October 23, 2019

Senate Reintroduces Bill that Would Balance Renewable Energy with the Needs of Fish and Wildlife

This win-win legislation would provide funds to conservation projects, states, and counties

The Senate has reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would ensure smart-from-the-start development of renewable energy resources. The Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act would help build an efficient framework for development on public lands and direct royalty funds to fish and wildlife conservation projects in the communities hosting wind and solar development.

A House version of the bill was introduced in July 2019.

Royalties funneled into a newly established conservation fund could be used to restore fish and wildlife habitat affected by development and maintain access to hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands.

Representatives from three major sportsmen’s groups applauded this effort, noting that hunters and anglers are supportive of the development of renewable energy resources on public lands when it is done in the right places and in a manner that conserves fish and wildlife habitat.

“This bill would achieve a rare win-win scenario by thoughtfully balancing renewable energy development and habitat needs, while creating a consistent stream of revenue to fund essential fish and wildlife management projects,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We’re grateful for the support of Senate lawmakers who are prioritizing opportunities to enhance sportsmen’s access, clean water resources, and critical habitat for important game species through this common-sense approach.”

“Our energy future is reliant on the development of renewable energy–that’s not a political statement, it’s simple economics,” says Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “Solar and wind are now more cost-effective than ever before. But even renewable energy has an impact on public land and we must balance renewable development with the protection of fish and wildlife resources. This bill ensures smart development from the start, funding important conservation measures and giving back to the communities who shoulder these projects. TU has supported the concepts contained in this bill for nearly a decade, and we’re grateful to the House and the Senate continuing to pursue its passage.”

“Sportsmen and women are practical about the increasing demands of renewable energy development on our public lands, and we want to avoid impacts to wildlife habitat,” says John Gale, conservation director for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. “PLREDA prioritizes development away from wildlife conflicts, proactively mitigates impacts from energy development and creates a royalty structure that will drive new revenue for impacted states and communities while also dedicating a separate conservation funding stream. We thank Sens. McSally and Heinrich for introducing this bipartisan legislation that promotes responsible energy development and safeguards critical fish and wildlife habitat for future generations.”

4 Responses to “Senate Reintroduces Bill that Would Balance Renewable Energy with the Needs of Fish and Wildlife”

  1. THERE SHOULD BE A LEGISLATIVE BILL THAT STATES NO ONE, STATE, FEDERAL OR PRIVATE SECTOR, CAN DO ANYTHING TO OUR PUBLIC LANDS UNLESS THE PUBLIC IS POLED AND A MAJORITY AGREES WITH THE PROPOSAL. OTHERWISE, THE LANDS CANNOT BE CHANGED AND DESTROYED AND MUST REMAIN AS IS.

  2. Our American public lands (and all our natural resources) are under threat like never before from the current administration in Washington – from the oil and gas lobbyist, David Bernhardt head of the Interior, to coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler head of the EPA, to the man who has stated that all public lands should be sold, William Perry Pendley at the BLM. It is hard to have any faith or trust in them that they will serve all Americans as head of these agencies. We deserve so much better.

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Randall Williams

October 15, 2019

Proposed Rule Would Roll Back Conservation in the Tongass National Forest

The draft Alaska Roadless Rule undermines collaboration and creates long-term uncertainty

The U.S. Forest Service today released a proposal that would eliminate conservation safeguards for 9.2 million acres of roadless public lands in Alaska.

The agency issued the proposed rule for the Tongass National Forest after the president instructed the Secretary of Agriculture to roll back an 18-year-old limitation on timber harvest and road building within certain backcountry areas of the iconic forest.

“For years, sportsmen and women have been calling for a lasting solution for Alaska roadless areas that would conserve valuable fish and wildlife habitat and provide certainty for local communities that depend on the balanced use of these public resources,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Yet because of direct intervention from the White House, we are facing conservation setbacks within the Tongass that will affect more than half of the world’s largest temperate rainforest.”

Roadless areas within the Tongass National Forest, which have long been managed under the direction of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, provide vital habitat for salmon and Sitka blacktail deer. They also provide outstanding opportunities for hunting and fishing that support a strong tourism economy and are important for subsistence.

In January 2018, the state of Alaska petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow for the development of a state-specific roadless rule. Many hunting and fishing groups and businesses demonstrated a willingness to collaborate and support such a rule if a durable, good-faith compromise could be reached. One such solution was within the range of proposed options recommended by the Citizens Advisory Committee chartered by Governor Walker and is the path supported by a strong majority of Alaskans.

Yet the possibility of a broadly supported, long-term solution that is good for Alaska was all but eliminated this past summer when the White House intervened after an off-the-record meeting with Governor Dunleavy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service were directed to propose the most extreme option.

“If implemented, today’s proposal would lead only to more conflict over the future of these lands, harming local communities and everyone’s interests over the long haul,” says Fosburgh. “We encourage the administration to right this ship, and we ask for leadership from the Alaska congressional delegation to shape a long-lasting outcome for the Tongass that brings people together.”

Last fall, the TRCP asked sportsmen and women to urge the Forest Service to support safeguards for Alaska roadless areas. In March 2019, the TRCP also warned against weakening conservation in roadless areas in Utah.

How to Set Up a Facebook Fundraiser in Honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday

His legacy lives on in the form of 230 million acres of public land set aside for Americans to enjoy and countless species saved by the conservation model he helped to spearhead. It only takes a few minutes to honor Theodore Roosevelt by calling on your own community to give back to conservation.

Here’s how to do it.

On Your Desktop (Recommended)
  1. Click here to visit the Facebook Fundraisers page.
  • You’ll need to be logged in to your Facebook account. You can also find the Fundraisers page icon to the left of your newsfeed.
  • Once there, you will be presented with two options: Raise money for a nonprofit or raise money for you or a friend.
  • Under “Raise money for a nonprofit,” click the button for “Select Nonprofit.”
  • A search bar will appear. In this bar, search “Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership” and select our page to designate the TRCP as your benefiting charity.

2. Tell your friends why you need their help.

  • Select yourself as the organizer, indicate how much you would like to raise, and set the end date as October 27, 2019 (Theodore Roosevelt’s 161st birthday!)
  • Here are some suggested fundraising goals for you to use:

$161 total, in honor of T.R.’s 161st birthday

$230 total, in honor of the 230 million acres of public land T.R. helped to set aside for Americans

$260 total, by getting ten friends to donate $26 each in honor of our 26th president

$500 total, because everyone likes a nice round number

$1027 total, in honor of T.R.’s October 27th birthdate

$1858 total, in honor of the year T.R. was born

  • Facebook will auto-populate the next screen with a fundraiser title and description, but personalizing these fields will make your ask more compelling. Here are some suggestions:

Title: Help Me Support Conservation in Honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday

Description: October 27 would have been Theodore Roosevelt’s 116th birthday, which is why I’m asking my friends to consider donating whatever they can to carry on this incredible sportsman’s conservation legacy. Whatever I raise will go to support the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership in their efforts to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish. I’ve always admired T.R. for his [tell your personal story here] and I have gained so much from my experiences in the outdoors that wouldn’t have been possible without healthy wildlife habitat, clean water, and access close to home. I hope you’ll help me give something

  • Once you’re satisfied with your fundraiser’s title and description, click “Next.”

3. Next, set a cover photo. 

  • We created one for you. Just select T.R.’s smiling face from TRCP’s most recent cover photos right below the preview box.
  • You can also add a downloaded photo by clicking the “Edit” button next to the little camera icon in the lower-righthand corner of the preview box. Select “Upload New Photo/Video” and choose the file on your computer.

  • Once you’re satisfied with your cover photo, title, description, and goal amount, select “Create” to publish your fundraising event!

 

On Your Mobile Device

  1. Open the Facebook application on your phone or other mobile device.
  • You’ll need to be logged in to your Facebook account. You must also make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of the Facebook mobile application.
  • Open the menu by clicking the icon on the bottom righthand side of your screen.

  • Scroll down to find and select the Fundraisers page. You may need to expand more options by tapping “See More.” Fundraisers will be next to a yellow circle with a heart in it.
  • From the “Explore” tab, tap the blue “Raise Money” button.

  • A pop-up will appear with the question “Who are you raising money for?” Select “Nonprofit.”
  • A search bar will appear. Type in “Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership” and tap our page to designate the TRCP as your benefitting charity.

2. Tell your friends why you need their help.

  • Facebook will auto-populate the next screen with a fundraiser title and description, but personalizing these fields will make your ask more compelling. Here are some suggestions:

Title: Help Me Support Conservation in Honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday

Description: October 27 would have been Theodore Roosevelt’s 116th birthday, which is why I’m asking my friends to consider donating whatever they can to carry on this incredible sportsman’s conservation legacy. Whatever I raise will go to support the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership in their efforts to guarantee all Americans quality places to hunt and fish. I’ve always admired T.R. for his [tell your personal story here] and I have gained so much from my experiences in the outdoors that wouldn’t have been possible without healthy wildlife habitat, clean water, and access close to home. I hope you’ll help me give something back.

3. Next, set a cover photo and fundraising goal.

  • We created one for you. Tap the “Edit” button on the lower-righthand side of the existing photo, tap “Select Photo,” and find T.R.’s smiling face among TRCP’s most recent cover photos.
  • You may also upload your own image: Tap the “Edit” button on the lower-righthand side of the existing photo, tap “Upload Photo,” and choose something from your Camera Roll.
  • Select yourself as the organizer, indicate how much you would like to raise, and set the end date as October 27, 2019 (Theodore Roosevelt’s 161st birthday!)
  • Here are some suggested fundraising goals for you to use:

$161 total, in honor of T.R.’s 161st birthday

$230 total, in honor of the 230 million acres of public land T.R. helped to set aside for Americans

$260 total, by getting ten friends to donate $26 each in honor of our 26th president

$500 total, because everyone likes a nice round number

$1027 total, in honor of T.R.’s October 27th birthdate

  • Once you’re satisfied with your cover photo, title, description, and goal amount, select “create” to publish your fundraising event!
Thank you for your support of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership!

If you need help setting up your fundraiser, please contact Cory Deal at cdeal@trcp.org or 202.639.8727 x18.

 

Guest Blogger Jon Andrew

October 4, 2019

Project to Restore Everglades Headwaters Habitat Also Opens Access

Unique conservation partnerships have helped to restore habitat and provide new public hunting and fishing access on nearly 4,000 acres in south-central Florida

Sportsmen and women love a great access success story, but when newly opened hunting and fishing lands also provide a win-win for habitat conservation, that should be breaking news across everyone’s social feeds.

This is one of those stories. It has the grit and tenacity of passionate volunteers and tireless collaborators. And their years of effort are already making a big difference for fish and wildlife in the Everglades, where water mismanagement has created a conservation and infrastructure crisis.

Here’s what you need to know about a project that will establish the first state Wildlife Management Area in Okeechobee County and provide hunting opportunities and recreational access on almost 4,000 acres of formerly private land.

Photo by USFWS.
The Triple Diamond Ranch Project

In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Everglades Headwaters Conservation Partnership Area, a relatively new model of land conservation where the objective was to conserve 150,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat in the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem.

Conservation in an area of this size could never be accomplished by one organization alone. Just look at the scope of the project: The partnership area extends from just north of Lake Okeechobee to the outskirts of Kissimmee just outside Orlando. This kind of conservation requires partnerships on a scale that is rarely encountered, but a unique coalition can already count one big win in the partnership area.

We’re talking about acquisition and restoration of the Triple Diamond Ranch, which lies adjacent to the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park and east of the Kissimmee River. This well-managed private ranch supports wet and dry prairie, which is otherwise globally imperiled. In addition to protecting this rare habitat, planned conservation work on the ranch will provide hydrological benefits as water flows south through the Everglades, restoring wetlands that can hold water and naturally filter out nutrients as flows are gradually released.

Photo by Carlton Ward courtesy of Open Space Institute.

The ecological benefits of this project are clear. However, just as significant was the formation of unique alliances, which have paved the way for the property to be purchased, managed well, and eventually opened to the public for outdoor recreation. No single governmental entity was able to purchase the property on its own, so this had to be a team effort. Two nonprofit organizations, the Open Space Institute and the Wyss Foundation, made the initial purchase of the property, and it is now owned and managed collaboratively between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In the end, almost 4,000 acres are now in permanent conservation status, with major assists from TRCP partners like the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Ducks Unlimited, as well as local advocates at Audubon of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Division of State Lands, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

And collaboration continues—these lands will be co-managed by the Florida Forest Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Eventually, the property will be managed as the first state Wildlife Management Area in Okeechobee County, providing hunting opportunities and recreational access on almost 4,000 acres of formerly private land.

This is not just a win for fish and wildlife habitat, sportsmen’s access, and clean water. It’s a model for using conservation partnerships to make measurable progress on Everglades restoration. After all, we’re better together.

 

Jon Andrew is the Florida outreach coordinator for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. He is recently retired from a 35-year career as a biologist and refuge manager with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, where he eventually became responsible for management of all refuge lands in the southeastern U.S. and Caribbean. In his spare time, he enjoys saltwater flyfishing and poling his skiff in the shallow waters along the southwest Florida coast in search of snook.

Top photo by Andy Wraithmell/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Marnee Banks

September 25, 2019

House Advances Two Collaborative Conservation Bills

Vote highlights bipartisan support for fish, migratory bird, and wildlife habitat  

The House Natural Resources Committee today passed two pieces of legislation to conserve habitat for fish, migratory birds, and other wildlife through effective partnerships and regional coalitions.

In a bipartisan vote, the Committee advanced the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (H.R. 925) and the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act (H.R. 1747). Together the two bills create a model for conservation that is driven by local and regional engagement and stakeholder collaboration.

“These pieces of legislation showcase the very best of conservation,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “These bills invest in strong on-the-ground coalitions that are improving water quality, restoring habitat, and strengthening our ecosystems. Sportsmen and women are grateful for the Committee’s bipartisan work and urge the Senate to follow suit and advance this legislation.”

“We are elated that the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act was passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee following yesterday’s subcommittee hearing,” said Ed Schriever, chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “We appreciate the leadership of Reps. Wittman and Veasey in helping to move this bill through the committee. This legislation will strengthen our efforts to protect, restore and enhance fish habitat and benefit fisheries through the grassroots efforts of our partnerships.  We are grateful for the efforts of our partners to advance this legislation, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, American Sportfishing Association, Trout Unlimited, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and American Fisheries Society.”

“The sportfishing industry is grateful to the House Natural Resources Committee for passage of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnership Act, which now moves to the House floor for consideration,” said Chad Tokowicz, the American Sportfishing Association’s inland fisheries policy manager. “Reps. Wittman and Veasey continue to demonstrate their leadership on behalf of our community. This bipartisan legislation will enhance coordination among federal, state, tribal and private entities that support healthy fisheries and create more opportunities for anglers to enjoy their favorite outdoor activity.”

North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Since its inception in 1989, North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants totaling more than $1.73 billion have leveraged $3.57 billion in contributions from partners to voluntarily protect, restore, enhance, and manage habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. More than 6,200 conservation partners from small landowners to large corporations have teamed up on 2,950 NAWCA projects to benefit more than 30 million acres of habitat. Through the history of the program, NAWCA projects have been implemented in all 50 states.

National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act

Established in 2005 by states, federal agencies, businesses, anglers, and the conservation community, the National Fish Habitat Program has made investments in 840 fish habitat conservation projects across all 50 states. The National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act authorizes federal funding for this program and supports the 20 regional partnerships working across the country to conserve priority fish habitats and fish populations. Sportsmen and women can write their decision-makers to support this legislation here.

 

Top photo by Dr. F. Eugene Hester/USFWS.

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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