Carl Erquiaga

October 30, 2019

Putting Boots on the Ground for Bighorn Sheep

A volunteer effort in Nevada highlights the commitment of wildlife managers and conservationists

Of all the big game species in North America, bighorn sheep hold a special place in the hearts—and dreams—of many hunters. But these animals have been struggling for generations due to a number of factors, such as habitat loss and disease.

Wild sheep conservation sometimes depends on reintroducing these animals to their historic ranges and ensuring that they are healthy once they arrive. In Nevada, there has been tremendous success by the Nevada Department of Wildlife and groups such as Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, Elko Bighorns Unlimited, Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn, and the Wild Sheep Foundation. As a result, our state’s sheep have become a valuable resource for repopulating other areas of the West, growing new herds and pushing back against the many challenges faced by bighorns.

Last week I helped out on a desert bighorn sheep capture project in the Stillwater Mountains (Unit 044/182) of western Nevada. The animals we captured were transported to Utah for release into the Mineral Mountains near Beaver, in the west-central part of the state.

Folks onsite included a lot of staff from the Nevada Department of Wildlife and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, plus several volunteers, including two state wildlife commissioners.


The goal was to have 50 sheep to reestablish bighorns in the Mineral Mountains. The first day was a little slow, only resulting in 15 sheep in the trailer, but when the work was over, 51 sheep had been transported. Even 25 or 30 sheep is enough to get a new herd off the ground.

As you can see, it’s a very intensive process once the sheep are brought in. Wildlife biologists take a myriad of samples and administer injections. The animals’ temperatures are monitored constantly; if they rise too high, water, ice baths, and sometimes IVs are used to lower body temps and alleviate the related stresses.

Before being loaded for transport, each sheep was fitted with a GPS collar that can be monitored remotely. These collars allow researchers and wildlife managers to monitor the health of the transplants and how they utilize their new habitat.

This project was delayed a day, because the capture crew was busy in Arizona capturing pronghorns and other bighorns for migration studies. The helicopter contractor, Quick Silver Air, out of Alaska, is one of the best in the business. I have been on numerous captures with them, and they are true professionals. It’s an extremely dangerous profession, and I shake my head in wonder every time I see it happen.

Most of the photo credits go to my hunting buddy, Patti Lingenfelter, who did a great job of documenting the efforts of all involved. In addition to being a lot of fun, these projects are always a learning experience for me, as well as a testament to the dedication of our wildlife professionals and conservationists of different backgrounds.

One Response to “Putting Boots on the Ground for Bighorn Sheep”

  1. Thanks Carl for your dedication to this and many other worthwhile wildlife management and conservation efforts. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in multiple western states and Alaska this year and am always impressed with the habitat improvement projects and cooperation amongst TRCP and other partners that contribute to carrying on the tradition of hunting and other wildlife conservation. I’m writing this from a high country elk camp in western Colorado where I’m enjoying public land access and hunting opportunities that I hope will continue to be available for our kids and future generations. Thanks again for the well written article…and also to the photographer!

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Kristyn Brady

October 25, 2019

14 Reasons to Celebrate Theodore Roosevelt on His Birthday

We’re not the only ones who look to America’s conservation president for inspiration

While conservation and partnership are key to our mission, perhaps the most important part of the TRCP’s moniker is our namesake, the patron saint of conservation, public lands policy, and progress for fish and wildlife populations: Theodore Roosevelt. Most would agree that this bespectacled badass set us all up to succeed in safeguarding what makes the wildest parts of our country special. And he was well known for touting the value of spending time outdoors to heal, find solitude, and test one’s strength.

May we always follow his example.

On Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday, October 27, we will wrap up a week-long celebration of his conservation legacy. Thanks for following along and for your support of the TRCP throughout the year. Today, we end the week with thoughts from our staff, partners, members, and industry friends on what T.R. means to them. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Randy Newberg.

“My lesson taken from Roosevelt’s legacy is that conservation is always difficult, is always uncomfortable, and always inconvenient. Such was the case 115 years ago, and such is the case today; as it will always be.” — Randy Newberg, hunter and public lands advocate

“Theodore Roosevelt felt that all Americans should have the chance to prove themselves in the wild and enjoy the incredible natural resources that our forests, rivers, mountains, and prairies provide. His vision inspired the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and his forward-thinking actions have made all of us richer in our ability to access public lands for recreation. We strive to honor his legacy by continuing to build upon his vision.” Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

“Learning about T.R. in high school changed the course of my life. He inspired me to trust myself. Over the years, I have leaned on his words for strength—his ‘man in the arena’ speech taught me that failure was part of taking chances, but that it doesn’t define you.” — Christopher Hall, Talkeetna, Alaska

“These days, it’s easy to take for granted the things that Theodore Roosevelt fought so hard to establish, including opportunities to hunt and fish on public lands. Roosevelt’s birthday gives us an opportunity to reflect on the incredible vision for conservation and public lands that he instilled into the national conscience through sheer will and a determination to fight for future generations.” — Jared Mott, conservation director for the Izaak Walton League of America

Photo courtesy of YETI.

“Teddy Roosevelt inspired me to grow a mustache. However, I know it’ll never be as thick as T.R.’s, a man who protected 230 million acres of land for public use. I won’t stop trying, nor will I stop roaming and exploring the land he set aside for me. Thank you, Teddy!” — Sloane Brown, hunting expert at YETI

“I don’t think it’s widely known that Teddy Roosevelt grew up sickly in urban New York City. This may have been what drew him to the wonders of nature and to experience the healing powers of time spent outside. No matter what the activity—hiking, hunting, or fishing—Teddy treasured the beauty of the outdoors and dedicated himself to preserving these places for future generations. Let’s continue this legacy of protecting our public lands and waters and connecting people with the incredible economic, social, and health benefits of outdoor recreation.” — Jessica Wahl, executive director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

“When I teach my students about the Progressive Era, I go above and beyond to stress the significant impact that T.R. made on this country, and particularly how he fought to change public perception of how our wildlife and other natural resources should be utilized. He not only championed our natural resources, but he significantly altered the president’s role in serving as the steward of our public resources. I hope that my teaching will help to pass on his legacy to future generations.” — Matthew Ryan, high school history teacher in Ohio

“For a man with all the means in the world at his disposal, T.R. took it upon himself to provide for all, not just the wealthy and privileged. He had ample opportunity to throw in the towel on his career with each milestone and accolade, but he kept going and fought with equal tenacity for causes both popular and unpopular, like the notions of public land and national forests open to all.” — Ryan Callaghan, conservation director for MeatEater

“The legacy of Theodore Roosevelt looms large in the mind of the avid angler as the result of our 26th president’s commitment to the conservation of public lands. His bold ideas and relentless pursuit to maintain the nation’s natural resources has created boundless opportunities for anglers to pursue one of America’s favorite pastimes. As we celebrate his 161st birthday, I am reminded of his efforts—as he would put it—’to work hard at work worth doing.’ All of us at ASA have worked hard and will continue to lead by his example to make sure public lands and waters remain open to foster the next generation of anglers.” — Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association

“Among the scores of conservation giants who have influenced our nation’s conservation history and ethic, critically few politicians make the list. POTUS Roosevelt truly stands out as one of America’s most stalwart and effective politicians advocating a pro-hunting and conservation-based idealism.” — Dan Forster, vice president and chief conservation officer of the Archery Trade Association

Photo by @othercindylou on Instagram.

“Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy reminds me that when the world is too much, when I am hurting and need a reprieve, I can find the solace I need in the wilderness. He lost his wife and mother the very same day. That would break most people, and yet he retreated to the only place that could make him whole again, the open lands of the West, and came out of it a few years later a stronger, more determined man than ever. I never suffered a loss like his, but I suffered greatly for many years, and the countless hours spent in the woods, finally gaining some footing and developing as a hunter, have had the same end result for me. I am stronger, I am determined, and I will forge on.” — Cindy Stites, hunter and dedicated conservation volunteer in Indiana

“Every morning when I wake up, I try to ask myself, ‘What would Theodore Roosevelt do?’ If we all do that every day, our hunting and fishing opportunities and public lands legacy will be secure for future generations to ask that exact same question.” — Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

“I am blessed to work along the Carolina coast managing the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area. We have nearly 300 acres of old-growth maritime forest and estuarine habitat preserved in an area that has seen a tremendous amount of development over the past 50 years. Roosevelt’s dedication to conservation and land management is inspiring to so many of us, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of all who walk our trails and explore our shore.” — Wayne Justice, Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina

“Theodore Roosevelt was an avid sportsman and hunter, and his devotion to conserving our natural and cultural history established a precedent for our nation. It is because of trailblazers like Teddy Roosevelt that we continue to have the privilege of investing in conservation to benefit both wildlife and people. He believed in cherishing our natural resources, not wasting them, and is remembered as a true pioneer of conservation.” — Adam Putnam, CEO of Ducks Unlimited                                                      

“I credit TR and his example with my decision to leave the real estate business and pursue land conservation in the West full time. I also credit T.R.’s ability to work harder than anyone, have plenty of irons in the fire, and embrace the strenuous life with inspiring me to start my own podcast, which highlights innovators of the American West, like ranchers, writers, conservationists, athletes, adventurers, and artists. It’s no exaggeration that, other than my family, TR has been the biggest influence on my life and career.” — Ed Roberson, Colorado Springs, Colo.

“President Roosevelt preached the virtues of hard work and commitment, knowing a passion for outdoor pursuits would sustain the nation into the future. 161 years later, fly fishermen are still supporting conservation every day, ensuring we have healthy water, habitat, and fisheries.” — Patrick Berry, president and CEO of Fly Fishers International

 

How does Theodore Roosevelt inspire you? Tell us in the comments.

Top photo courtesy of Harvard College Library. HOLLIS Image: Roosevelt Class No. 520.3, 560.3

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.”

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.

 

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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