5 Determined Organizations Conserving Vital Habitats

North America is home to a wealth of different species; unfortunately, many of these creatures are threatened by pollution, climate change, and other dangers to the environment. Luckily, there are groups that are finding ways to prevent this destruction before it is too late. In no particular order, here are some nonprofits and agencies working to preserve the places wild animals call home.

At #1 is the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a government-backed agency that acts as a bridge between corporations, Washington, and nonprofits, with much of its funding originating from court orders, legal settlements, regulatory permits, and licenses. NFWF combines these funds with money from corporate partners, and disburses them to conservation groups and projects. For instance, Bat Conservation International received a grant to combat white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease affecting bats.

Another NFWF project involves removing discarded fishing gear that, left underwater, can harm fish and ecosystems. The agency distributes money to collect this debris on both coasts. Inland, there is a program that works to ensure that fewer pronghorns, elk, and mule deer get killed when their migration corridors intersect with roads, fences, and potentially hazardous areas like farms. Grant recipients, such as the Colorado Department of Transportation, have found solutions like installing bridges and tunnels to provide the animals with safe passage.

Coming in at #2 is the Connecticut Audubon Society, which helps preserve natural areas in the Constitution State, with a focus on the homes of avian populations. The group's primary action is to maintain nature preserves and manage sanctuaries where birds can thrive in safety. An emphasis is placed on educating the public about ways to respect and build up the numbers of these creatures; for instance, by setting up food plots.

In addition, the Society runs guided bird-watching walks and other educational programs, conducts political advocacy, provides classes for youth, and has an EcoTravel office in Essex that helps arrange birding tours around the state and globally. The group also reports on avian-related updates in the state and surrounding areas, such as on the Long Island Sound.

Next, at #3, is the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, a nonprofit that protects and restores important estuaries. MCBP is based in Berlin, Maryland, and largely focuses its efforts on five local bays. The group was created by the Environmental Protection Agency, and works with municipalities, businesses, volunteers, and nonprofits to find ways to preserve crucial watersheds.

One example of the places MCBP manages is the Holly Grove Swamp Area, a flooded forest that brings clean water to the bays while providing an environment for muskrats and various birds and reptiles. The group also runs Lewis Road Kayak Launch, which allows people to enjoy and appreciate the value of this wilderness. Other projects include the Showell Property, which the nonprofit has partially converted into wetlands, and the site of the former Bishopville Dam, where fish monitoring is conducted.

Our #4 is America's Salmon Forest. This group focuses its efforts on a single bloc of public lands in Southeast Alaska: the Tongass National Forest. With the goal of safeguarding salmon and trout waters, ASF advocates on issues like mitigating the negative effects of mining in British Columbia. Addressing mine pollution upstream from Tongass is just one example of how this coalition of anglers, business owners, and hunters helps maintain the populations of fish and other wildlife.

One of the most pressing threats the group has addressed has been an exemption to the Roadless Rule, a federal policy that forbids the construction of new transportation infrastructure on certain public lands. Believing the push to build roads in the Tongass is coming from the lumber industry, the coalition has driven petitions targeting key decision-makers and various public education initiatives. Its aim is to emphasize the value that unspoiled wilderness holds for fishing, hunting, science, and recreation.

Finally, #5 on the list is Wild Steelheaders United. Operating across the Pacific states, this nonprofit seeks to influence policymakers to adopt positions that take into account the welfare of various species of salmon and trout. WSU mobilizes people interested in the health of fish populations to get involved in policy issues via a strategy of education, progress updates, and reminders of the importance of preserving wilderness and wildlife. The group emphasizes the necessity of balancing the needs of modern society with environmental sustainability.

WSU intervenes in various ways, including pushing for regulations that improve wild runs of Chinook and steelhead in Idaho, and leading efforts to restore spawning and rearing passages in the coastal rivers of California. The group opposed the Potter Valley Project on the upper Eel River because it would have blocked steelhead and salmon from their natural environments, and helped improve access to the Mill Creek. WSU also came out against a proposed fracked gas pipeline that would have negatively impacted the watershed in Klamath County, Oregon.