Kristyn Brady

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posted in: General

December 13, 2016

Congress Fails Sportsmen on Many Conservation Priorities in Final Hours

Everglades restoration can begin, but provisions to improve fish habitat, wetlands health, and access to hunting and fishing get left behind again

Today, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act awaits the president’s signature, the final step needed to authorize $1.9 billion in restoration projects to help reverse longstanding habitat and water quality issues in South Florida, while moving water south. This should be celebrated as a major win for anglers, guides, and other local businesses that rely on healthy fish habitat.

Image courtesy of Jesse Michael Nix/Flickr.

But in almost every other way, lawmakers overpromised and under delivered on the pending legislation important to hunters and anglers in the 114th Congress. Bipartisan support for provisions that would improve fish habitat, wetlands health, and public access across the country as part of a larger energy modernization bill brought the Sportsmen’s Act closer to the finish line than ever before. But it was not enough to finally do right by America’s sportsmen after attempts in three consecutive Congresses.

“For six years, or longer, we’ve needed this policy support for the very infrastructure of conservation and access, which keeps rural America in business during hunting and fishing season,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We owe a debt of thanks to senators who voted 97-0 to move conservation forward with the energy bill, but sportsmen and women should be angry and frustrated that good things like this can’t get done in the end.”

While major opportunities were lost by failing to authorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, and Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act—a critical conservation tool for Western lands—there was also a disappointing last-minute addition to the water projects bill that would weaken protections for salmon and other fish.

“We are deeply disappointed that language was added to the bill that diverts water away from fisheries that are already struggling, puts wild salmon in jeopardy of extinction, and targets other sportfish for eradication,” says Scott Gudes, vice president of government affairs with the American Sportfishing Association. “Senators Barbara Boxer, Maria Cantwell, and all the Northwest U.S. senators, are to be commended for their efforts to defeat this last-minute water grab, which redirects water to agriculture and undercuts environmental protection for fisheries. Unfortunately its passage creates a significant threat to fishing communities, anglers, and the sportfishing industry in the state.”

The TRCP opposed the drought provision airdropped into final negotiations and was supportive of a provision to promote use of natural infrastructure, like wetlands, reefs, and dunes.

Image courtesy of Jennifer Hall/USFWS.

In a major defensive victory, language that would have undercut sage grouse conservation was removed from the final conference report of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed last week. And a continuing resolution passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning will keep the government funded through April 28, 2016 at decent levels for conservation. But additional threats to protections for sage grouse, headwater streams, and BLM backcountry lands could be yet to come in the new Congress, with the possibility of cuts, riders, and budget reconciliations.

Follow along with the TRCP in 2017, as we work to highlight the relevance of hunters and anglers to their elected officials in Washington and advance conservation in America.

5 Responses to “Congress Fails Sportsmen on Many Conservation Priorities in Final Hours”

  1. Crazywader

    Agree with the above comment however add that Ms. Brady should also detail the reasons each changed the legslation in a follow-up post. Congess is supposed to represent their constituents and comprimise with each other where there is room. I suspect the timing of 97 votes in favor of this wasn’t random but was timed to lead sportsman to believe their interests were being supported…at least until after the recent election assured their representatives of their seat. Ms. Brady please post links to the most current form so we can follow up with our reps.

  2. Gregg Martin

    With at least one senator in my state of Idaho discussing the role of the federal lands here (he desires state control of them,) with the President Elect,, the prospects are frightening to say the least. Thank you for this update.

    Gregg

  3. yes, Whit, I am angry and frustrated….Congress is pretty worthless. They are more interested in worrying about “across the aisle” rhetoric than actually earning their pay. Just wait for the next four years if you think they can’t pass a Sportsmens Bill!. Keep sending the letters for us to sign that are then sent to our reps.

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Kristyn Brady

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posted in: General

November 17, 2016

Oregon Hunters and Anglers Support New Approach to Backcountry Conservation

Hundreds of local sportsmen and women are calling on the BLM to manage intact, undeveloped fish and wildlife habitat for its unique backcountry values, while maintaining public hunting and fishing access

VALE, Ore. — Today, hundreds of hunters and anglers who enjoy public access to backcountry areas in southeast Oregon called on the Bureau of Land Management to implement a new land management tool for conserving intact, undeveloped fish and wildlife habitat areas. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership delivered a petition signed by 554 local sportsmen and women, who see an opportunity for the agency to try a new approach in these unique backcountry habitats that support elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, upland birds, and other species.

Conservation groups have urged the BLM to include Backcountry Conservation Areas in an amendment to its Southeast Oregon Resource Management Plan, and the public has shown overwhelming support.

“The Backcountry Conservation Area concept promotes conserving the primitive, open nature of the landscape, while allowing flexibility in land management activities that will enhance the quality of these areas for critters we care about,” says Walt Van Dyke, a chukar hunter, retired wildlife biologist, and Southeast Oregon representative for the Oregon Hunter Association. “With few areas of our country untouched by development, I want to continue to see places like Slaughter Gulch maintained for its backcountry characteristics and further improved to give other hunters the same opportunities I’ve had to pursue deer, elk, and birds there.”

The Vale District of the BLM is in the process of preparing alternatives for the Southeastern Oregon Resource Management Plan. The draft RMP is expected in 2017.

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

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posted in: General

October 27, 2016

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Ranked Among Top U.S. Charities for Fourth Year in a Row

The conservation and sportsmen’s access organization receives another exceptional 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for financial health and accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As sportsmen and women across the country celebrate an abundant fall hunting and fishing season, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is celebrating its fourth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator—that’s the highest possible rating awarded by the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator.

This four-time recognition for our financial health, accountability, and transparency puts the TRCP in the top 10 percent of American charities rated.

In a letter, Charity Navigator president and CEO Michael Thatcher says this designation indicates that the TRCP not only “executes its mission in a financially efficient way,” but also “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities” in our area of work. Learn more about our rating here and see our financials here.

“We’re very proud to lay all our cards on the table, remain transparent about how we use donations and grants in service of our conservation mission, and be deemed trustworthy and effective by American hunters and anglers,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, which details its accomplishments for fiscal year 2015 in its latest Annual Report. “There is no higher honor than being entrusted with your hard-earned money or confidence in our ability to bring the voices of sportsmen and women to Washington, D.C., where we will continue to strive for conservation success.”

Learn how you can help the TRCP guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish by clicking here.

Or take action for conservation right now.

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

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posted in: General

October 20, 2016

Next Administration Could Usher in New Era of Fisheries Management

News for Immediate Release

Oct. 19, 2016

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

Leading marine conservation groups deliver recommendations to improve public access and enhance fisheries that support American jobs and spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Center for Coastal Conservation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and seven other leading marine conservation and trade associationsreleased a series of recommendations for the incoming presidential administration and new Congress, calling on leaders to improve access to public waters, create economic growth, and enhance the conservation of marine fish stocks.

The guidance for federal policy makers is now available to the public in a new report, A Vision for Marine Fisheries Management in the 21st Century: Priorities for a New Administration, which calls for an end to antiquated federal policies that have inhibited a vital source of economic growth and the proud American tradition of recreational fishing.

“We are deeply committed to ensuring a bright future for marine recreational fishing,” says Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “It’s a critical component of our economy, and it’s a proud part of America’s heritage of conservation. The recommendations in this report will ensure that we as a nation do all we can to continue this legacy.”

The Vision report highlights the economic value of recreational fishing in coastal waters. Today, 11 million American anglers fish recreationally in saltwater. From license sales to retail sales, the recreational saltwater fishing industry contributes more than $70 billion annually in economic activity and generates 455,000 jobs. However, outdated federal management policies threaten to stem this positive economic trend.

“We want better fisheries management for economic reasons, but we need better management for conservation reasons,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Healthy habitat and fisheries provide benefits that can be measured—like tourism spending in coastal towns—and the intangible benefits of more American families on the water, more memories made, more connections forged with our natural resources, and more voices willing to speak up for conservation.”

The report recommends a shift away from using the same tools at the federal level to manage commercial fishing and recreational fishing. New approaches should reflect the reality of demand for recreational access to our marine fisheries, the current economic activity associated with that access, and the scientific data of the light footprint recreational access has on our marine resources.

“It’s important that lawmakers and policymakers understand that commercial and recreational fishing need to be managed differently,” says Ted Venker, conservation director of the Coastal Conservation Association and chairman of the Center for Coastal Conservation’s Government Relations Committee. “The Vision report’s recommendations suggest taking a clear-eyed look at our nation’s fisheries, using modern science and technology to guide decision-making.”

“Fishing is a treasured pastime and tradition for millions of Americans and needs to be treated as such,” adds Angers. “The new administration and Congress should take steps to keep this tradition alive—for the benefit of all those who enjoy fishing, for the hundreds of thousands employed in the recreational fishing industry, and for future generations of anglers who will fall in love with the sea.”

Additional contributors to the report include the American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, and The Billfish Foundation.

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

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posted in: General

October 19, 2016

State Report Confirms What Sportsmen Already Know About State Takeover of Public Lands

News for Immediate Release

Oct. 19, 2016

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

A study mandated by Wyoming state legislators finds that the realities of public land management make transfer an unworkable idea

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A new state-mandated report on the feasibility of transferring management authority for 25 million publically owned acres to the state of Wyoming concludes that the process would be a financial, administrative, and legislative burden.

Ultimately, the report prepared for the Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) says that the state would inherit costly land management issues, like wildfire and litigation, if it were to manage the lands that currently belong to all Americans. The report also cautions that any transfer of land ownership would mean local governments would lose important federal funding sources, such as Payments in Lieu of Taxes.

“We’re not surprised by the findings, although sportsmen in the West should be heartened by the independent confirmation of what experts have been saying for years—the transfer or sale of America’s public lands to individual states would be a financial disaster for local governments and would threaten our access to hunting and fishing,” says Nick Dobric, Wyoming field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. The organization has been calling for lawmakers to oppose state takeover of public lands since January 2015 and has collected more than 34,000 signatures—2,200 of which are from Wyoming hunters and anglers—on a petition.

The report echoes the concerns that sportsmen have raised about the fundamental differences in the way state and national lands are managed. It reads:

State trust lands are in no way required to be managed for multiple use. In fact, the fiduciary obligation to generate sustainable revenue may be mutually exclusive of the ability to manage for multiple use, and this dichotomy significantly affects program revenues and associated costs. As an example, the OSLI issues grazing leases based on market value and has the ability to exclude other uses on the property (i.e., hunting or camping) because they do not generate revenue and could have a negative impact to the livestock producer.

Cheyenne sportsman Earl DeGroot, one of the local hunters responsible for the popular Wyoming Sportsmen for Federal Lands page on Facebook, hopes this will be the last talk of public land transfer from state lawmakers. “I hope the legislature will consider the findings of this report, and the overwhelming opposition that Wyoming sportsmen have expressed, and finally put an end to this effort,” says DeGroot. “I feel very fortunate to have hunted elk, deer, antelope, and even bighorn sheep and black bears on federal public lands in Wyoming, and sportsmen are tired of seeing our access jeopardized. The focus of our legislators should be on the real land management solutions and partnerships that will benefit our state.”

A rally in support of public lands, organized by the TRCP and many other hunting, fishing, and outdoor organizations, will take place in Casper on November 5, 2016. Featured speakers will include Chris Madson, conservation writer and former editor of Wyoming Wildlife Magazine, and Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

For more information on the would-be impacts of land transfer in Wyoming, and a record of meaningful opposition from elected leaders and counties in the Cowboy State, visitsportsmensaccess.org.

For the full OSLI report, click here.

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.

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