A Source of Inspiration & Wonder

Connecting & Caring

Stewardship and caring for the land and water is at the crux of why the National Wildlife Federation is invested in conservation policy work. Connecting our love for the land to action, advocacy, and speaking up for the land and water, honors those who took care of the land and water in the past and those who will inherit the responsibility to steward the land and water in the future.

Land and water give us so much—from a range of recreation activities to health benefits and bonding with family, friends, and our communities to sustenance, healing, connection to those who came before us, and a source of inspiration, awe, and wonder.

camilla simon Executive Director, HECHO, Rocky Mountain Regional Center

Being able to enjoy or sustain life and livelihoods from the land and water comes with great responsibility. Our vision of strong, culturally rich communities connected to nature and each other is only possible if we work collaboratively. As a result of this approach, we have been fortunate to improve protections in the Upper Rio Grande Watershed for wildlife migration corridors through the engagement and support of communities across northern New Mexico.

4major victories
in conserving
wildlife migration
Aerial Photo of Matagorda Bay coastline at Powderhorn ranch
Pronghorn behind fence
Conserving Wildlife Migration Corridors

The National Wildlife Federation secured four major victories in 2021 conserving wildlife migration corridors. The Federation led the fight in the Upper Rio Grande Valley to designate protections for key migration corridors in the Santa Fe and Carson National Forests. The U.S. Forest Service announced it would include those critical protections in final land management plans. The area, which straddles northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, holds some of the nation’s most intact wildlife landscapes. Conserving these important migration routes for elk, mule deer, pronghorn and many other species ensures that the region will continue to be a model for American wildlife corridor conservation. The Federation was instrumental in Nevada’s executive order conserving migration pathways in sagebrush country, and the first implementation of Wyoming’s executive order designating three mule deer migration corridors. Finally, successful advocacy for the introduction of the Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act marked a critical step toward ensuring that Tribes have adequate resources to implement conservation measures that protect fish and wildlife, and boost biodiversity.

Bull Elk standing in Yellowstone National Park
Ethanol Reform

The National Wildlife Federation is working to reduce the environmental and climate damage caused by biofuel production. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Federation and the Sierra club, agreeing that the EPA had failed to adequately consider the effects of ethanol production on endangered species when deciding on ethanol blending requirements for 2019. The court found that the agency violated requirements under the Endangered Species Act to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Mammal and Fisheries Service to ensure that high levels of biofuel production are not leading to habitat destruction or water pollution as a result of agricultural production to grow biofuel crops such as corn. The decision cited the robust independent research and the agency’s own report to Congress that showed that these impacts have occurred over the last 15 years since the government began requiring that ethanol and other biofuels be blended into gasoline. The National Wildlife Federation has spent years highlighting these problems with corn ethanol and advocating for change.

Collin O'Mara holding up glass full of algal bloom
Introduction of the Mississippi River Restoration and Resilience Initiative

The Federation worked alongside partners and Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s team to develop and introduce historic legislation (H.R. 4202) to establish an EPA geographic program focused on comprehensive restoration of the Mississippi River, from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico. The Federation co-led the development of a wide-ranging coalition of organizations working to advance passage. If successful, the MRRRI Act would create a program to advance restoration, resilience, and environmental justice outcomes in the Mississippi River mainstem states, modeled after the success of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 

A duck landing in the Mississippi River
Stopping Pebble Mine

The National Wildlife Federation is a key player in the fight that prevented the Trump Administration from approving construction of the incredibly destructive Pebble Mine—a massive, open-pit gold and copper mine proposed at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed—that would devastate Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay. At a minimum, the Pebble Mine would destroy thousands of acres of wetlands and hundreds of miles of streams. If fully developed, the mine would produce more than 10 billion tons of mining waste that would need to be stored in perpetuity in the highly porous, seismically active headwaters of Bristol Bay. Because of its size, geochemistry, and location, Pebble Mine would risk the entire Bristol Bay region—its people, its salmon, and the multibillion-dollar economy it supports.

Bristol Bay is an American treasure, an economic engine, and foundational to the way of life for Alaska Natives. It is home to the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery, which generates $2.2 billion annually, supports 15,000 jobs, provides 57% of the world’s sockeye salmon, and sustains Indigenous communities. Salmon are the backbone of the Yup’ik, Dena’ina, and Alutiiq peoples, providing subsistence food, subsistence-based livelihoods, and the lifeblood of culture. 

Bird's eye view of marshes