Skip to comments.The Nature Conservancy Applauds President...Virginia Wildlife Refuge(Are Pigs FLYING??)
Posted on 02/10/2006 9:05:21 AM PST by GreenFreeper
Administration seeks $2.27 million for Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge
NASSAWADOX, Va. The Nature Conservancy today applauded President Bushs request to fund the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge with $2.27 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Fiscal Year 2007.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge and much of the surrounding area in southern Northampton County, are widely recognized as globally important habitat for millions of migratory birds. The Nature Conservancy works with the refuge staff, state agencies and private landowners on the Eastern Shore to protect these vital natural areas for birds and other wildlife.
This funding would help ensure that Virginias critical wildlife habitat and water quality on the Eastern Shore will continue to be protected, said Michael Lipford, Virginia executive director of The Nature Conservancy. The more we save these habitats, the better our chances of protecting our coastal communities, tourism industry and productive fisheries the resources that make the shore and Chesapeake Bay so special.
Along with applauding the Bush administration for including funding for Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge in its budget, Lipford also commended Sen. John Warner and Sen. George Allen for their longtime support of the refuge. Lipford also thanked Rep. Thelma Drake, the local congresswoman, and Rep. Jim Moran, who sits on the Interior subcommittee of House Appropriations, for supporting the expansion of one of Virginias ecological gems. Lipford also praised Northamptons elected officials for their consistent endorsement of the refuge.
Warner said, I have been impressed by the efforts of The Nature Conservancy and local officials to expand and preserve the sensitive lands of the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge. We made an important step in land acquisition with the funding provided this year, and Im prepared to continue these efforts for the full expansion of the refuge. The Eastern Shore Refuge is a beautiful place and is critical to sustaining migratory birds along the Atlantic Flyway.
The preservation of our beautiful Virginia wetlands and the protection of the wildlife that live there is a vital part of our jobs as citizens and stewards of our great Commonwealth, said Allen. It is our responsibility to invest properly in these natural resources and to make sure that they are available for future generations to enjoy. I am pleased that President Bush has included funding in the budget for these naturally sensitive and delicate portions of the Eastern Shore.
Im glad to see that funding was provided in the Presidents budget for the Eastern Shore Refuge, said Moran. We face a battle in the House to appropriate this money, and I look forward to working with The Nature Conservancy on that effort.
The Presidents budget reflects a commitment to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuges mission of providing a critical habitat for migratory birds, said Drake. The Refuge embodies Virginias unique natural heritage and this funding will ensure that it will continue to be enjoyed by future generations.
This week, the Conservancy is conducting a habitat restoration project on nearby property it purchased in May 2005 from Eastern Shore farmers Thomas H. Dixon and Russell R. Dixon. This land is particularly significant because it lies less than a quarter of a mile north of the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. A North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, awarded to the Conservancy last year, is funding the restoration.
Established by Congress in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is one of the nations most successful conservation programs. It is the principal source of federal funding for additions to national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other public lands.
The LWCF has protected some of Americas greatest natural treasures, including the Everglades, Great Sands Dunes and Hawaii Volcanoes national parks.
The Bush Administrations LWCF request is part of the Presidents budget request for the Department of the Interior and US Forest Service.
The total Fiscal Year 2007 LWCF budget request totals $85 million, the lowest level in many years. As recently as Fiscal Year 2002, Congress appropriated $446 million to acquire important additions to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management areas.
We are hopeful that Congress will restore funds to LWCF, one of the federal governments most successful land protection programs, said Jimmie Powell, director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy. Numerous key additions to our countrys heritage of protected areas will only be protected if Congress increases funding for this program.
Through its Virginia Coast Reserve program, the Conservancy has protected more than 40,000 acres on the Eastern Shore since 1969.
The Virginia Coast Reserves great ecological and cultural significance has been recognized through the following designations: United Nations International Man and the Biosphere Reserve, U.S. Department of the Interior National Natural Landmark, National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research Site and Western Hemisphere International Shorebird Reserve Network Site.
Pigs flying? No, but they are rioting over cartoons of their Prophet..........
FReepmail me to be added or removed to the ECO-PING list!
Had to shorten original title but the TNC giving props to Bush? I never thought I'd see the day.
Wonder how many executive mansions they will build there?
Didn't they get the memo? All environmental disasters are Bush's fault.
Don't think you can build on Wildlife Refuge property. The mansions will have to go outside the boundary.
No, do you have a link for me?
In a three-part series, Washington Post Staff Writers Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway detailed questionable practices at the worlds richest environmental group like the following:
- Acquiring raw land, attaching development restrictions, then reselling the properties to supporters at greatly reduced prices.
- Selling ecologically sensitive land at reduced prices to the organization's trustees for use as home sites.
- Conducting land deals that coincide with charitable contributions to the Conservancy from the buyers, who then benefit from significant tax breaks.
- Drilling for oil under the breeding ground of endangered species.
- Buying land from corporations whose executives sat on the nonprofit's governing board.
- Accepting cash payments for roughly the amount of a discount that is then written off the buyers' federal income taxes.
Ok that Freedom 21 web site has links that work to bring up the Post articles. Loads of info there.
Great, Thank you!
OYSTER, Va. With great difficulty, the Nature Conservancy five years ago hoisted an abandoned U.S. Coast Guard building onto a dolly, slipped it onto a barge and shipped it six miles to this little town on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
For $3 million, the Cobb Island Station was then converted into a rustic 12-room inn intended to anchor a high-end tourism venture. The inn was part of a collection of for-profit ventures the Conservancy launched here in the 1990s to convince the dwindling local population that small business could be profitable and preservation-friendly.
Now, the Conservancy has determined the project was a waste of money. The restored inn is shuttered and for sale.
One by one, the other Conservancy-backed business ventures at the group's 45,000-acre Virginia Coast Reserve failed. In October, auditors tallied the cost: millions in losses and a slew of failed companies. They also found that the project which envisioned a sweet-potato-chip company, an oyster and clam operation, even a real-estate development was beset by incoherent planning.
The subject headings in an independent report commissioned by the Ford Foundation, one of the project's financial backers, list succinct reasons for what went wrong: "flawed concept," "flawed business plan," "flawed execution."
The reserve's financial mess led to the resignation of its longtime director and the reassignment of the Conservancy's one-time acting president, W. William Weeks, the project's primary promoter. A Conservancy audit found that despite the reserve's $53 million in assets and multimillion-dollar budget, it had "not traditionally employed a person to focus explicitly on its finances." The assessment charged that in pursuing expensive real estate, managers had lost sight of ecological goals.
In addition to tourism, the Conservancy had planned to use the Virginia reserve for "eco-friendly" seaside farms and waterfront homes. But it now believes liquidating the business is the only solution. It has put most of its Eastern Shore holdings 15,000 acres of seaside farms on the market.
In a 1997 book called "Beyond the Ark," Weeks argued the best way to conserve land was to persuade local communities to stop selling forests and farms to subdivision builders and instead choose less-intrusive development.
At Weeks' suggestion, the Conservancy in 1995 established the Center for Compatible Economic Development, with an annual budget of $1.5 million and total autonomy. It launched more than 30 ventures nationwide with seed money tens of millions of dollars provided by Conservancy donors and foundations. Some of the businesses were for-profit, others were initially tax-exempt but expected to become self-sufficient.
In Virginia, the center set up its flagship operation near the reserve, 14 barrier islands owned by the Conservancy. The center launched the for-profit Virginia Eastern Shore Corp. as a holding company for as many as 15 enterprises. Investors included the Ford Foundation.
In mid-1999, Eastern Shore Corp. suddenly went belly up. Its collapse set off alarms at the Conservancy's headquarters in Arlington, Va. The Ford Foundation commissioned an independent inquiry in late 2000.
Parts of that report document how the Eastern Shore enterprise burned through 86 percent of its initial capital over the first two years before collapsing in "a sea of red ink" in August 1999.
Instead of aiding farmers, artisans and business people, Eastern Shore Corp. had micromanaged everything. "In doing so, it became more of an intruder than a catalyst to local action," the report said.
The Conservancy's own assessment noted that too much money was tied up in properties of no ecological import.
Ruminating on the Eastern Shore experience, Conservancy President Steven McCormick recently expressed doubts about the organization's ability to handle commercial ventures.
"We're a nonprofit organization," he told The Post. "We don't tend to think like a business. ... We've learned from experiments that it's real hard."
I hate to hear it. I thought Nature Conservancy was one of the few environmental groups still worth supporting. So many of the other ones have gone whacko.
They are one of the most corrupt.
They are definetly one of the better groups as land preservation is a primary goal. It's not a cover group for some communist agenda. One of the problems with any national group that has local chapters is that it's easy to hijack to further another agenda. Really I find the best groups are the purely local groups though they are often limited by what they can do by budget. Really, from what I have read, my opinion of them hasn't changed all the much (though I haven't gotten through all the article FOG passed on).
Try www.rangemagazine.com. They have run a number of stories on TNC. I will try to find the edition that had it, but I think it has been a year or more.
"..."TNC giving props to Bush? I never thought I'd see the day. Winds of change. GWB probably as many would like to see adequate funding for worthwhile conservation projects. I think he really listens to people on issues dealing with the environment. He seemed geniune in his forrest thining talks, to help prevent forest fires just to name one thing.
TNC is nothing but a real estate company that cloaked itself as a preservation organization. TNC has engaged in extortion in order to buy property, especially from elderly people, and then flipped it to the federal government for huge profits.
In addition, TNC destroys the local tax base through buying select property and then paying next to nothing in property taxes. Then the tax burden falls on local property owners.
TNC needs to see its non-profit status taken away. Several states were looking at taxing the TNC as a for-profit real estate company and hitting them hard with various state taxes and regulations that everyone else is subject to.