Randall Williams

July 15, 2019

Sportsmen Respond to New Effort to Lease and Drill the Ruby Mountains

New proposal for oil and gas leasing highlights the need for congressional action

Sportsmen and women are vocally opposing a new effort to open up the Ruby Mountains to oil and gas development concerns over impacts ot habitat and wildlife.

Days after the U.S. Forest Service denied authorization for leasing 54,000 acres in Nevada’s Ruby Mountains, energy developers submitted two new requests to open this prized landscape to oil and gas drilling. A private entity filed new Expressions of Interest (EOIs) to lease 88,000 acres for oil and gas development in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Many of the parcels would affect the same areas previously rejected for leasing.

“Sportsmen and women see this new threat to the Rubies as further proof that lawmakers must act to conserve this special place for future generations,” said Carl Erquiaga, Nevada field representative with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The Ruby Mountains, known as Nevada’s Swiss Alps, are home to Nevada’s largest mule deer herd, critical populations of the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout, and numerous other fish and wildlife species.”

In January 2019 Senator Cortez Masto introduced the Ruby Mountain Protection Act (S258) which would permanently withdraw from oil and gas exploration 450,000 acres in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Ruby Mountain Ranger District. A coalition of 14 influential hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation groups, Sportsmen for the Rubies, has called for lawmakers to pass the legislation.

“The Ruby Mountains, one of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes in the west, supports Nevada’s largest mule deer herd and offers untold hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities. This latest attempt to lease the Rubies underscores the need to pass S258 quickly,” said Pam Harrington, Nevada field coordinator with Trout Unlimited.

By law, federal agencies must respond to these EOIs through a formal process, representing a considerable demand on budgets and human resources. The previous round of leasing requests required more than a year and a half of work before the “no leasing” decision could be made. Now the agency must go through the process again with no certainty that the outcome will be the same.

“It’s clear that the threat to the Rubies won’t go away unless Congress takes action,” continued Erquiaga. “Hunters and anglers in Nevada are counting on lawmakers to do the right thing for this one-of-a-kind landscape.”

Learn more and take action at SportsmenfortheRubies.com.

 

Photo: USFS

10 Responses to “Sportsmen Respond to New Effort to Lease and Drill the Ruby Mountains”

  1. Patricia Clucas

    I commend the U.S. Forest Service to deny the leasing of the Ruby Mountains for oil and gas drilling. We are quickly losing our public lands to private benefactors who not only ruin the land, but take it away the the public that pays for it. Americans are all public land owners, and wealthy corporations who want to take them away should never be given the opportunity.

  2. Therese Campbell

    I have traveled in the Ruby Mountains several times and as a longtime Nevada resident I strongly oppose any encroachments by fossil-fuel companies or other industries. NO to oil and gas exploration/drilling in the Ruby Mountains.

  3. Jack Sorum

    I lived in North Dakota where oil and gas took over the most beautiful and pristine area of the state, the badlands. Oil and gas have no interest in preserving any wild area or conservation of wildlife habitat. Keep them out of the Ruby mountains. Oil and gas will destroy the Ruby range the same way they destroyed the badlands.

  4. Jeff Wieland

    Another opportunity to let developers ruin our public lands for short-term profits. When they’ve done so, they will take no responsibility for clean-up or restoration. This is Big Oil trying to “extract” the last $$ and drop before clean energy replaces them.

Do you have any thoughts on this post?

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Marnee Banks

July 12, 2019

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Creates 21st Century Conservation Model 

Legislation will invest in on-the-ground fish and wildlife management 

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is hailing landmark legislation that will transform fish and wildlife management across the nation.  U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Mich) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to invest meaningful resources into proactive conservation. 

Right now, 12,000 species in America need conservation action and 40 percent of the nation’s freshwater fish species are at risk. This legislation will help prevent those species from becoming threatened or endangered by creating a 21st century funding model.  

“This legislation will invest in critical habitat, stronger wildlife populations, and a more robust outdoor recreation economy,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This bill empowers on-the-ground wildlife experts to implement science-based conservation plans that will preserve these species into the future.”  

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will invest roughly $1.4 billion to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program for proactive, voluntary efforts led by the states, territories and tribal nations to prevent vulnerable wildlife from becoming endangered. 

A national survey determined that each state needs an average of $26 million in new funding annually to effectively implement their State Wildlife Action Plans to prevent species from becoming threatened or endangered. Current funding levels are less than 5 percent of what is needed. 

 

Video: Hunters and Anglers Talk About the Importance of the Colorado River

Did you know that the WaterSMART program makes critical investments in local and regional efforts to conserve water and improve fish habitat? We need more of that on the Colorado River.

Chris Macaluso

July 3, 2019

Fight Against Atlantic Menhaden Certification Moves to Next Round

Sportfishing groups will argue case before an independent adjudicator

The objections raised by sportfishing groups in opposition to certification of the industrial Atlantic menhaden fishery as a “sustainable fishery” are scheduled to be heard by an independent adjudicator on July 8 and 9.

In March, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Coastal Conservation Association, and American Sportfishing Association filed an objection—which was later combined with a similar objection raised by The Nature Conservancy and Chesapeake Bay Foundation—to the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) recommendation that Omega Protein should receive a certification of sustainability for its U.S. Atlantic menhaden purse-seining operations.

Next week’s adjudication hearing is a significant step forward in the effort to ensure there is a healthy forage base for striped bass and other important sportfish in the Chesapeake Bay and all along the East Coast.

“To make it to the next stage of this process with a hearing and oral arguments is significant in that the independent adjudicator clearly recognizes that our objections have merit,” said David Sikorski, executive director of CCA Maryland. “The MSC process is not entirely predictable and has been criticized in the past as being far too aligned with commercial interests. We are encouraged that the very real concerns raised in our objection have had an impact.”

The recreational fishing community has long believed that Omega Protein’s relentless pressure on menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay, the primary nursery ground for striped bass and many other sportfish, has caused localized depletions of forage, leading to an increase in diseased, stressed, and skinny fish in the Bay. The TRCP, ASA, and CCA objected to many of the certification findings and scores, including one that would grant the certification of sustainability on the condition that Omega reach certain milestones over four years, and not because the operation can be considered sustainable now.

“Certifying the Atlantic Menhaden fishery as sustainable at this time could undermine efforts at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to establish management that considers the entire ecosystem,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “Striped bass populations are shrinking and there is evidence that removal of forage has contributed to that. We should be making sure that conservation measures are being enacted now—not years down the road.”

In the past, the MSC’s impartiality has been questioned since it has been funded in part from royalties paid by the very seafood processors seeking to use the MSC ecolabel. Third-party certifiers are paid by the entity seeking certification, and if the certification is successful, those third-party certifiers often receive long-term contracts to monitor chain-of-custody of the products and update reviews of the fishery every five years. In other words, both the MSC and the third-party certifiers stand to benefit financially from a successful certification.

In 2011, the prestigious science journal NATURE published a sharp critique of the MSC process, claiming that after the signing of a contract between the MSC and Walmart, the number of certified seafood products skyrocketed.

“We are committed to participating in this process and raising the concerns of the recreational fishing community, because once the sustainable label is bestowed on a fishery, it will be much more difficult to make needed management changes to that fishery,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “That is particularly perilous when certifying a fishery that targets a forage base on which so many sportfish depend.”

While it is not known what fees Omega has paid to the MSC to pursue certification, the TRCP, ASA, and CCA have been required to pay a £2500 (or roughly $3,150) “objection fee” to the London-based MSC to make their case in this next round of the process.

Learn more about menhaden and their role in the marine food web here.

Randall Williams

July 2, 2019

Montanans: Support Hunting and Fishing on Our Public Lands

This is YOUR chance to play a role in how our public lands are managed and ensure that sportsmen and women have a say about the places where we love to hunt and fish

The Bureau of Land Management is revising its plans that will determine the future management of more than 906,000 acres of public land in western and central Montana, including the Missouri River Breaks as well as the Garnet and John Long Ranges near Missoula. Sportsmen and women must get involved to ensure that the best habitats are conserved and public access for hunting and fishing is maintained.

Please attend a local public meeting in the next few weeks (see schedule below) and share your perspective as a public land user.

These events will offer updates on the planning process, allow the public to share their ideas and opinions on the draft plan, and explain ways for interested citizens to stay involved.

The best way to see that our priorities are included in the plan is to have a presence and provide input at these meetings. Meeting dates, locations, and times, as well as suggested talking points are listed below.

Thank you for taking the time to support our public lands.

 

 

Lewistown Field Office RMP

 Meeting Location  Date   Time  Address
 Winnett  July 8, 2019  5pm – 7pm  Petroleum County Courthouse, 302 E. Main Street
 Lewistown  July 9, 2019  5pm – 7pm  Yogo Inn, 211 E. Main Street
 Great Falls  July 10, 2019  5pm – 7pm  Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, 4201 Giant Springs Road

Missoula Field Office RMP

 Meeting Location  Date   Time  Address
 Missoula  July 11, 2019  4pm – 6pm  U of M, Todd Building (Continuing Ed building connected to the University Center), Rooms 203 and 204

 

Suggested Talking Points:

  • Conservation of unfragmented, functional habitats: I ask that the BLM safeguard our best hunting and fishing areas by adopting the Backcountry Conservation Area management tool that would conserve important big game habitat, prioritize active habitat restoration and enhancement, and support important public access for hunting and other forms of recreation.
  • Conservation of Big Game Migration Corridors and Seasonal Habitat: I request that the BLM take steps to ensure the conservation of identified big game migration corridors and winter range. This should include not only conserving corridors that have already been mapped and analyzed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, but also in ensuring that the RMP is able to conserve migration corridors that will be mapped in the future.
  • Public access: Public access is necessary for outdoor recreation. I encourage the BLM to identify opportunities to increase access to public lands that are landlocked or difficult to access because there are few or no access points across private land that enable the public to reach BLM lands.  

Read the Missoula Field Office RMP

Read the Lewistown Field Office RMP


Photo: Charlie Bulla

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
Subscribe

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You have Successfully Subscribed!