June 15, 2013 -- In preparing a speech for the Master Naturalist graduation in El Paso recently, I put together a list of ten things that we can all do to help save our ecosystem. Whether you are a Master Naturalist or simply someone who just cares about protecting our environment, for our generation and those that follow us in the future, this list is a good starting point for anyone who wants to make a difference.
1. Take people who normally do not go outside with you on your hikes and other outdoor adventures. Share your Passion.
2. Carry flyers with you promoting conservation efforts and share them with people you meet in checkout lines at the grocery store, servers at restaurants, and people you come in contact with every day.
3. Attend City Council and County Commissioner Court meetings and speak out on the environment.
4. Become better informed about how your daily actions affect the environment. Make changes in your lifestyle and share with others what you are learning.
5. Become an Eco-Warrior volunteer at a high visitation area like the Zoo helping people understand what they are seeing and helping them connect with the ecosystem and understand how their actions can make a difference.
6. Find an Eco-Warrior friend who can go with you when you meet people who can help our community become more sensitive to protecting the ecosystem.
7. Put together an agenda of items you want elected representatives and government officials to do to help protect the ecosystem where you live and meet with them face to face.
8. Learn about ecosystem services. There are great books loaded with good information. Become an expert on this topic.
9. Help teachers do a better job in talking to their students about ecosystem services by meeting with them and perhaps offering little workshops and talks you can share in the classroom.
10.Come up with a project that will help protect our ecosystem and contact the media asking them to do a story in the newspaper or on TV.
Rick LoBello, Founder, ILoveParks.com
Franklin Mountains State Park to Grow by More Than 600 Acres
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will purchase a parcel of land that straddles Loop 375, also known as Trans Mountain Road, to further extend the Franklin Mountains State Parkís western reach into the surrounding high desert country. The acquisition will bring the state parkís total acreage to more than 26,000 acres.
The El Paso Public Service Board offered the desirable property to TPWD at a bargain sale price. The tract of undeveloped land will provide a buffer from pending new city growth and increase public recreational opportunities through the possible future expansion of the parkís trail system.
After much land use discussion about the environmental impact due to encroaching development on the western flanks of the Franklin Mountains, the El Paso City Council this past summer agreed to the sale. The TPW Commissionís vote was the final action required to consummate the land deal.
Big Bend National Park Tourism Creates $16,703,000 In Local Economic Benefit
A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that the 361,862 visitors to Big Bend National Park spent $16,703,000 in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported 234 jobs in the local area.
The information on Big Bend National Park is part of a peer-reviewed spending analysis of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.
Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent), and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent). Learn more: Download the report on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011.
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
For more information about this website please contact Rick LoBello by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Conservation Issues Affecting Parks and Wildlife Habitat
Great Conservation Stories
Vista Del Aguila National Wildlife Refuge Proposed for El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson Counties Effort to create the first National Wildlife Refuge in West Texas will help meet the growing demand for access to lands to experience nature
Conservation Issues Affecting Parks and Wildlife Habitat
Great Conservation Stories
Vista Del Aguila National Wildlife Refuge Proposed for El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson Counties
Effort to create the first National Wildlife Refuge in West Texas will help meet the growing demand for access to lands to experience nature
The Southwest Region of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) is proposing a new National Wildlife Refuge in the Trans-Pecos region of far west Texas near Sierra Blanca and Van Horn, Texas. Support for the effort is growing where members of local and regional conservation organizations including the El Paso Chapter of the Sierra Club are getting behind the proposal. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to offer their support by contacting Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service by email at RDTuggle@fws.gov.
The proposed National Wildlife Refuge would be a USFW contribution to a multi-agency/multi-landowner conservation partnership in the Trans Pecos and would support coordinated efforts of resource management activities through strategic landscape- level conservation planning within the northern Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion. In 2010 the USFW signed on to a Memorandum of Understanding supporting a new Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative and President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative. The MOU between the USFW, U.S. National Park Service (NPS), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is collaborative effort benefiting research and management activities of the natural and cultural resources in the Rio Grande Basin and Chihuahuan Desert of the Trans-Pecos region.
The establishment of a refuge in the Eagle Mountains of the Trans-Pecos is a proactive conservation endeavor aimed at strategically preserving a representative example of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion currently underrepresented within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The entire Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion consists of approximately 148 million acres. The U.S. portion consists of approximately 38.5 million acres within the states of Texas (23.6 million acres) and New Mexico (14.9 million). Currently, less than I percent (or approximately 281,000 acres) of Chihuahuan
During the 1970s, the Service attempted to establish a refuge in the Trans-Pecos, but was unsuccessful. Since the creation of Big Bend National Park in 1944, unified landowners have opposed and prevented the establishment of additional federal lands within this region. The majority of the Trans-Pecos remains in private ownership in the form of relatively large ranches. However, the profile of the typical landowner in Texas is changing. The large ranch tradition is giving way to subdivided properties allowing more landowners to own smaller parcels. Increased development and population growth in the Trans-Pecos, especially near urban areas, is reducing large-scale areas of biologically sustainable habitats and creating additional habitat fragmentation. The City of EI Paso, the nation’s largest border city, is experiencing continued development and population growth. In addition, the Fort Bliss Army Air Base located in EI Paso, will experience an increase of about 20,000 soldiers along with their families in 2011
Given the growth and population trend in the bi-national metropolitan cities of EI Paso-Juarez and the surrounding communities of west Texas, pressure continues to be placed on the Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem and its limited resources. In a state where 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas, there is a growing demand for access to lands to experience nature. In addition, there is a need to provide more opportunities for outdoor recreation near major population centers and adequate conservation of the state's natural regions and cultural heritage.
The establishment of the first Refuge within the vast expanse of the Trans-Pecos would serve the following purposes: I ) reduce ongoing habitat fragmentation by protecting a large expanse of the Chihuahuan Desert not currently represented in the Trans-Pecos within the National Wildlife Refuge System; 2) provide an area within proximity to a metropolitan center for the public to engage in positive outdoor experiences and; 3) in collaboration with other stakeholders, provide a link to existing conservation areas to preserve the biological diversity within the Chihuahuan Desert. Conservation and heritage education, particularly for the next generation, is vital to the future.
Establishing a refuge within the core of the northern Chihuahuan Desert would not only protect one of the natural treasures of Texas, but preserve the cultural heritage of the region.
Source – from Preliminary Project Proposal: Vista Del Aguila National Wildife Refuge, El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson Counties, Texas. US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, Southwest Region, April, 2011
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