command performance this week with his striking image of a Lilac-Breasted Roller, taken in Botswana's Okavango Delta in July 2013. "He landed on a branch near us while we watching some giraffes, and was patient enough to let me use the in-camera flash and get several shots before he flew off," Ken writes. He used a Nikon D7000 camera with AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 lens at f-7.1, 1/320 sec., ISO 640.

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Conservation Funding Issues on Nov. 4 Ballot
On Election Day this year, a number of state and local conservation funding initiatives will be on the ballot for voters to consider with the potential of over $25 billion being dedicated for conservation and restoration. The largest initiatives in Florida, New Jersey, North Dakota, California and Maine bring a variety of opportunities for funding land conservation, water quality and outdoor recreation. But support for these initiatives also vary with opponents like state chambers of commerce actively working against some of the efforts, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.

By far the largest initiative is being considered in Florida where an estimated $18 billion is at stake. Amendment 1 is a constitutional amendment that would dedicate 33 percent of annual revenue raised through an existing tax on real estate transactions over the next 20 years to conservation projects. While the state has had bipartisan support for conservation spending, appropriations have declined dramatically in recent years undermining efforts for land conservation and Everglades restoration. Amendment 1 would fund the state's Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including: wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites. The amendment requires a 60 percent supermajority vote in support to be approved and is broadly supported by diverse organizations. While the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau and other groups oppose the initiative, current polling suggests that it is receiving strong support from voters.

New Jersey is also considering a constitutional amendment for long-term, dedicated funding for a variety of environmental and conservation programs. The state has a long history of support at the ballot for programs like the state's Green Acres land preservation efforts. However, this is the first time the state is seeking dedicated funding that is estimated to total $2.15 billion over the next 20 years to acquire land prone to flooding, protect natural areas, farmland and watersheds, and provide for parks, historic preservation, underground storage tank removal and brownfield remediation. If approved, Public Question #2 will reallocate 4 percent of an existing state corporate business tax for an estimated $71 million annually for the first four years, and beginning in 2019, it would dedicate an additional 2 percent of business tax revenues increasing the annual funding to $117 million. While municipalities, counties and agricultural boards across the state generally support the amendment, Americans for Prosperity has led opposition against the amendment along with the state's governor, Chris Christie.

In North Dakota, the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks constitutional amendment, Measure 5, would dedicate 5 percent of tax revenue from oil development for conservation and recreation over the next 25 years. Funds would be used for water quality, natural flood control, fish and wildlife habitat, parks and outdoor recreation areas, access for hunting and fishing, the acquisition of land for parks, and outdoor education for children. While North Dakota has seen dramatic losses of prairie habitat in recent years, this initiative is receiving the greatest opposition from business interests including the American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce and state agricultural interests who claim that farmlands would be purchased to take them out of production. However, the amendment does not change the North Dakota Corporate Farming Law that prohibits most conservation groups from buying land without governor approval.

"My family has always prided itself on having a strong conservation ethic. Conservation programs funded through Measure 5 will be 100 percent voluntary and could benefit all farming and ranching operations in North Dakota if producers wish to take part. Producers could use grant dollars for things like buffers along waterways, cover crops to advance soil health, enhanced grazing systems, and improved wildlife habitat on marginal areas," said Gabe Brown, an agricultural producer supporting the amendment. "The fact is, Measure 5 will benefit family farms and ranches across North Dakota."

Both California and Maine are considering bonds that will improve the states' water infrastructure. California will be considering a $7.5 billion bond for watershed protection and restoration, forest health, wetland habitat and for additional water storage. Proposition 1 would make improvements to a water system that has been significantly impacted by the current drought in the state. In Maine, Question 6 would create a $10 million bond to fund natural and built infrastructure to reduce threats to the state's water resources, improve stormwater management, and conserve habitat for recreational fisheries, waterfowl, and aquatic and other wildlife species.

In addition to the statewide ballot initiatives, a number of counties and local communities are also considering conservation funding proposals. This includes Los Angeles County, California; Portland, Oregon; Missoula, Montana, Larimer County, Colorado; Benton County, Washington; Bernalillo County, New Mexico, and Beaufort County, South Carolina. In total there are 39 measures being tracked by The Trust for Public Land's Land Vote this election season.

-Wildlife Management Institute (WMI)

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Oct. 24 - Oct. 26
68th Annual Cape May Autumn Birding Festival
Cape May, NJ
Oct. 29 - Nov. 2
Yellow Rails and Rice Festival
Jennings, La.
Nov. 7 - Nov. 9
Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival
Lodi, Cal.
Nov. 8
8th Annual Ohio Young Birders Conference
The Wilderness Center, Wilmot, Ohio
Nov. 18 - Nov. 23
27th Annual Festival of the Cranes
Bosque del Apache NWR, San Antonio, NM
Nov. 22 - Nov. 23
Toh Bird Festival
Yucatan, Mexico
Dec. 5 - Dec. 7
A Wild Bird Conference
San Domingo Ranch of South Texas
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