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October 2015 Audubon Rockies Newsletter
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October 2015 Newsletter

Working to protect birds and their habitat in Wyoming and Colorado.
 
 Executive Corner
 

On September 22, at a ceremony under the backdrop of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the “not-warranted” federal listing decision for Greater Sage-grouse. This announcement came 8 days before the court-mandated deadline for making a decision about the sage-grouse’s management future. Federal agency leaders and western governors all used the event as a formal platform to recognize the unprecedented collaboration that has been focused on the sagebrush ecosystem and the bird, which now remains a state-managed species.
 
Audubon and many others are watching these conservation plans and their implementation very carefully.  Two lawsuits have already been filed, by the
State of Idaho and two Nevada counties/mining companies.  Both ends of the spectrum are not happy with these plans which means that the federal agencies and states are acutely aware that they will need to keep defensible record of habitat  protection/improvement efforts and population numbers that can withstand legal scrutiny.  Audubon is very cognizant that the processes, at the state and federal level, must not only be sufficiently funded but nimble enough to respond meaningfully to how the bird and the habitat are responding to the conservation plans.  We are continuing to engage with decision-makers to ensure science is incorporated appropriately going forward.  We do not want to see this species decline further, because if it does, we have failed for not only grouse but for 350 other wildlife species and an iconic western landscape.  If we succeed, this could reflect a new way of doing wildlife management at a landscape scale.

Please read below for more on this issue and some helpful online resources.

 
Alison Holloran
Executive Director, Audubon Rockies

 Bird Bits

 
 

Good News: Being a Lazy Lawnmower Improves Bee Habitat!

 

Putting off your lawn mowing chores could be a great way to improve bee diversity, according to ongoing research.

Read Full Article HERE!

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Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air
 

Hummingbirds are the tiniest of birds, yet they are some of the toughest, most energetic creatures on the planet. Their unique flying abilities give them unmatched maneuverability, but at the cost of a supercharged metabolism that keeps them on the edge of survival. Hummingbirds spend most their lives in fast forward, but now high-speed video lets us enter their world.


Watch Full Episode HERE!

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Invasive Species Can Hurt Native Birds


Invasive Eurasian birds might be wreaking havoc on bird species native to North America as a result of a warming climate, according to a recent study.


Read The Wildlife Society's article HERE

 


Bees Have Ways of Self-Medicating 
 

Flowers have traits that both attract mutualists and deter herbivores.  We set out to ask whether nectar chemicals could function as pollinator attractants.


Read The Wildlife Society's article HERE





Great magazine with lots of timely articles, including:


Life Among the Turbines ..
Researchers explore how grassland birds respond to wind farms. Read the article HERE.


Bird v. Bird .. The complicated relationship between sage grouse and their avian predators. Read the article HERE.
 
Support Audubon Rockies



 

Colorado Gives Day - Give Where You Live!
 

Colorado Gives Day for Audubon Rockies is quickly approaching - mark your calendars for December 8 and Give Where You Live!

 

Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving and Audubon Rockies is again a part of the movement.  Remember, you don’t have to live in Colorado to give to Audubon Rockies on that day.  Our supporters from across the country can contribute to our important programs that make a difference right here in Colorado and Wyoming.  Last year, through the generosity of more than 60 donors, we raised over $5,000 for our first Colorado Gives Day.  We want to keep building on that momentum and double our funds raised this year, and with your help in making a donation and spreading the word about Audubon Rockies, we can!

It’s easy to do.  You can visit our
Colorado Gives Day page on December 8 and make a donation or, starting on November 1st, you can pre-schedule your donation to be automatically charged to your credit card on December 8 so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to support Audubon Rockies.  (Only donations received on December 8th count towards our Colorado Gives Day total!)  You can even set up your own fundraising page and challenge your friends and co-workers to raise funds for Audubon Rockies and for our feathered friends.  Again this year, an Incentive Fund is set up to reward nonprofits who receive donations.  The more donations Audubon Rockies receives, the more we receive from the fund making your donation go further.  We can’t think of a better Christmas present than that
.

 

 

Receive this badge of honor when you pre-schedule your donation!

Give Where You Live and together we can make a DIFFERENCE!


 

The Roost - Chapter News

 

Read the President of Grand Valley Audubon Chapter, Nic Korte's, latest blog "Delicious coffee on a cool September morning."  His blogs are featured in the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction.  To read all his Birds and More entries - visit here!



Chapter Websites & Newsletters


Colorado Chapters:
Wyoming Chapters:
Each Chapter is an independent organization of Audubon members that is chartered and annually re-certified by National Audubon Society. 

They provide excellent birding, education, and conservation opportunities for members at the local level. They also often advocate on behalf of conservation at the local, state, and national level.
 

National News


NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY's SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER.  

Amazing Falcon Pix | Test Your Migratory Bird IQ  | Great Plover News
 


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NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY's SEPTEMBER POLICY ADVISORY
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NEW Audubon Bird Guide app!!

We just released an updated version of the Audubon Bird Guide app, and it’s now FREE to bird lovers nationwide.
 
With 821 species and thousands of bird photos and sounds, our app instantly turns any mobile device into the most trusted field guide in North America.
 
To download the app, go to the iTunes, Google, or Amazon app store.  Once you download it, you can find tips and tricks for using it at 
www.audubon.org/apps.


 
Happy birding from all of us!



STAFF
     

Alison Holloran, Executive Director
John Kloster-Prew, Development Director
Daly Edmunds, Regional Policy Coordinator
Dusty Downey, Sr. Regional Community Naturalist
Jacelyn Downey, Sr. Regional Community Naturalist
Becky Gillette, Senior Educator
Abby Burk, WRAN Coordinator
Jamie Weiss, Habitat Heroes Coordinator
Zach Hutchinson, Community Naturalist
Sandy McIntyre, Office Assistant

Support Audubon Rockies

Upcoming Events





WRAN Workshop 

October 8 at 5:00pm & October 10 at10:00am
Moab Information Center, Moab, UT
 

Please join Western Rivers Outreach Specialist, Abby Burk, leading stream ecologists and water recreation experts for our first ever WRAN workshop in beautiful Moab, UT. Details Below!





Third Annual Americas Latino EcoFestival (ALEF) 
October 15-17 
Denver, Colorado (Various Locations)
 

ALEF establishes a home for advocates and leaders from the leading organizations with Latino constituencies and environmental mandates. ALEF advocates for an integrated local and national conservation agenda committed to advancing Latinos' connections with nature and experience of the outdoors that in turn may inspire future stewardship of our natural resources. ALEF 2015 will launch an authoritative climate training program as well as call for actions on climate stewardship, land conservation, and the transition to renewable energies. For More Information 




Sage Spirit book on tour in Wyoming

October 21 in Laramie  - UW Berry Biodiversity Center Auditorium
October 22 in Casper - Wheeler Auditorium at World Physical Science Center
October 27 in Rock Springs - Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Room 1302

 

Each program begins at 7:00 pm. Be prepared to be entertained and inspired by stunning photographs and prose by celebrated conservation photographer, Dave Showalter. His striking images, created over six years of fieldwork in the open country, immerse you in this diverse, spacious, and vibrant landscape. Audubon Rockies is a proud sponsor of this conservation project. Visit HERE for more information about this tour, being hosted by Sierra Club.





The Sagebrush Sea at Denver Museum of Nature & Science!

October 28 at 7:00pm - NEED TO REGISTER ONLINE

 

Marc Dantzker, award winning photographer, and cinematographer Gerrit Vyn, and the rest of the production team from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology experienced some unusual adventures while capturing this natural wonder for the Lab’s new film "The Sagebrush Sea." Come watch the movie at the IMAX theater!  Register as "non-members" and then enter in promo code "Audubon20" to get ticket price reduced from $15 to $12.




Boulder Rights of Nature Film Festival
November 5-8, 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, CO
 

For more information, including full listing of movies, click HERE                          

Featuring The Sagebrush Sea on Nov 5 at 7:30 pm.



Big Game Migration Forum at University of Wyoming
November 9 and 10 
Big game migrations traverse myriad jurisdictions and land ownership types, requiring coordination across a diverse regulatory and policy landscape. Join ranchers, outfitters, scientists, agency leaders, non-profits, and others to identify the opportunities and gaps in public policy and private initiatives for ungulate migration management and conservation in the West.

 

Western Rivers Action Network


Colorado River outside Moab, Utah.  Photo by Abby Burk

WRAN Presentation in Moab, UT. 
Shared Rivers: Our Shared Future

 

ACTIVE RIVER COMMUNITY WE NEED YOUR INPUT


When: Oct 8th 5-7 PM, and encore Oct 10th 10 AM – 12 PM
Where: Moab Information Center, 25 E Center St, Moab, UT 84532
 
Our shared rivers provide for our shared future. Do you float, paddle, swim, fish, or enjoy the plants and wildlife near your river? Do you wonder what the story of your river is? Then come to the Moab Information Center for one or both free presentations: Thursday October 8th from 5-7 PM, and again on Saturday October 10th from 10 AM – 12 PM. Learn how our Southwestern rivers support fish, birds, other wildlife and people, despite significant challenges.  Presented by established river experts from EcoMainstream Contracting, American Whitewater, and Audubon Rockies. For detailed presentation information visit
here.  
 
Don’t miss this engaging presentation, see you in Moab! For more information email Abby Burk
aburk@audubon.org

Colorado Water Plan Update - Way to go Audubon Rockies & CO WRAN


Thank you to over 760 CO WRAN members for activating once again on the draft Colorado Water Plan (CWP). Your action alert responses have been counted and will influence a more positive course for our final water plan. In addition, Audubon Rockies ushered a technical CWP comment letter which eight Colorado Audubon Chapters representing 7,600 members and our partner organizations signed on to. This technical letter offered revised language for environment resilience in Chapter 6.6 of the CWP.  This revised language is currently in review by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and could add value and science to the final CWP. The final Plan will be presented on or before December 10th of this year. A final water plan is a positive step toward water security for people and the environment alike. Plan implementation is where the real work begins. Stay tuned! 
 

*REMEMBER* Stream Management Plan Grant Applications are Due on October 15.


What a great opportunity to improve river management - the legislature made $1M available in the current fiscal year for stream management planning.  Eligible projects include restoration of stream channels, riparian areas, and aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Visit
 here to review the program and application. Share the word with your watershed groups and others about this terrific opportunity to help our rivers. Let’s see a flood of good applications so we can show demand for another and increased round of funding! Please reach out to Chris Sturm of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to discuss project eligibility and how to create a strong application. *Applications are due October 15th to Chris Sturm at the CWCB.  

Join WRAN Now

Community Naturalist Program

Landowner Workshop in Thunder Basin National Grasslands, Wyoming.

 

In September, Audubon Rockies hosted a landowner workshop for producers, agency representatives, and the public in the Thunder Basin National Grasslands of Wyoming. The 2-day workshop brought in 36 people, many of them producers who collectively own nearly 80,000 acres of private land. Dr. Allan Williams, founding partner and President of Livestock Management Consultants, LLC, a livestock industry consulting firm specializing in building natural branded food programs was the featured speaker.  He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Association of Family Farms (AFF).


On day one, Dr. Williams gave a holistic grazing talk, Alison Holloran did an Audubon Prairie Bird Initiative overview, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies presented on the monitoring methods surrounding grazing protocols, Dave Pellatz from the Thunder Basin National Grasslands Ecosystem Association discussed the importance of partnerships and the importance of  building relationships between producers and conservation organizations, and a researcher from University of WY presented her findings regarding grassland bird population trends.  Our friends and partners, Corner Post Meats also presented on the farm to market approach that they are practicing on Audubon Rockies' Kiowa Creek Ranch in central Colorado.
 
On day two, attendees participated in bird banding, a soil demonstration by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and toured two very successful ranches; the Pronghorn Ranch and the Eathorne Ranch.  The gracious hosting ranches educated attendees about what they are doing in respect to grazing and wildlife, and discussed how agriculture and conservation fit on their respective lands.  Iris Banda, from Pronatura, an organization in Mexico that is championing sustainable farming, agro-forestry and sustainable forestry techniques flew in as well and gave us an update on the Mexico side of grasslands.   It was an interesting 2 days, and everyone seemed very engaged….even in the 90+ degree heat. 
 
This workshop and efforts like this, are part of Audubon Rockies’ Conservation Ranching Program. This regional work includes engagement by National Audubon Society staff in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Working together, across state lines, improves our collective ability to advocate for conservation actions that will improve and conserve our imperiled grassland ecosystems.
 
The Northern Great Plains (NGP) is one of the last remaining intact temperate grasslands in the world. Representing approximately 25% of the total area of the Great Plains, the NGP remains largely intact, thanks in part to the harsh climate, which has made agricultural expansion relatively difficult until the most recent decades. Ranchers, the stewards of the best remaining grasslands, face challenges resulting from an increasingly complex environment: competing against new crop technologies, significant economic pressures, and a changing climate. By partnering with ranchers to strengthen their ability to manage land for both ecosystem health and healthy human communities, we can conserve and protect large grassland areas in the NGP. Audubon Rockies is working with regional partners to keep ranchers ranching and to support collaboration and coordination among NGP conservation actors to develop and promote a healthy and environmentally sustainable campaign for grasslands.

Habitat Hero Program

Photo by Connie Holsinger

 

FINAL WEEK to Submit your Habitat Hero Applications!


The applications will remain open til October 15th
Download
Fact Sheet and Application NOW

The fall colors, crisp mornings and pumpkin-spiced everything is upon us which means that not only is fall here, but you have only one week left to complete your Habitat Hero applicationsIt’s simple and free to apply to receive recognition for your yard that supports wildlife by sending completed applications to Habitat Heroes Coordinator, Jamie Weiss at audubon.habitathero@gmail.com no later than October 15, 2015.  

What are the benefits you receive if you are selected as a Habitat Hero?

*A select winner(s) will be featured in High Country Gardens 2016 Spring Catalog.* 
In addition, you will also receive a beautiful sign to display in your yard, a gift card to High Country Gardens and a Colorado or Wyoming Wildscapes book, bragging rights in your neighborhood, and knowing you are helping stitch our fragmented landscapes back together, one wildscape at a time. 

 


Are you a Habitat Hero?
 
If you try to landscape (or wildscape) to attract and benefit birds, pollinators and other wildlife, then you could be a Habitat Hero!  A Habitat Hero wildscape supports wildlife by: including diverse layers, providing shelter and nesting opportunities for wildlife, providing natural food (based in plants that provide food for wildlife in different seasons, especially those native to your area), offering water for drinking and bathing, are water-wise, energy-saving, does not rely on regular use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and does not spread invasive species. 

No wildscape is too small or large! Whether you have a large yard or a few pots on a balcony, are a public park or schoolyard garden, the one qualification is Habitat Hero’s believe in growing a healthy community. 


Need a reminder on what a Habitat Hero garden entails or the selection criteria?  

Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative


 Press gather in preparation for the formal announcement on Sept. 22.


... continued from Executive's Corner.
 

National Audubon Society remains committed to working on behalf of Greater Sage-grouse and to see that its protection at the state and federal level results in stabilized populations and healthy sagebrush habitat.  

The science on Greater Sage-grouse puts us in a unique position, in that we have a lot more information than we’ve had with other petitioned species to develop good management plans.  The breadth of the specie's range and the myriad of threats has made this a monumental conservation challenge.  In the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2010 decision that grouse warranted protection, the USFWS specifically noted that the continued loss and fragmentation of habitat was exacerbated by a lack of adequate regulatory mechanisms to address habitat loss.  Given that a majority of their range is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Resource Management Plans provide enforceable regulatory mechanisms – becoming the play book on what, when, and how activities can take place on these public lands. In 2010, we did not have this regulatory certainty that incorporates conservation principles identified by the scientific community. The states of Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon (the most notable among the 11 western states) also have plans that are flagged for having the greatest degree of regulatory certainty on threats on state and private lands. In addition, there are commitments of nearly $500 million to protect and restore 4.4 million acres of habitat through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service’s
Sage-Grouse Initiative.
 
Taking a step back from the politics and the science, Audubon is encouraged about the future outlook for the sagebrush ecosystem.  This long under-appreciated landscape is finally receiving positive public attention.  The amazing amount of national attention on sage-grouse has resulted in almost 2 million households across the country learning about this ecosystem through a national broadcasting of a nature documentary,
The Sagebrush Sea, on the award-winning PBS Nature series. Books are being published (Sage Spirit), National Public Radio is doing pieces about the wildlife in sagebrush habitat, major national news outlets are showing stunning photographs of this western landscape, presentations are occurring in local communities that are educating people about the biological value of this ecosystem, and educational material  is being developed for teachers so that students can learn about their own backyard.  While the work continues, we remain optimistic about the future of this ecosystem and the bird.
 
For more information:

  • Read the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2015 Finding

  • General overview of federal management plans:  passed land-use restrictions protecting approximately 67 million acres of grouse habitat in 10 western states.  Among these are designated 35 million acres of “priority habitat” which receive the strongest protections - oil and gas development, transmission lines, wind farms, mining and other uses would be greatly curtailed.

  • State specific fact sheets – check out CO and WY

  • Myths vs. Facts and Frequently Asked Questions, prepared by Bureau of Land Managment.

  • Casper Star-Tribune’s interview with Audubon’s Brian Rutledge

  • Watch Sally Jewell’s video announcement.

  • High Country News’ in-depth coverage:  Timeline and August feature story

This month we would like to acknowledge a valued sponsor and partner

 
      
AUDUBON ROCKIES' PHILOSOPHY

Through science, education, advocacy, and on-the-ground conservation, we protect birds and their habitat in Wyoming and Colorado. Where birds thrive, people prosper.


Copyright © 2015 Audubon Rockies, All rights reserved.

Main Phone: (970) 416-6931

Visit us online: rockies.audubon.org

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