Author Archive: Amanda Tai


Fish and Wildlife: Beyond the Five-Year Plan

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe testified before a Senate Environment and Public Works panel yesterday, urging lawmakers to renew the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The bill was enacted in 1989 to provide administrative support for a wetlands conservation and habitat restoration grant program, but that funding is scheduled to run […]

Protecting Forests: On the Ground and in Congress

This week, Congress is busy with hearings and debate on a number of land-use bills, quite a few of which impact our forests. Yesterday, I attended a House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing to discuss the Land Acquisition to Cut National Debt Act (or LAND Act). Though cutting the national debt is a topic that concerns […]

What to Expect in an Election Year

Conventional D.C. wisdom suggests that not much lawmaking gets done during an election year. Congressional actions leading up to the November election are being viewed through a highly politicized lens, which makes reaching agreement on legislation practically impossible. While Congress may be too cautious to move forward on any legislative pieces, we’ll still see some action […]

The Future of the Forest Service

You may have noticed that I bring up the USDA Forest Service Planning Rule in quite a few of my blog posts. The reason it comes up so often is that this single piece of legislation has a significant impact on every forest managed by the agency. Following last month’s publication of the Planning Rule’s […]

Spring: An Appropriate Time to Be in D.C.

Yesterday marked the first day of spring, a time of new life and new beginnings. In D.C., spring means the city comes back to life. I’ve witnessed it for the past two years, and it happens like clockwork. The warm weather arrives, and people become more pleasant (it’s true) and start spending more time outside. […]

Getting to the Root of Water Quality

Did you know that more than 50 percent of our freshwater supply originates from forests? Trees act as a natural filter as rain lands and passes through the ground into underground aquifers. Last week, I learned a lot about watershed health at the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC) annual policy meeting in Vancouver, Washington. […]

Going Rural

This week, I’ve travelled across the country to Vancouver, Washington, to attend the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC) annual policy meeting. This will be my third year attending this meeting, and I always seem to leave feeling more connected to the work that I do. Working in Washington, D.C., I don’t often get the […]

Up to the Task

March is just around the corner, and for many college students, that means spring break. The first thing that may come to mind is a beach in the Caribbean or backpacking in Europe, but there are plenty of domestic, outdoor vacation destinations that can be just as exciting. Why not go hiking in one of […]

Sharing Is Caring

Children are taught that sharing is a good thing, but what if the thing you’re sharing is really complex and you’re trying to share it with a lot of people? That’s what the federal budget feels like to me. Since President Obama released the fiscal year 2013 budget last week, Capitol Hill has been abuzz […]

Budgeting for the Environment

President Obama released the Fiscal Year 2013 budget on Monday. American Forests has been working on budget recommendations as part of a Green Budget coalition. The Green Budget is a report that highlights the environmental and conservation communities’ Fiscal Year 2013 national funding priorities, such as: wildlife habitat restoration, clean energy investment. It’s prepared annually by […]