Conservation Alliance grantee WaterWatch led the effort to remove the Savage Rapids Dam on Oregon's Rogue River. Removal began in May, and will conclude in December. The project will clear a major obstacle to fish passage on the Rogue, renowned for its whitewater boating and fishing. WaterWatch has posted on their website some amazing photos of the dam removal as it progreses. Check out this visual show of history in the making!
ConservationNEXT's sixth Backyard Collective event will be held tomorrow in El Dorado Canyon near Boulder, CO. The ConservationNEXT crew has teamed up with Colorado Mountain Club, ConservationNEXT to host a day of trail restoration at the state park, a popular destination for climbing, hiking and mountain biking. Budget cuts have severely cut Colorado's State Park trail crew projects, and El Dorado Canyon's recreation manager, psyched for volunteer help, will provide a range of activities from building steps to pulling weeds, depending on the interest and ability level of volunteers.
As a reminder, the Backyard Collective program is our effort to connect individuals from our member companies directly with the work of our grantees. Employees from the following companies will participate: Osprey; GoLite; The North Face; La Sportiva; Headsweats; Kelty; Sierra Designs; Teko; Backpackers Pantry; Outdoor Industry Association; Leisure Trends; and Burt's Bees. We expect roughly 100 volunteers throughout the day, and will post photos early next week. Thanks to all the participants, and to Brook Shinsky (The North Face) and Deanna Lloyd (The Forest Group) for pulling this one together!
Last August, The Conservation Alliance was fortunate to feature author Bill McKibben as the guest speaker at our Outdoor Retailer trade show breakfast. Bill talked mostly about global warming and his organization 350.org. Last night, McKibben addressed a much larger audience when the was the guest on the Colbert Report. Bill did a great job communicating the importance of bringing atomospheric CO2 levels down to 350 parts per million. Check out his interview with Colbert. And to learn more about 350.org, check out… www.350.org.
In strong comments, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Friday that the Obama Administration will uphold the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. If the rule continues to be tied up in the courts, Vilsack further stated that his team would write a new rule to protect America's roadless forests. The Roadless Rule protected 58 million acres of US Forest Service land from new road construction. Click here for more details.
MAKE SURE TO HONK AND WAVE IF YOU SEE THIS VAN DRIVING IN THE SAN DIEGO REGION!
Outdoor Outreach (www.outdooroutreach.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower at-risk and underprivileged youth to make positive, lasting changes in their lives through comprehensive outdoor programming. Through the encouragement of Conservation Next, our entire staff made specific New Year's resolutions that would benefit the environment in the name of our most special place in nature. My resolution was to convert one of our 15 passenger vans to run on Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO). I am proud to report that with the help of Veg Powered Systems, we recently made good on the resolution. The conversion will not only save us close to $5,000 a year, but also serve as an educational tool to inspire the youth we serve to learn more about their impact in the environment. Local restaurants have generously donated the used vegetable oil from their deep-friers to us. Flour, water and other impurities are then filtered out before the oil can be used for fuel. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administartion, Americans use 390 million gallons of gasoline each day! Converting the van to run on WVO saves us approximately 132 gallons a month or 1,500 gallons a year. Because WVO originates from plants, the environmental impact is greatly reduced when compared to fossil fuels. Special thanks to Las Patronas, The Coronado Rotary Club and Jimbo's for making grants to fund the purchase and conversion of the vehicle.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was in Grand Junction, CO this week to dedicate the new Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, a 210,000-acre wildland protected in March. The Conservation Alliance supported protections for the area with grants to Colorado Environmental Coalition and Western Colorado Congress. In his dedication, Salazar referred to the economic benefits of protecting places like the Dominguez Canyon (pictured above). Click here for the full story.
American Whitewater, a Conservation Alliance grantee, was featured prominently in a good article in the New York Times about the benefits of dam removal to whitwater paddlers. Though the premise seems obvious to most of us, it's nice to read in the Times that we are now in "the age of dam removal." The article includes a list of dam removal projects nationwide, including several that The Conservation Alliance has supported with grants to groups like AW. Check it out!