Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, (NREPA)

Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, (NREPA)

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      MAHB Admin

      The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) is a bill outdoor enthusiasts and naturalists might dream of. It was recently reintroduced to the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, as H.R.1755.

      NREPA would protect a world-class assemblage of profoundly beautiful ecosystems that run along the spine of the Continental Divide in the Northern Rockies. The region is a biological powerhouse that still supports a majority of its native species. Where else in the lower 48 can we dream of charismatic wolverines and lynx, or hear the boreal owl’s soft trill?

      NREPA was written by some of the nation’s leading scientists along with conservationists of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and the participation of residents and business leaders from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming.

      Please help inspire congress to pass this visionary plan by asking your Representatives in the House and Senate to cosponsor the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA).

      Take Action

      NREPA is a practical environmental choice that cost-effectively fulfills part of President Biden’s 30 X 30 Resolution goals. This 30 X 30 commitment will require a huge increase in protected areas and NREPA’s wildlands are of utmost ecological relevance. NREPA also supports the nation’s carbon-reduction goals by preserving old growth forest and large forest biomes that collect and hold carbon.

      By preserving the biological integrity of the Northern Rockies Bioregion, NREPA also contributes to the long-term sustainability of the region’s cultural and economic vitality, both of which are increasingly oriented towards outdoor recreation. It also includes the ecological restoration of more than a million acres of our public lands, providing a more traditional strategy for creating forest jobs in rural communities than the unregulated, tax-subsidized clearcuts do.

      Proactive conservation planning can protect ecosystems to better address wildlife habitat needs, and H.R.1755, (NREPA) provides the best legislation I’ve seen for a major American bioregion.

      In 1973 the Endangered Species Act was visionary. But it wasn’t developed to provide substantive protection for ecosystems and the habitats that species depend on. Numerous unintended implementation gaps exist between and within our federal agencies, so we struggle with a piece-meal approach that often results in the need for chronic management. Protecting the integrity of ecosystems with greater understanding of their complex dynamic, adaptive, and interdependent characteristics will work better in the long term.

      NREPA upgrades the protection of 23 million acres of our National Forests, and approximately 1,800 miles of rivers and streams by respectively granting them Wilderness, and Wild and Scenic River status. This will help ensure that these biological resources survive for future generations. Earth’s complex ecosystems are the very safety-net all people depend upon, but because most institutions are primarily focused on short-term human interests, their planning and vision can be narrow sighted. We need long-term protections in place to preserve intricate ecological processes.

      Moisture that falls on the flanks of Glacier’s Triple Divide Peak collects to flow oceanward in all directions. The immense watersheds NREPA would protect feed some of our most important rivers, supporting the migrations and spawning grounds of aquatic species including native salmon, steelhead, arctic grayling, white sturgeon, bull trout, and cutthroat trout.

      Large roadless areas of relevant habitat are required for wildlife to stay viable.
      Passing NREPA would restore severely degraded public lands by closing over 6,000 miles of unused logging roads that have been built into critical wildlife habitat. It also specifies federal lands as wildlife corridors to connect fragmented habitats. This conservation approach has gained wide-spread respect, as the corridors efficiently reconnect large mammal populations to maintain their genetic viability. All species benefit from the freedom to roam, be it overland to seek mates or, as in the face of climate change, upslope as far as possible, such as inquisitive mountain goats, bright-eyed pikas, energetic wolverines, and secretive boreal owls are doing. Nature is innately regenerative but our behavior is undermining its ability to adjust. NREPA would help improve the trend.

      The need for substantive ecosystem and biodiversity protection has been reflected in scientific and environmental literature for over 30 years. The U.S. can become an environmental leader by passing the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) to safeguard nature’s resilience in this iconic American bioregion.

      Please spread the word to get NREPA passed.

      “Nature doesn’t do bailouts.” Simon Lewis, The Guardian; March 2021

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