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Policy Plate BLOG

Your daily serving of food and farm policy.

Fragile Land Is Disappearing

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

EWG’s Soren Rundquist blogs on the newly released report, Going, Going, Gone!

Rundquist writes:

With interactive maps from the EWG’s report Going Going Gone!, you can find the “hot spots” where wetlands and other fragile lands are being torn up for crops and wildlife habitat is being destroyed.

Using satellite data, EWG researchers have discovered that 7.2 million acres of wetlands and fragile land have gone under the plow.  Among the valuable wildlife habitat threatened by spreading row-crop agriculture is the world-famous Prairie Pothole Region, an oasis for bird breeding and migration.  

EWG’s maps show “hot spot” counties where at least 2,500 acres of wetlands or highly erodible land have been plowed up for agriculture.

The county-by-county maps track acres converted to cropland, the crops now grown on them and the percentage of existing wetland habitat and fragile land affected. 

See the interactive map.

Table Scraps:

The Star Tribune writes on the direct effect crop insurance policies have on wetland loss, especially in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

The Des Moines Register uses data from EWG’s new report to shine a light on the relationship between over-subsidized crop insurance policies and the conversion of vulnerable lands to grow row crops.

Tweet of the Day:

@USDA_NRCS Thousands of #farmers in 640 small watersheds use #conservation practices to improve #water quality. 

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