April 5, 2019
Editor’s note : Each story in this edition of the McGraw Report has a direct correlation to programs of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and its Center for Conservation Leadership. We have linked additional information about those McGraw programs in this report. As you enjoy the stories, please take pride in the way your McGraw is at the forefront of conservation innovation in North America.
Once Reviled,
the Coyote is Gaining Fans
By David Montero/Los Angeles Times
McGraw Photo
It’s a small speck of brown moving across a seemingly endless valley of snow. The valley is so silent and so frigid, it feels as if the slightest sound could crack the sky.

Franz Camenzind is unbothered by the cold. He lines up his spotting scope atop a tripod and moves it slowly, left to right. He stops, focuses. A smile creeps beneath his beard.

A trio of coyotes is trotting around the carcass of a dead elk. Ravens flit around, taking nibbles. One coyote dives in and pulls at the meat. The elk around them barely even glance over.

“Coyotes are incredible,” the biologist says. “They’re smart, cunning and incredibly adaptive. I admire them.”

Watch McGraw’s Dr. Stan Gehrt’s latest presentation of McGraw’s coyote
research here .

Part 2 and Part 3 .
What Happened to CRP in the
New Farm Bill
By Alex Maggos/TRCP
Photo by Jordan Nielsen/flickr
The Conservation Reserve Program helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to voluntarily conserve environmentally sensitive land. Thanks to the wildlife habitat benefits of the program, CRP is a household name with landowners and sportsmen in some parts of the country. (At least as much as any of the Farm Bill conservation program acronyms can be.)

Introduced in the 1985 Farm Bill, CRP once supported 37 million acres devoted to conserving soil, water, and wildlife habitat. But Congress reduced the size of the program to just 24 million acres in the 2014 Farm Bill, which forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture to turn down thousands of CRP applications with millions of potential acres for conservation.

The hunting and fishing community pushed long and hard for a major increase to CRP acres in the new Farm Bill. Here’s what happened.

Read about McGraw’s impact on the Farm Bill here .
the Mighty Monarch
By Jessica Leigh Hester/Atlas Obscura
McGraw Photo
In the Montane Forest of central Mexico, the butterflies are everywhere. At the right time of year, they twirl in the air like scraps of confetti. The sound of millions of pairs of wings  reminds some listeners  of the patter of rain. They come to roost on the feathery  oyamel or sacred fir trees , turning green boughs black and orange, and making them sag toward the ground. Sometimes the butterflies cluster on the floor of the forest, where they nectar on colorful flowers. They gather there in death, too.

By the time the monarch butterflies have completed their continent-spanning migration at El Rosario butterfly sanctuary, part of Mexico’s  Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve , the weary travelers have often journeyed several thousand miles, from the Eastern United States and Canada. Each autumn,  the reserve  welcomes hundreds of millions of them, plus the human visitors who come to marvel at the spectacle. The butterflies will spend the winter there before returning north. It takes several generations for them to make the round trip: Their  great-great-grandchildren are the ones who will make it back to this same spot the following year,  sometimes even settling in the same trees .
Since the 1990s, researchers at Monarch Watch, a project out of the University of Kansas, have doled out tiny stickers—each marked with an email address, phone number, and unique identification code—and asked citizen scientists and other volunteers to adhere them to the discal cell on butterflies’ wings. 

McGraw’s annual Monarch Butterfly Event is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2019. 
Stay tuned for more information!
Louisiana’s Coast is Fading Fast
By Elizabeth Kolbert/The New Yorker
Photo by JournoJen/flickr
Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish has the distinction—a dubious one, at best—of being among the fastest-disappearing places on Earth. Everyone who lives in the parish—and fewer and fewer people do—can point to some stretch of water that used to have a house or a hunting camp on it. This is true even of teen-agers. A few years ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially retired thirty-one Plaquemines place-names, including Bay Jacquin and Dry Cypress Bayou, because there was no there there anymore.

And what’s happening to Plaquemines is happening all along the coast. Since the days of Huey Long, Louisiana has shrunk by more than two thousand square miles. If Delaware or Rhode Island had lost that much territory, the U.S. would have only forty-nine states. Every hour and a half, Louisiana sheds another football field’s worth of land. Every few minutes, it drops a tennis court’s worth. On maps, the state may still resemble a boot. Really, though, the bottom of the boot is in tatters, missing not just a sole but also its heel and a good part of its instep.

Watch how McGraw brought together wetland scientists to discuss erosion here .
Decision Endangers Striped Bass Food Supply
By Kristyn Brady/TRCP
Photo by Chesapeake Bay Program/flickr
The Marine Stewardship Council, a private international institution, has determined it will grant a certification of sustainability to Omega Protein Corporation for its U.S. Atlantic menhaden purse-seining operations, despite the fact that the industrial harvest of these important forage fish depletes the east coast’s striped bass population.

Menhaden are small, oily baitfish that form the base of the Atlantic food chain, supporting every marine sportfish from stripers and bluefish to tarpon and sharks. As filter feeders, they also benefit water quality in places like the Chesapeake Bay.

Reduction fishing—where menhaden are caught in giant nets and then “reduced” for meal, fish food, and other products—was once common on the east coast, but it is now banned in every state except Virginia because of the destructive nature of the fishery. Today, a single company, Omega Protein, accounts for 80 percent of the coastwide catch of menhaden, and this level of harvest  could be responsible for as much as a 30-percent reduction in striped bass , the nation’s largest marine recreational fishery.

Read the McGraw Center for Conservation Leadership report on the value of the recreational striped bass fishery here .
“There is a way to do it — better find it.”

-Max McGraw
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