Conservation Column

Conservation Column Oct 2015: Environmental Issues Update

Debbie Schlenoff                                541.685.0610                             dschlenoff (at) msn.com


Members of Lane County Audubon Society care about birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. We strive to keep up with environmental issues and take action when possible to promote conservation and enjoyment of wild places. We submit comments on environmental impact statements and management proposals. We write letters or sign on to letters with other organizations concerning projects and proposed legislation. In this month’s column, I’d like to update you on some of the issues we’ve taken action on.

Conservation Column Sep 2015: New Rules Adopted to Protect Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat

Debbie Schlenoff                                541.685.0610                             dschlenoff (at) msn.com


The Greater Sage-Grouse has been a subject of intense debate in Salem during the last few months. On July 27 of this year, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) and the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) adopted new, more restrictive rules to mitigate impacts by solar, wind, and mining projects in the sage-grouse habitat of Oregon. The new rules are an attempt by the state to head off a possible endangered species listing for the bird by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The listing, scheduled to be decided in September, would impose new regulations in the 11 states that contain Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. As one of these states, Oregon would face new federal regulations on development and ranching, particularly in central and eastern Oregon where 90% of the Oregon sage-grouse population resides.

Conservation Column Jul-Aug 2015: BLM Needs Your Comments on Resource Management Plan

Debbie Schlenoff                                541.685.0610                             dschlenoff (at) msn.com


UPDATE: The BLM has extended the comment period for the Draft Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement until August 21, 2015.

While hiking on a shaded trail next to a burbling creek, you reach for your guidebook to identify a striking wildflower.... To find the diameter of an immense old-growth tree, you and your companions encircle it, stretch your arms wide, and reach for one another’s hands.... When a flash of color catches your eye or a warbling note touches your ear, you reach for your binoculars, asking, “What kind of bird was that?” Have you ever done these things? Do you want people to be able to have these kinds of experiences in the future? If so, then reach for your keyboard, write your comments on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) draft resource management plan, and email them to the BLM.

Conservation Column May 2015: It’s Time to Invest in the Future of the Earth

Debbie Schlenoff                                541.685.0610                             dschlenoff (at) msn.com


A recent article in Current Biology (Conde et al., 2015) examined the costs of preventing the extinction of about 900 vertebrate species (and their habitats) listed by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE). They calculated the costs for conservation in the animal’s natural habitats as well as for maintaining insurance populations in zoos. The total was about $1.1 billion, with an average cost per species of $1.3 million. Another report (McCarthy et al., 2012) concluded that about $1 billion per year for a decade would reduce the extinction risk for all globally threatened bird species, and $4 billion per year for a decade would downlist all threatened species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. A total of $76 billion per year for a decade would establish and protect habitats and ecosystems globally.

Conservation Column Oct 2014: Human Activities Affect Birdsong

Debbie Schlenoff


Scientists are studying the psychological benefits that accrue when people listen to the sounds of birds. It is thought that hearing birds sing may help us to relax and recover from stress, assist our focus on tasks, and inspire us to think creatively. Given our deep connection to birdsong in poetry, music, and our daily lives, people would be wise to try to understand the potential impact of human activities on this behavior.

Conservation Column Sep 2014: Football Stadium Design Is Dangerous for Birds

Debbie Schlenoff


Sports teams have often branded themselves with animal monikers (hello, Duck fans!). Football teams borrow from our feathered friends—the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks. So it is sadly ironic that the massive football stadium under construction in Minneapolis will result in a large and unnecessary number of bird deaths. The new Vikings stadium, located on a migratory flyway next to the Mississippi River, features large expanses of glass (200,000 square feet) and is expected to kill thousands of birds if built as originally designed. Birds don’t see glass and will attempt to fly through the invisible barrier, only to be brought up short when they collide with the glass. The collisions are often fatal.

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