Following Alice the Moose on the A2A Wildway

By John Davis

Were I a Moose, I’d be breaking all the rules. I’m climbing mountains merely for views of this glorious watery wooded landscape, cursing at thick bushwhacks through spruce/fir forest that a Moose might forage in winter; aiming my Hornbeck solo canoe for clear open water, rather than wading and feeding in the nearby swamps and marshes; carrying too much weight in my Osprey backpack; and gingerly side-stepping the muddy trail sections Moose walk right through. Still, a week into our A2A Reconnaissance Hike, I’ve seen a good bit of what Alice the Moose saw when she journeyed fifteen years ago from the middle of New York’s huge Adirondack Park to Ontario’s fabled Algonquin Provincial Park.

When Alice made this long trek, she inadvertently confirmed the Algonquin to Adirondack (or Adirondack to Algonquin – either way, A2A) habitat linkage (wildlife corridor, or wildway, as some of us prefer to say) that biologists had identified. She inspired a conservation effort that has grown into the A2A Collaborative, of which The Rewilding Institute is a participant. A2A partners on both sides of the border spent much of a month exploring A2A on the ground in autumn 2017, simultaneously hiking northwest and southeast from our respective parks toward the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, to celebrate Alice the Moose and the wildway she revealed and to investigate the possibility of an eventual A2A International Scenic Trail. I was lucky enough to do much of the hiking and paddling on the US side; and my scouting strongly confirmed the wildness of this region and its great appeal for outdoorspeople, as well as wildlife. Click here to read more.

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Glaciers – Butterflies – Change

Blog post January 22, 2019 by Alison M. Jones

Rivers are like sentences. They run on. There is an order, but it can be re-arranged. They are often punctuated by geologic elements and activity.

Rivers can be altered by fallen trees and jumping fish – or by human presence and activity. Alterations sometimes occur rapidly, sometimes slowly. How are those changes acknowledged? Maps help.

Humans have long changed rivers to benefit themselves. We have hand-dug small irrigation canals; bull-dozed earthen levees to stop floods; and built mammoth, concrete infrastructure to stop floods, store water and produce hydropower.

Think of changes wrought by global warming, its floods and its droughts. Think of the disappearance of sections or reaches of long rivers due to agricultural withdrawal for irrigation purposes.

 We have no substitute for today’s melting glaciers that for millennia have fed our rivers from Asia’s Himalaya Mountains to N. America’s Rocky Mountains. Glaciers supply water that we drink, that irrigates crops, that cools, and that transports us and our goods.

Jones_070609_ALB_2330.jpg

A 2007 photo marks the recession of Canada’s Athabasca Glacier

Photo by Alison M. Jones

When we were 7.3 billion people on this planet, we used the resources of 1 ½ planets. Now we are 7.7 billion people – and still increasing our numbers and resource consumption. How will that change how we live? Can we change that arc?
Change can come slowly or rapidly. Change can be for the good or for the bad. Change can be invisible and unfathomable. Click here to read more and see photos.

Path of the Puma book review

By John Miles

Inside the covers of Path of the Puma is a map presenting historic range, current known range, confirmed sightings outside of range, and likely path of mountain lion dispersal. Current range includes North America west from the Rockies, north to south from the southern Yukon through Mexico, and a few outliers such as the Florida panther, suggesting that these big cats, extirpated across much of their historic range, are making a comeback. Arrows indicating the likely path of mountain lion dispersal point east from the Rockies all the way to New York. Scattereddots indicate confirmed sightings recorded east of the Mississippi River.

 

Montana wildlife biologist Jim Williams is an optimistic realist having studied and managed Puma concolor for decades. Emphasize manage here, for Williams is a confirmed believer that wildlife, and especially big carnivores like the puma, will not survive as species in the long run unless we decide we want them to do so. Read all.

 

Rewilding Earth

Podcast

A Rewilding Success Story on the Elwha River

Listen to a big Rewilding victory –the dam removal on the Elwha River in the Olympic Peninsula, (Washington state, USA). A conversation with Tim McNulty, Olympic Park Associates, and author of poetry and natural history books, who talks about the end of a decades-long battle to return the Elwha to natural flow resulting in the return of salmon, eagles and others reliant on a healthy river freed from two dams. Read more and listen to the podcast here.

https://rewilding.org/dam-removal-on-the-elwha-river/

The Zambezi River Legend

No Water No Life
The Zambezi River Legend
By Alison M. Jones
The charming African legend we quote below refers to Africa’s Zambezi River that flows 1677 miles (2700 km) from the point where northwestern Zambia borders Angola, Namibia and Botswana. It crashes down Victoria Falls, dividing Zimbabwe and Zambia, and runs through Mozambique – despite the Kariba and Cahora Bassa Dams. It is the largest African river to flow into the Indian Ocean.

While “Zambezi” is the local Tonga word for “Great River,” it is known by many as “The River of the Gods.” By others, it is called “The River of Life” in honor of “Nyami Nyami” the local river spirit who nurtures the river’s fish and irrigates their crops.

In a lovely book on this important African river,1we came across a legend that mystically merges the cycle of the sun setting and rising with the birth and passage of the Zambezi River. In our minds, the legend could apply to the course of any river..

Rewilding Earth

Podcast

A Rewilding Success Story on the Elwha River

 

Listen to a big Rewilding victory –the dam removal on the Elwha River in the Olympic Peninsula, (Washington state, USA). A conversation with Tim McNulty, Olympic Park Associates, and author of poetry and natural history books, who talks about the end of a decades-long battle to return the Elwha to natural flow resulting in the return of salmon, eagles and others reliant on a healthy river freed from two dams. Read more and listen to the podcast here.

 

The Clean Water Act: Analysis

By Isabelle Bienen, NWNL Research Intern

Isabelle Bienen is at Northwestern University studying Social and Environmental Policy and Legal Studies. As a NWNL summer intern, she wrote 5 blogs on the 1972 US Clean Water Act [CWA] and its role in NWNL’s 3 US watersheds. This is Isabelle’s fifth and final blog which analyzes the shortcomings, successes, and what is next for the CWA. Her earlier CWA blogs: CWA in Mississippi River Basin, CWA in Columbia & Raritan River Basins, CWA and Health Issueshttps://nwnl.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/the-clean-water-act-addresses-health-issues/, and Evolution of the Clean Water Act. All rivers shown below are currently Waters of the US [WOTUS] covered by the CWA. At the end of this blog is an addendum added by NWNL staff about recent proposed changes to the Clean Water Act.

Implementation of the Clean Water Act in NWNL Case Study Watersheds

The CWA in the Mississippi River Basin

Lake Martin in the Atchafalaya Basin, Mississippi River Basin, Louisiana

Despite the implementation of the Clean Water Act [CWA], the Mississippi River still experiences continued nutrient and sediment loading as well as the retention of dead zones. Effective management of nutrient and sediment runoff from agricultural sources requires targeted and specific approaches due to the increase in biofuel production in recent years. This basin runs through ten different states, over which the CWA has regulation with EPA oversight. This makes it difficult to implement targeted and specific approaches to nutrient, sediment, and dead zones problems since many of these states do not agree on how to approach these issues.1 Another inconsistency that inhibits adequate progress at this basin is the lack of data. There does not exist a single data-sharing mechanism for the river; nor does there exist water-quality standards for nutrient levels.1 Because of the limited amount of collected data, it is difficult to numerically determine the success of the CWA in the Mississippi River. However, the EPA and the ten states plan to renovate the existing Publicly Owned Treatment Works [POTWs] as well as add 1,688 POTWs in the near future. (No definitive end date has yet been released).2 This development, as well as the “contaminant reduction of sewage pollution from municipalities and the mitigation of point source inputs”2, highlight the major successes thus far of the Clean Water Act in the Mississippi River. Read more.

. . . . . .

Wild and Scenic Rivers: Three Columbia Tributaries

By Sarah Kearns

This article in our series on Wild and Scenic Rivers focuses on the Crooked, Metolius and McKenzie Rivers – three Oregon tributaries to the Lower Columbia River. All three were added simultaneously to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System on Oct. 28, 1988. No Water No Life (NWNL) documented these tributaries in Oct. 2017 during its 5th Columbia River Basin Expedition. More about this Pacific Northwest, transboundary watershed is on our Columbia River General Characteristics page. For more on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, read Part 1 of this blog series.

Crooked River

The Crooked River reach from the National Grassland boundary to Dry Creek (17.8 miles) is designated as a “Recreational” National Wild and Scenic River. According to the National Wild and Scenic River website, this part of the Crooked River is a popular destination for outdoor activities, including whitewater boating, hiking, kayaking and fishing for steelhead, brown trout and native rainbow trout. Read more.

 

Path of the Puma book review

By John Miles 

Inside the covers of Path of the Puma is a map presenting historic range, current known range, confirmed sightings outside of range, and likely path of mountain lion dispersal. Current range includes North America west from the Rockies, north to south from the southern Yukon through Mexico, and a few outliers such as the Florida panther, suggesting that these big cats, extirpated across much of their historic range, are making a comeback. Arrows indicating the likely path of mountain lion dispersal point east from the Rockies all the way to New York. Scattereddots indicate confirmed sightings recorded east of the Mississippi River.

 

Montana wildlife biologist Jim Williams is an optimistic realist having studied and managed Puma concolor for decades. Emphasize manage here, for Williams is a confirmed believer that wildlife, and especially big carnivores like the puma, will not survive as species in the long run unless we decide we want them to do so. Read all.

 

Rewilding at Many Scales: A Book Review Essay

By John Miles Dave Foreman, in his landmark 2004 book Rewilding North America: A Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century, makes a convincing case that “To make protected areas more effective, conservationists must now (1) work on very large landscapes, probably continental in scope, and (2) undertake ecological restoration based on rewilding.”[1] He advocated a science-based approach to protecting and creating a network of “core wild areas, wildlife movement linkages, and compatible use lands to meet habitat needs of wide-ranging species, maintain natural disturbance regimes, and permit dispersal and reestablishment of wildlife following natural events such as fires.”[2] Dave was thinking big, though of course he was working at all landscape scales. In 2018, he has been working on a local rewilding project in the Sandia Mountains near his Albuquerque home. Since he wrote this book, much thought and action has been invested in pursuing this vision and some progress made on large scale initiatives like Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y), Yellowstone to Uintas (Y to U), and Algonquin to Adirondack (A2A)..

In this essay I address the question of whether rewilding should be seen only as a large-scale effort or whether it should be pursued at many scales… My thinking about this was stimulated by my reading of recently published books: Joe Riis, Yellowstone Migrations (Seattle, Braided River, 2017); Matthew Kauffman, et al, Wild Migrations: Atlas of Wyoming Ungulates (Corvallis, Oregon State University Press, 2018); Ben Goldfarb, Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter (White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2018); and Scott Freeman, Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2018.) All of these books describe, in my view, rewilding. They may not all involve Foreman’s core wild areas, but they describe work based on science and efforts to enhance wildlife movement across landscapes. They promote land use compatible to the needs of wide-ranging species. Some of these species, like elk, pronghorn, and mule deer in the Yellowstone region, and salmon in the Pacific Northwest, are very wide-ranging. Beavers may not range widely but as a keystone species enhancing habitats, they help the wide rangers and restore natural processes on the land. Read entire article.