By Michelle Werts

U.S. Capitol
Credit: ttarasiuk/Flickr

According to the old English proverb, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” While this phrase is normally used with the weather, here in D.C., “like a lion” applies to something else: lawmaking. Congress is in session, and this month is chockfull of hearings, meetings and advocacy days, which are keeping my policy colleagues very busy.

Last week, American Forests submitted comments on the International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy, but that was just the start.

This week:

  • Amanda’s in Vancouver, Washington, at the annual Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition policy meeting.
  • As Scott discussed in his post, the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition is having meetings on Capitol Hill, which our urban forests director Melinda will recap later this month in her regular blog post.
  • American Forests is submitting more comments on strategies and policies.
  • And all of this in the midst of one of our regular board meetings! Busy, busy, busy.

What are these new comments we’re submitting?

In 2009, Congress asked the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) to develop a national climate adaptation strategy that would address climate impacts on fish, wildlife, plants and ecosystems. To develop the strategy, the CEQ and DOI assembled a wide range of federal, state and tribal partners, as well as other interested organizations and parties. Under the lead of the co-chairs — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the New York Division of Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources — the National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy was drafted and opened for public comments.

Nez Perce National Historic Trail in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Montana
Along the Nez Perce National Historic Trail in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Montana. Credit: Roger Peterson/USDA Forest Service

Because forests’ position in the climate-change debate is unique — they are both impacted by and lessen the impacts of climate change — American Forests reviewed the proposed strategy and in our public comments addressed six specific issues, including recommending a more comprehensive approach to habitat conservation and a consideration of how different ecosystems work together and are interconnected. To read our complete comments on the Climate Adaptation Strategy, visit our Forests & Climate Public Policy page.

Later today, we’ll be submitting comments on FWS and NOAA’s Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase “Significant Portion of its Range” in the Endangered Species Act’s Definitions of “Endangered Species” and “Threatened Species.” What a mouthful, right? Curious what it’s about? Come back Monday for the lowdown.

So, if all of this policy work is our lion for the month of March, what’s our lamb? Cherry blossoms, of course. One of the true joys of a D.C. spring, peak bloom is just weeks away!