April 2, 2013

Saving Texas Bighorn Sheep

Steven addresses concerns about Texas bighorn sheep in light of exotic and invasive species introductions within the bighorn’s native range.

  • Bighorn sheep are what biologists call an “indicator species” – one whose presence, absence or abundance is reflective of a larger environmental trend.
  • After years of declining numbers resulting from unregulated hunting and disease, Texas bighorns have rebounded to their pre-settlement population levels.
  • Bighorns are threatened by the introduction of the exotic and invasive Aoudad sheep. Aoudad sheep compete with bighorns for habitat and risk transmitting viral and bacterial pathogens foreign to bighorn immune systems.
  • The greatest limiting factor in bighorn recovery, however, is disease transmission from domestic sheep and goats.
  • In order for Texas bighorn populations to remain robust, management practices must eliminate contact between bighorns and domestic sheep and goats and strictly manage Aoudad numbers.

Wild sheep populations in Texas may be recovering, but herds across the West continue to dwindle due to factors such as disease transmission and climate change.

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March 25, 2013

Speak up to Save Critical Grassland Habitat

The TRCP joins partners Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Ducks Unlimited and others in urging sportsmen across the nation to contact their House representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor the Protect Our Prairies act (H.R. 686).

This legislation, introduced by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), would reduce crop insurance assistance for the first four years for crops grown on native sod and certain grasslands converted to cropland.

Learn more about the Protect Our Prairies Act.

Reducing crop insurance assistance so it is proportionate with the production capability of this land, rather than insuring it at the same rate as land that has been farmed for years, could save taxpayers nearly $200 million over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate from the 112th Congress.

Importantly, this legislation does not prevent producers from making their own planting decisions.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Protect Our Prairies Act.

Call your representative today and ask him or her to co-sponsor Protect Our Prairies Act (H.R. 686) and defend grasslands for pheasants, quail and other wildlife.

New Hope for Native Grasslands

Iowa Barn
Photo by Scott Bauer.

There’s new hope that native grasslands—arguably the most threatened wildlife habitat in the nation – can be saved.  But the House of Representatives will have to follow the bipartisan lead of a couple of prairie state representatives to get that done for sportsmen.

The Protect Our Prairies Act recently introduced by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) would help protect the nation’s remaining native sod and grasslands by reducing federal crop insurance subsidies for the first four years those acres are farmed.

This is a new version of the “Sodsaver” concept that has been around for some time, with the aim of preventing native grasslands from being plowed for two important reasons: This habitat is critical for a wide range of upland birds, migratory waterfowl and numerous other species; and they are far less productive for crops than other lands.

Outdoor writer Bob Marshall explains why the need for Sodsaver has never been greater, and how the recent push for corn-based ethanol and soaring world commodity prices have led to a dramatic increase in conversion of grasslands to row crops.

Read the full story on the Field & Stream website.

March 20, 2013

Wednesday Win: Walleye

Photo courtesy Outdoor Nebraska.

This week’s Wednesday Win comes courtesy of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Watch out, there’s math involved!

Wild, female walleye will typically lay their eggs in a rocky area during the night, secreting upwards of 300,00 eggs. Although females produce eggs in abundant numbers, less that five percent of their young successfully hatch. If only five percent of the 300,000 eggs survive, how many walleye does that leave?

Send your answers to info@trcp.org or post a comment on the TRCP Blog by Friday to be entered to win.

March 17, 2013

Invasive Species in the Great Lakes

Did you know that one of the most serious threats to America’s outdoor heritage is invasive species? Nowhere is that threat more evident than in our own Great Lakes. Learn more.

  • Biologists and longtime sportsmen have seen firsthand the devastating effects of invasive species such as the sea lamprey eel, zebra mussels and Asian carp.
  • By wreaking havoc on equipment and on fishing and hunting, invasive species cost the American public $137 billion per year.
  • Hunters and anglers unintentionally spread invasive species from one body of water to another through boats, boots or other gear.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?

The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.

Learn More
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