Ducks Unlimited’s governmental affairs staff sit down to discuss the future of the Farm Bill with Rep. Kristi Noem (SD) and Rep. Tim Walz (MN). Watch the video below to find out where conservation, commerce and our sporting trations fit in.
Mapping Project Brings on-the-Ground Results for Sportsmen
Involving the American sportsman in issues that affect our hunting and fishing heritage is fundamental to maintaining our outdoor heritage. Here at the TRCP we try and ensure sportsman involvement occurs at a level where impacts and results tend to be clear and immediate. To this end, the TRCP has developed a state-specific approach to capture input from local hunters and anglers called the Sportsmen Values Mapping Project.
As part of the project, TRCP staff members meet with sporting groups, conservation organizations and rod and gun clubs to identify “bread and butter” hunting and fishing areas in various states. You might wonder why anyone would reveal a favorite honey. When combined with critical habitat maps already in use by federal and state agencies, this information provides a powerful tool for politicians and decision-makers to use in public lands management.
The project’s goal is ensuring sportsmen are represented in management decisions by highlighting the exact areas they want to see managed for the continued and future use of hunting and fishing.
The success of the mapping project has earned recognition both at home and abroad and is largely held as a case study on how sportsmen can participate in land management and public policy. Recently, TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development Director Ed Arnett gave a presentation about the project at the Conference on Wind Power and Environmental Impacts. The conference, held in Stockholm, Sweden, was attended by more than 300 people from at least 30 countries.
During the presentation, Arnett highlighted the project as tool for wind energy developers and decision-makers to use in identifying key, high-use areas warranting special conservation strategies and in avoiding conflict with sportsmen and other stakeholders. As presented, the mapping project provides valuable and previously unavailable data that will aid in balancing energy development with the needs of fish, wildlife and sportsmen.
As Arnett returns from the international conference, he continues to ensure that decision-makers balance the needs of fish, wildlife and sportsmen with the impacts of land-use management decisions across all economic sectors to ensure a strong economy into the future. The TRCP Sportsmen Values Mapping Project is critically important to achieving that balance.
The project is expected to grow in the coming years. In Wyoming, Western Outreach Director Neil Thagard will be returning to those communities that participated in the project to present results and develop opportunities for place-based, grassroots campaigns to protect areas important to sportsmen. The TRCP plans to expand the mapping project to more western states in the near future.
The TRCP has a simple mission. We strive to guarantee you a place to hunt and fish. Our work falls into three main categories:
strengthening laws, policies and practices affecting fish and wildlife conservation;
leading partnerships that provide a strong sportsmen’s voice in the decision-making process;
building consensus in the conservation community to advance policy solutions.
While our mission sounds simple, we often deal with complex issues. Laws, policies and decision making – the “insider baseball” that takes place on Capitol Hill can be hard for the average person to understand.
In an effort to put our work in tangible and applicable terms, we developed a “cheat sheet” for the everyday sportsman interested in conservation policy. The 2013 Sportsmen’s Conservation Priorities outlines the main areas where we at the TRCP will be focusing our work on behalf of hunters and anglers in 2013.
We’ll be hosting a live chat on Tuesday, March 5, to give you an opportunity to ask questions about the 2013 Sportsmen’s Conservation Priorities. Expect more information and a link to the video conference later this week. In the meantime, take a look and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Leadership, tenacity and foresight are three traits of Theodore Roosevelt’s that I most admire. T.R. embodied a certain largeness of character that is, of course, not unusual for many in the political arena. But while the man certainly could talk the talk, here is what set him apart: He got things done.
Bully pulpit or no, exceptional leaders know what it takes to make a tangible and positive impact on the nation and its people. A lot has changed since the days of Roosevelt, but I still believe great things can be accomplished in Washington, D.C., and sportsmen must play a leading role.
I share these priorities with you in the hopes that you’ll be willing to step into the arena when the time comes. And the time will come soon.
What’s more, I hope that you will have the tenacity to carry the discussion about conservation policy into your community. I hope you will take leadership and talk about these issues at your local hunt club or shooting range. Consider hosting a roundtable with friends – those you agree with and those you disagree with – to discuss issues of importance for hunters and anglers. True change requires the foresight to work together and map out the areas in which sportsmen hope to progress in 2013.
A couple moments from the inauguration festivities stuck in my mind. The president’s daughters snapping photos with their phones was one. Vice President Joe Biden’s moving tribute to America’s armed forces was another. But among all the pomp and circumstance, special guests and the Washington, D.C., traditions, the most exciting moment for me was President Obama’s vow to address the impacts of climate change.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” Obama said. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.”
Never before has a president taken such a public stand on climate change. I speak in front of rod and gun clubs across the West and know how tough it can be to talk to people about climate change. It is a point of contention for many, and I commend the president for taking a stance on this hot-button issue in front of the entire nation.
Contentious or not, climate change is real, and it already is affecting our natural resources, fish and wildlife and outdoor opportunities. At the TRCP, we aim to educate sportsmen about the effects of climate change and ensure sportsmen involvement in mitigation efforts.
Rather than debating specific points of air temperature or carbon dioxide data, the TRCP focuses on the cascading effects of a changing climate in the biological world, including impacts to species of fish and game most important to sportsmen. We highlight on-the-ground projects that help fish and wildlife adapt to a changing environment.
We stand ready to work with the administration and members of the sportsman-conservation community to plan for the effects of climate change and rethink the habits that got us here in the first place.