Kristyn Brady

January 5, 2016

AUTHORITIES SHOULD HOLD EXTREMISTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR SEIZURE OF PUBLIC LAND

News for Immediate Release

Jan. 05, 2016

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

Eight major hunting, fishing, and conservation groups are condemning the extremist takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the last several days, as reported by numerous news outlets, a headquarters facility at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon has been occupied by an armed group of extremists from outside the state. This ongoing occupation represents a seizure of public land that American hunters and anglers find unacceptable.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and seven major sportsmen’s groups—the Wildlife Management Institute, Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Public Lands Foundation, Berkley Conservation Institute, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, and Dallas Safari Club—are united in condemning these unlawful actions and have issued the following statement:

“Many citizens of the West—sportsmen and women included—take issue with some public land management decisions, but there is a legitimate process, well-established by law, to provide significant opportunity for public input and influence on these decisions. When an extreme minority uses lawlessness and threats of violence to occupy public land, it threatens the rights of many for the benefit of very few—a profoundly un-American course of action.

We want to thank refuge employees, public land management employees, and law enforcement personnel for their dedicated service during this incident, and we’d urge authorities to uphold law and order by bringing a peaceful resolution to the occupation and then by bringing these armed extremists to justice.”

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds. The refuge provides essential habitat for more than half of the Pacific flyway’s migratory waterfowl, as well as sandhill cranes, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and native redband trout. It is typically open to hunting and angling—but not today.

More than 23,000 hunters and anglers have signed a petition opposing the seizure of America’s public lands.

Help protect public lands and Roosevelt’s legacy—learn more at sportsmensaccess.org.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

Kristyn Brady

AUTHORITIES SHOULD HOLD EXTREMISTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR SEIZURE OF PUBLIC LAND

News for Immediate Release

Jan. 05, 2016

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

Eight major hunting, fishing, and conservation groups are condemning the extremist takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the last several days, as reported by numerous news outlets, a headquarters facility at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon has been occupied by an armed group of extremists from outside the state. This ongoing occupation represents a seizure of public land that American hunters and anglers find unacceptable.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and seven major sportsmen’s groups—the Wildlife Management Institute, Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Public Lands Foundation, Berkley Conservation Institute, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, and Dallas Safari Club—are united in condemning these unlawful actions and have issued the following statement:

“Many citizens of the West—sportsmen and women included—take issue with some public land management decisions, but there is a legitimate process, well-established by law, to provide significant opportunity for public input and influence on these decisions. When an extreme minority uses lawlessness and threats of violence to occupy public land, it threatens the rights of many for the benefit of very few—a profoundly un-American course of action.

We want to thank refuge employees, public land management employees, and law enforcement personnel for their dedicated service during this incident, and we’d urge authorities to uphold law and order by bringing a peaceful resolution to the occupation and then by bringing these armed extremists to justice.”

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds. The refuge provides essential habitat for more than half of the Pacific flyway’s migratory waterfowl, as well as sandhill cranes, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and native redband trout. It is typically open to hunting and angling—but not today.

More than 23,000 hunters and anglers have signed a petition opposing the seizure of America’s public lands.

Help protect public lands and Roosevelt’s legacy—learn more at sportsmensaccess.org.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

Kristyn Brady

December 16, 2015

ARIZONA’S PIMA COUNTY OPPOSES TRANSFER OF NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS TO THE STATE

News for Immediate Release

Dec. 16, 2015

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

Board of Supervisors supports sportsmen’s access and local economies over short-term economic gain

TUCSON, Ariz. – Yesterday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing any effort to transfer national public lands to the state of Arizona or local governments. The vote was held amid efforts by an Arizona State Legislature committee to examine processes to transfer, manage, and dispose of public lands within the state of Arizona.

The resolution recognizes the importance of public lands for:

–  Wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, wildlife-watching, horseback riding, bicycling, and more.
–  Meeting the objectives of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to maintain a network of interconnected lands where native habitat and natural corridors remain protected.
–  Attracting tourists and employing hundreds of county residents, who contribute in many positive ways to our community and spend their wages at local businesses.

The resolution also recognizes that the state does not have the financial capability to responsibly manage public lands—and sportsmen’s groups agree. “While federal land management certainly isn’t perfect, transferring these public lands to the state is not a viable solution, especially considering that the vast majority of Arizona sportsmen and women depend on public lands for hunting and fishing,” said John Hamill, the Arizona Field Representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Arizona simply doesn’t have the funds to maintain roads and recreation facilities, prevent and fight wildfires, restore damaged wildlife habitat, and enforce laws or prevent abuses. Ultimately, the state would be left with no choice other than to sell these lands, which, once privatized, would be off-limits to hunters and anglers forever.”

“I don’t always agree with federal policies and processes, but the Forest Service and BLM are generally good stewards and work toward conservation that’s good for Arizonans who depend on public lands for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation,” said Supervisor Ray Carroll (R-District 4), who cast his vote on the resolution yesterday. “The state is in a tough financial situation and would probably use or sell these lands to fill critical budget gaps.”

“Pima County appreciates the importance of federal public lands to the citizens of our state,” said Carolyn Campbell, executive director of the Coalition of Sonoran Desert Protection. “In 2012, voters in Pima County and throughout Arizona overwhelmingly rejected the idea of transferring ownership of public lands to the state by a two-to-one margin. The Board recognizes this fact and believes that this latest attempt to circumvent the loud voice of public opinion is a bad idea.”

A growing number of Western counties in states like Wyoming and Colorado have recently taken formal positions to oppose the sale or transfer of national public lands. To learn more about the land transfer movement across the country, visit sportsmensaccess.org.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

Kristyn Brady

CONGRESS BOOSTS CONSERVATION FUNDING, COMMITS TO HABITAT AND ACCESS PROGRAMS IN END-OF-YEAR SPENDING

News for Immediate Release

Dec. 16, 2015

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

Funding for Environment and Interior is up, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is in, but a much-needed fix for fire borrowing is out

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Overnight, Congressional leadership unveiled a bipartisan omnibus appropriations bill that includes some important investments in habitat and sportsmen’s access. The must-pass legislation, which is necessary to avoid a government shutdown, will move forward quickly after weeks of intense negotiating.

Sportsmen and women should be pleased to see:

  • $32.158 billion allocated for Interior and Environment—a 6-percent increase over FY2015, which includes boosts for the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorized through 2018, with $450 million appropriated for FY2016, an increase of more than $100 million over the FY2015 level.
  • $5.77 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or $324.6 million more than FY2015, with increases for coastal science and assessment.
  • No rider to undermine protections for headwater streams and wetlands.
  • No rider to delay or defund conservation plans meant to keep the greater sage grouse off the endangered species list.
  • No rider to block the Clean Power Plan, an effort to reduce carbon emissions from current and future power generation.
  • Permanent authorization for an incentive to create conservation easements on private lands.

But, not this major blow to conservation:

  • No fix for fire borrowing, which continues to strain Forest Service budgets and prevent routine maintenance of national public lands.

The most important function of an omnibus appropriations bill is to set funding levels for priority programs. The package currently before Congress allows a recommitment to key conservation initiatives that matter to sportsmen, including many programs that represent a great dollar-for-dollar investment.

“Our community has pressed for a comprehensive budget deal like this one since July 2015, and we are pleased to see that this bill makes key investments in conservation,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Overall, this reflects a commitment to natural resources conservation and sportsmen’s access as essential elements of a strong outdoor recreation economy.”

Although negotiations were extended, lawmakers failed to achieve a policy fix for fire borrowing, the financially destructive way we fund wildfire suppression, which hunters and anglers have been demanding for years. “This is a tremendous missed opportunity, which perpetuates a legacy of fiscal mismanagement with profound national costs,” says Fosburgh.

Congress has included a three-year reauthorization of the expired Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has been one of the country’s most important tools for conserving fish and wildlife habitat for the past 50 years. “While this isn’t the permanent reauthorization that sportsmen and women have been advocating for, we can all support the fact that this action puts LWCF back on solid footing—especially with $450 million allocated—in the near-term,” adds Fosburgh. “Rest assured that the TRCP will continue to work with champions on the Hill to get LWCF back on the books permanently.”

Sportsmen have every right to be pleased that language that would weaken sage grouse conservation plans and the Clean Water Act were left out of this bill. “Sportsmen made their case clear on policy riders aimed at undoing so much good groundwork for sagebrush country, headwater streams, and wetlands: These would be poison pills for the sporting community—simply untenable,” says Steve Kline, TRCP Director of Government Relations. “Those voices were heard on Capitol Hill, and as such, this omnibus is free from the most-damaging of riders.”

The bill also makes permanent an incentive for farmers and ranchers to donate conservation easements. This provision will greatly expand private lands conservation across the country.

The TRCP and its partners have been calling for appropriators to support investments in conservation since July 2015, and this group applauds the work of Congressional leaders—House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid—for their work on this package over the past several weeks. Hunters and anglers look forward to seeing it passed by Congress and signed by the president.

Follow the TRCP for the latest news on how Congress plans to pay for conservation in 2016.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

Kristyn Brady

December 15, 2015

NEW DOI INITIATIVE WILL SPUR INVESTMENTS IN WATER CONSERVATION AND SAGE GROUSE HABITAT

News for Immediate Release

Dec. 15, 2015

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

Establishment of the Natural Resource Investment Center will make federal dollars go further for fish and wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that her department will establish a Natural Resource Investment Center, an initiative meant to spur public-private partnerships that will help increase investments in water conservation, habitat improvements, and critical water infrastructure. One of the Center’s primary objectives will be to facilitate water exchange in the Western U.S. in partnership with local, state, and tribal governments—an idea championed by sportsmen and women in recommendations to federal agencies following the White House Drought Symposium in July.

“I commend Sec. Jewell for creating the Natural Resource Investment Center to bring about more collaboration and identify new, non-federal funding sources that make existing investments in conservation go even further,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, one of the organizations responsible for this summer’s White House Drought Symposium and a set of drought recommendations endorsed by hunting and angling groups. “Clearly, the administration is taking the concerns of hunters and anglers seriously and responding to the increasing threat of drought in the United States. I’d urge decision-makers to continue working with sportsmen and women, the original conservationists, on the drought solutions we’ve proposed, which are aimed at providing water to cities and farms without sacrificing the needs of fish and wildlife.”

Scott Yates, director of Trout Unlimited’s Western Water and Habitat program, issued the following statement in response to Jewell’s announcement: “We are pleased that the administration is giving water stakeholders in the West more tools for creatively responding to the challenges of drought and a changing climate. These challenges present tremendous opportunities to modernize our infrastructure and manage demand in ways that add flexibility to our water systems while promoting healthy river flows and fish habitat.”

In a press release, the Department of the Interior listed one example of the type of creative partnerships the Center hopes to identify: An investment in enhancing greater sage grouse habitat in Nevada, made possible by DOI, Barrick Gold of North America, and The Nature Conservancy. “Though the greater sage grouse was not listed for Endangered Species Act protection this fall, full implementation of federal, state, and voluntary conservation plans is absolutely critical and cannot be compromised,” says Fosburgh. “So, we’re grateful that the Center will focus on these types of creative solutions to effect landscape-level conservation for this bird and other species.”

The Center is part of President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative, which “calls on federal agencies to find new ways to increase investment in ports, roads, water and sewer systems, bridges, broadband networks, and other 21st-century infrastructure projects.” To learn more about the Natural Resource Investment Center, visit doi.gov.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

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.

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