Virginians will elect the entire Virginia General Assembly this year and local officials in some jurisdictions. It’s important to elect candidates who support conservation and the environment. Primary elections to elect the candidates for the Democratic Party in all jurisdictions and for the Republican Party in some jurisdictions will be held on June 11. Information on the election and candidates can be found on the website for each county and city.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is developing an energy and climate action plan and expects to invite assistance from our local organizations, as Board Chair Sharon Bulova wrote to ASNV, “to encourage community engagement and input . . . it is encouraging that the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia is willing to assist in the creation of the plan.” The schedule and next steps have not been announced.
On April 2, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board formed a joint task force to discuss ways to collaborate on initiatives related to climate and energy, called the Joint Environmental Task Force (JET). Members of both the Board of Supervisors and the School Board will serve on this committee.
The loggerhead shrike, or butcher bird, has seriously declined over the last half century, with current numbers estimated to be only a quarter of what they were in 1966. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is currently working to understand what is driving the decline.
Do you have a great idea for how to improve habitat for birds and other wildlife, but don’t have the funds to do it? Audubon Society of Northern Virginia can help your idea come true. We have budgeted $3,300 for conservation grants for this year, and applicants may apply for all or any part of the available funds.
On February 5, 2019 the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors met to consider whether to remove two proposed bike trails through Huntley Meadows Park in southeast Fairfax County from the County’s Comprehensive Plan and Bicycle Master Plan.
Last month, ASNV sent comments to Arlington County staff (and Board members) on a proposed Bicycle Element to the County’s Master Transportation Plan. ASNV forcefully opposed two proposed off-street bike trails that would endanger natural resources in Glencarlyn and Barcroft Parks, including Moses Ball Spring, the associated creek to Long Branch Creek, and the globally significant Magnolia Bog. ASNV also opposed widening or adding lighting to the W&OD and Four Mile Run trails in natural areas of Glencarlyn and Bluemont Parks.
Prince William County is reviewing its Comprehensive Plan this year. The Comprehensive Plan is vitally important for county planning of amenities such as parks and natural recreation areas. The county has far less parkland per resident than is called for by its own standards, a situation that will only get worse as population increases.
The loggerhead shrike, or butcher bird, has seriously declined over the last half century, with current numbers estimated to be only a quarter of what were in 1966. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) is currently working to understand what is driving the decline.
Fairfax County law enforcement and emergency management staff are drafting an operations manual for using drones in their work. ASNV is participating in the task force drafting the manual. Below is the schedule. ASNVers may wish to speak at some of the public meetings or submit comments.
ASNV submitted comments to the Arlington County Board in December on the final draft of Arlington County’s Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP), which will guide public-space decisions for the next 20 years. ASNV urged the Arlington County Board to consider making the PSMP more unambiguously reflect the need for preservation of natural resources in Arlington County and the need for expansion of natural areas for public benefit.
At the initiation of Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on November 20th authorized consideration of a comprehensive plan amendment to include natural landscaping at county facilities in the county’s Policy Plan.
The November 6th election brought a change in party leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 116th Congress. Many Washington observers predict that House committees will conduct more oversight of federal-agency actions.
ASNV is participating in a Fairfax County drone task force, called the Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Task Force, led by the Office of Emergency Management, which is reviewing practices for use of these systems and focusing on how to “effectively and safely implement a UAS program” in the county.
At the urging of ASNV, starting in 2005, and with a big push from Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck this year (13 years later!), Fairfax County staff are reviving and formalizing a county natural-landscaping plan for certain county properties. Kambiz Agazi, Fairfax County’s environmental coordinator, gave a presentation to supervisors in October.
On November 6, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and one U.S. Senator. Many observers contend that the outcome of this election could change the party composition and leadership in the House and Senate, including several Virginia House seats.
Would you like to help ASNV learn about priority environmental topics and discuss a coordinated approach to advancing policy in the upcoming Virginia State legislative session? In preparation for Virginia’s 2019 General Assembly, Virginia Conservation Network (VCN) and its partners, including ASNV, will convene for a preview of what’s in store for our natural landscapes and resources.
Alexandria's Environmental Policy Commission is making recommendations to the City Council in an update to the Environmental Action Plan. The 2030 update is being done in two phases. This first phase is for short-term actions recommended within five years to FY 2023.
Members of ASNV met last April with representatives of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter the Fairfax County Animal Shelter Advisory Board to discuss concerns about the impact of free-roaming cats on birds and other wildlife and about the shelter’s Trap, Neuter and Return program. At the conclusion of the meeting, animal shelter officials invited ASNV to comment and offer suggestions on how the subject is covered on the shelter’s new website.
Let our Virginia U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Representatives Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Barbara Comstock and Robert Wittman know that the proposed fiscal year 2019 Trump administration budget does not advance conservation.
National Audubon urges members to help defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of our nation’s oldest and most important wildlife conservation laws, especially to oppose any effort that undermines the ability to address what’s called “incidental take” of birds under the MBTA.
Following up on our March 18 conservation advocacy workshop, the ASNV Advocacy Committee will meet on April 24, 7 p.m., at the Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22203 (small conference room). Directions here.
National Audubon urges members to contact Members of Congress and encourage them “to uphold and support America’s conservation programs.” Visit Action Audubon. National Audubon is also fighting efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Info here.
Most national environmental groups, including the National Audubon Society, believe that the current Congress and the Trump Administration will try to weaken many current federal environmental policies.
On November 8, all incumbent Northern Virginia U.S. representatives were re-elected: Cong. Don Beyer (D-8); Cong. Gerry Connolly (D-11); Cong. Barbara Comstock, (R-10); and Cong. Rob Wittman (R-1). Virginia’s U.S. Senators, Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) were not up for re-election in 2016.
Now is the time to urge your candidates to support conservation. In addition to electing a U.S. president and vice president this year, Virginians will elect 11 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) this year is an opportune time for advocates to urge elected officials and candidates to provide stronger support, especially more funding, for our 413 national park sites.
Two dozen national parks no longer sell water in plastic bottles. Instead, they sell reusable bottles and have installed water refill stations. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure to prohibit the NPS Director from approving “a request by a park superintendent to eliminate the sale in national parks of water in disposable, recyclable plastic bottles.”
Millions of bird die every year after colliding with buildings, especially windows. National Audubon urges all Auduboners to encourage their members of Congress to support H.R. 2280, the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act. Go here to learn the details.
Thanks to North America’s largest land conservation project in history — an effort in which Audubon played a leading and integral role — the Greater Sage-Grouse will not require federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Pope Francis will address Congress on September 24 and plans to discuss his recent climate-change encyclical Laudato Si': On Care for our Common Home. A People's Rally for Climate Justice is planned for that morning at 7:30 AM on the National Mall.