Kristyn Brady

December 4, 2019

Fosburgh’s Senate Testimony Urges Congressional Action on Chronic Wasting Disease

In his third appearance before Congress this year, the TRCP’s president and CEO again presses lawmakers to invest in surveillance and testing for the deer disease that has sent state wildlife agencies scrambling to respond

In a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership President and CEO Whit Fosburgh continued to push lawmakers on the need for more meaningful federal action in the fight against chronic wasting disease. The always-fatal disease has spread rapidly among wild deer, elk, and moose populations in recent years and creates increasing uncertainty for hunters who represent a critical source of conservation funding in America.

The committee convened to discuss creating a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chronic wasting disease task force, but Fosburgh argued that this does not go far enough.

“Coordinating and expediting the federal response to CWD is important—and the task force proposed by this committee could help do this—but the single most important thing Congress can do to stop the spread of CWD is to give the states the resources they need to track and fight the disease in the wild,” Fosburgh testified. “Congress provided strong and consistent federal funding to assist the state wildlife agencies in responding to CWD through 2011, but when this funding ran out, states were forced to cut back on other programs to respond to the disease. Some simply stopped looking for it.”

Fosburgh pointed to the 2020 House Agriculture Appropriations bill, which would reestablish federal funding for CWD by providing $15 million to state wildlife agencies for surveillance and testing. That bill is currently in conference with the Senate, which provides just $2.5 million for wild deer in its bill.

“If members of this committee care about stopping CWD, I urge you to reach out to your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee and ask them to support the House level of $15 million in the Agriculture Appropriations bill,” he said. “Chronic wasting disease is a symptom of a systematic failure to invest in conservation. That is why America’s hunters and anglers so fervently hope that this Committee will help address the CWD crisis.”

Watch a video of the full hearing here.

The TRCP has asked sportsmen and women to call on lawmakers for these investments in the nationwide CWD response. Learn more here.

This hearing marks the fifth time this year that the TRCP has represented the interests of American sportsmen and women by delivering official testimony before Congress. View details on our previous testimony related to improving access to public landsthe five priority pieces of legislation that would invest in fish and wildlife habitathow to create drought solutions while enhancing conditions for fish in the Colorado River Basin, and how House lawmakers can step up in the fight against CWD.

 

Top photo by Kansas Tourism via flickr

9 Responses to “Fosburgh’s Senate Testimony Urges Congressional Action on Chronic Wasting Disease”

  1. We are already behind in stopping CWD and we can only slow it down if we act with all efforts now.
    Unless we require all hunted animals to be tested to know more precisely the impact of this disease then it will remain pervasive.

    • CWD/TSE is a cold blooded killer since getting out the backdoor at CSU in Ft Collins, Colo in late 60’s. It has the capacity to totally wipeout, at the very least, all our deer & elk, effectively eradicating big game hunting in the US. Considering it’s potential to wipe out hunting for deer & elk one would expect to see massive federal/state/commercial funding for research for a cure for CWD! It’s not looking good! Colorado’s CWD MAP seems to be spreading larger every year. Very little progress in curing CWD has been achieved.

  2. roger mcfadden

    we know cwd got its start at the Colorado big game research station in ft. Collins probably from purchased game farm animals. is anything being done with the game farm industry to pin down the cause and spread of this disease?

  3. Do not make the testing and/or transportation of harvested deer carcasses so involved or with too many restrictions that it would prevent hunters from participating in the hunt. The hunting population is declining, they don’t need more regulations to adhere to. But I do agree that more testing is needed. I’m in SD and am participating with the GFP on submitting samples for testing from the designated surveillance areas. I don’t fully understand why we are not submitting samples from all areas of the state, I’m sure it boils down to the costs involved.

  4. John Sampanes

    We need to let people know that bait piles or feeding deer on private property, farms and ranches may spread CWD because it can spread from animal to animal by saliva. Education and awareness may help inadvertent contamination.

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Randall Williams

November 22, 2019

Six Things We’re Grateful for This Thanksgiving

Rather than focus on what we need as hunters and anglers, let’s take a minute to appreciate what we have 

Every year around this time, we pause from the everyday distractions of the modern world to acknowledge those things in our lives for which we’re truly thankful. From family and friends to health and security, many indispensable parts of our lives can be easy to take for granted. 

It’s no secret that hunters and anglers face our share of challenges. No one knows this better than those “in the arena,” as T.R. would say, fighting against the unsustainable exploitation of our resources, unprecedented threats to our hunting traditions, and the rollback of our bedrock conservation laws. This is why we do our best to keep you informed on the issues that matter most. 

But in the spirit of next week’s holiday, we thought we’d take a moment to express our gratitude to things and people—in no particular order—that make our lives as hunters and anglers, and our work as conservationists, so rewarding. Sportsmen and women have a lot to be thankful for in this country and it’s worth remembering what makes this way of life possible.

Photo: Tim Donovan

 

Access in Abundance, Both Public and Private 

Whether it’s through the generosity of a landowner or the wealth of public lands owned by all, Americans enjoy a tremendous variety of opportunities to get outside and participate in our sporting traditions. We’re fortunate that our nation’s history saw the creation of both a vast public estate as well as a rich tradition of stewardship on family farms and ranches. 

A Shared Mission Among Strong Partners 

When new challenges emerge or opportunities arise in the world of conservation, bold leadership from our policy council and partner organizations ensure that we’ll know what’s going on, what’s at stake, and how to respond. On the issues that matter most to sportsmen and women, there is a robust community working tirelessly towards solutions that will secure a bright future for our fish and wildlife. Collaboration, consensus, and coordinated action allow us to present a united front and strengthen the voices of hunters and anglers. 

Photo: Les Anderson
Smart Policy and Dedicated Decisionmakers 

This year, we have seen a lot of good ideas and top priorities gain traction in Congress, like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and dedicated funding for LWCF. For all that we hear about dysfunction in Washington, D.C., there are lawmakers and public officials who take seriously the interests of our community and advance legislation and policy to benefit fish, wildlife, and access to our nation’s best hunting and fishing. 

A “Most Glorious Heritage”

As Americans, we benefit from a unique legacy of fish and wildlife stewardship, forged over more than a century by our predecessors in the sporting community. Every day on the water and trip afield, like every fish on the line or deer in the freezer, would not be possible without the hard work and problem-solving of earlier generations who took up the cause of conservation. These gifts are a powerful reminder that we must do our part if we hope to pass them on. 

Photo: Stephanie Raine
Businesses that See the Big Picture

Our work is made possible by the generosity of amazing corporate partners, such as SITKA GEAR’s pledge to match all new and increased donations to TRCP through December 31. We’re proud—and thankful—to have the support of industry-leading brands that recognize the critical role played by clean water, healthy habitat, and outdoor access in the economic futures of American businesses and communities. 

Everyday Advocates 

Of course, we owe everything to the hunters and anglers who comprise our membership and those of our partner organizations. It should never be forgotten that countless individuals dedicate their own time and money so that future ranks of sportsmen and women will inherit a strong outdoor tradition. As this season of harvest culminates in one major meal next week, we’ll be raising a glass to YOU, the lifeblood of conservation. Thank you for all your support of our work and America’s hunting and fishing traditions. 

 

Top photo: @kylemlynar on Instagram

Kristyn Brady

November 8, 2019

Fishermen Schooled Congress on These Three Possible Impacts of Pebble Mine

Sportsmen took the real concerns of the outdoor recreation economy to D.C. lawmakers

In a recent hearing of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, expert witnesses testified in opposition to the Pebble Mine project proposed for the headwaters of Bristol Bay in Alaska. Seated beside the CEO of the mining company that would benefit from the construction of Pebble, an environmental scientist, local sporting outfitter, and commercial fisherman highlighted the very real concerns of Alaskans and outdoor businesses.

Reminder: The now-infamous plan to carve out an open pit at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s two largest rivers would threaten clean water in one of the finest fishing destinations on Earth and degrade fish habitat in a region that produces about half the world’s sockeye salmon. If Pebble were constructed, billions of tons of mine waste could remain in the area forever.

But that’s not all. Here are three lessons lawmakers learned from anglers and experts who know the real stakes.

Spawning sockeye salmon. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
We’re Talking About 100% Consumption of the Habitat

Brian Kraft, owner of two remote sportfishing lodges in Alaska and an advocate for Bristol Bay’s salmon for the past 15 years, hosts fishing clients from every state in the nation and not one has failed to remark on how unique the landscape and fishery are. He says he and his wife understand the concerns of businesses in their community as part of the $65-million sportfishing industry in Alaska.

In his testimony, Kraft pointed out that the simple question of “Is this the right place to mine?” can only be answered when you assume that the mine will consume 100 percent of the habitat it touches. In this particular case, you can’t directionally drill and you can’t shift the ore deposit, so the smaller of the two mine proposals would still consume 80 miles of streams and 3,500 acres of wetlands in an area that was legislatively preserved for its fisheries in 1972.

Photo by Chris Ford via flickr.
The Army Corps Has Yet to Address the Concerns of Salmon Fishermen

Three generations of Mark Niver’s family have worked as commercial fishermen in Alaska, and as an expert witness, he pointed out that fishermen are just one link in a chain—Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery employs 14,000 people every summer and generates $1.5 billion in worldwide economic activity. But he adds that this wouldn’t be possible without the area’s pristine, undeveloped freshwater habitat and science-based fisheries management. “For over a decade, the proposed Pebble Mine has cast a shadow of uncertainty over my livelihood and my family’s future,” he said. “Nowhere in the world has a mine of this type and size been located in a place as ecologically sensitive as Bristol Bay.”

After weighing in thoughtfully at multiple stages of the lengthy public process to consider the mine, commercial fishermen have not had their concerns adequately addressed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Niver told lawmakers that he fears the permitting process is a runaway train toward approval, despite the science indicating that salmon and Pebble Mine cannot coexist.

Photo by Jonny Armstrong.
Unless the Proposed Footprint is Expanded, the Mine Will Lose Money

In his testimony, geologist and environmental scientist Richard Borden agreed that energy development is necessary in our society, but not all ore deposits can or should be mined. He believes Bristol Bay is the most “sensitive, globally significant, and challenging environmental setting” of any project he’s ever reviewed in more than 30 years of consulting for the mining industry, and the environmental impact statement completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in haste six months ago is deeply flawed. But, perhaps most surprisingly, he points out that the mining company is basing their timeline and promises about impact avoidance on examples of much smaller mines. To construct a mine on a scale that—they say—would minimize environmental risks, investors would certainly lose money, and pressures to expand the mine’s footprint would likely follow.

Now You Have Three Reasons to Get Involved

This testimony gives anglers three more reasons to speak out against Pebble Mine and safeguard habitat and our fishing opportunities in Bristol Bay. Sportsmen and women sent thousands of messages to the Army Corps during the last public comment period, but our lawmakers need to hear from YOU to influence Bristol Bay’s future. Reach out to your senators NOW using our simple action tool.

 

Watch the subcommittee hearing on the Pebble Mine project here.

Top photo by Wild Salmon Center.

Randall Williams

November 1, 2019

Alaskans: Show Up and Speak Out for Public Lands!

Hunting and fishing on public land in Alaska is at risk

The Forest Service recently released a draft proposal that would roll back conservation measures for 9.2 million acres of public lands in the Tongass National Forest. RIGHT NOW, you can 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.

Please consider attending a local public meeting in the next few weeks (see schedule below) and share your perspective as a local public land user. We need to speak up for our traditions and for the importance of balanced use of public resources.

Here are a few things you can say in a meeting to make an impact:

  • The Tongass National Forest provides hunters with some of the finest and most readily available opportunities to pursue Sitka blacktail deer, and it is among the world’s largest wild-salmon-producing regions. [Tell your personal hunting or fishing story.]
  • An Alaska roadless rule exemption would eliminate conservation safeguards from 9.2 million acres of unroaded and undeveloped national forests in the Tongass. This proposal is extreme, and it could open some of Alaska’s best hunting and fishing areas to development, degrading spawning habitat for salmon and negatively affecting wildlife habitat over the long-term.
  • I request that the Forest Service maintain safeguards for roadless areas within the Tongass National Forest.

Visit the project webpage for the most up-to-date schedule.

Monday, November 4, 2019
  • JUNEAU
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 7 PM
    Location: Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, Room #1, 320 Willoughby Ave.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
  • KETCHIKAN
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, 50 Main St.
  • YAKUTAT
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9PM
    Location: ANB Hall
  • TENAKEE SPRINGS
    Public Meeting: 10 AM – 11:30 AM
    Subsistence Hearing: 12 PM – 2 PM
    Location: Community Center
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
  • CRAIG
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Craig Tribal Association Hall, 1330 Craig-Klawock Highway
  • ANCHORAGE
    Public Meeting: 6 PM – 8 PM
    Location: University of Alaska, Gorsuch Commons, Room #106, 3211 Providence Dr.
  • WRANGELL
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Nolan Center, 296 Campbell Dr.
Thursday, November 7, 2019
  • GUSTAVUS
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Gustavus School Commons   
  • PETERSBURG
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Petersburg Borough, Assembly Chambers
Friday, November 8, 2019
  • KAKE
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Senior Center, 251 Totem Way
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
  • HYDABURG
    Public Meeting: 9 AM – 10:30 AM
    Subsistence Hearing: 11 AM – 1 PM
    Location: City Hall
  • ANGOON
    Public Meeting: 10 AM – 11:30 AM
    Subsistence Hearing: 12 PM – 2 PM
    Location: Angoon Community Association
  • SITKA
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Centennial Hall, King Salmon Room, 330 Harbor Dr.
  • KASAAN
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Totem Trail Café
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
  • THORNE BAY
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Thorne Bay Ranger District, 1312 Federal Way
Thursday, November 14, 2019
  • POINT BAKER
    Public Meeting: 10 AM – 11:30 AM
    Subsistence Hearing: 11:30 AM–1:30 PM
    Location: Point Baker Community Building
  • HOONAH
    Public Meeting: 5 PM – 6:30 PM
    Subsistence Hearing: 7 PM – 9 PM
    Location: Hoonah Ranger District, 420 Airport Road
  • WASHINGTON, D.C.
    Public Meeting: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
    Location: Holiday Inn Washington Capitol, Congressional II Rm, 550 C St. SW

We’ve also made it easy for you to comment via email. Take action using our simple tool.


Photo by Frances Biles via USFS Alaska Region flickr.

Five Public Lands Bills to Have on Your Radar

This Congress continues to show an appetite for boosting outdoor recreation opportunities on lands open to all Americans

After a historic win for public lands across the U.S. in March—we’re talking, of course, about the milestone package of legislation that permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund and made many other improvements that benefit hunters and anglers—conservation and access advocates aren’t resting on their laurels. And Congress continues to show an appetite for passing commonsense legislation that boosts access, habitat, or funding for fish and wildlife resources, even with an incredible amount of to-dos lined up to distract them.

Here are five bills on the move that you should know about.

Photo by Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Instagram.
The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act

The CORE Act would safeguard approximately 400,000 acres of Colorado’s most rugged landscapes that define an outdoor way of life—particularly the sprawling Thompson Divide, where thousands of hunters pursue elk each year. Roughly half of the area is roadless and provides refuge for abundant fish and wildlife populations. The bill, which has benefited from the input and the support of a long list of diverse stakeholders, including sportsmen and women and business leaders, passed out of committee in July and succeeded in a 227-182 vote on the House floor this week.

Next step: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee should move forward with a legislative hearing on the CORE Act in the near future.

Photo by flickr user Cowgirl Jules.
The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act

Across our nation’s public lands, hunters, anglers, guides, and outfitters find legal access difficult, but not always because of closed gates or lack of trails: A complicated and outmoded process for permitting outdoor recreation activities on public lands can keep kayaks in storage and guide vehicles stuck in park.

Supported by the TRCP and championed by partners like the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, the Outdoor Industry Association, and others, the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act seeks to improve access to public lands by modernizing the process of permitting for certain kinds of outdoor recreation—including by bringing that process online—and creating a system of National Recreation Areas. It would also help prioritize access improvements that benefit military veterans and emphasizes the need for adequate staffing of facilities on our public lands. Expert witnesses from the outdoor recreation industry testified in support of the RNR Act in both a House Small Business Committee hearing and a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing this week.

Next step: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee can now move forward with passage. In the House, the legislation has been referred to multiple committees, and an agreement should be reached by leadership to move this important and bipartisan legislation forward to the floor.

Photo by Grand Canyon National Park via flickr.
The Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act

Passed on the House floor this week with a bipartisan vote count, this bill would make permanent the 20-year mining withdrawals that were made administratively in 2012, aimed at protecting the lands around Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining. In a place that has long been associated with Theodore Roosevelt and is one of the most iconic landscapes in all the world, uranium mining poses an unacceptable risk to the region’s air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and critically important outdoor economy. H.R. 1373 has been a longtime priority of Arizona sportsmen and women.

Next step: The House passed the legislation this week by a vote of 236-185, and while there is not a Senate companion at this point, the legislation should be made a priority in that chamber, as well.

“The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison–beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

The Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation Act

Similar to the Recreation Not Red-Tape Act, the SOAR Act is supported by businesses and nonprofits across the industry and would help ensure the continued growth of the $887-billion outdoor recreation economy by further improving and modernizing the recreational permitting process on public lands.

The legislation reauthorizes the permitting authority of the BLM and Forest Service, and it brings the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation under the authority of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, allowing those agencies to retain and reinvest permit fees. Importantly, the bill also allows agencies to issue a single permit when a trip crosses an agency boundary, a significant improvement over current policy which requires multiple permits for the same trip.

S.1665 was also included in this week’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing, which featured testimony from leaders of the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, education and research initiatives, and the ski industry.

Next step: With hearings complete, it is time for both the House and Senate Committees to move this bill forward for floor votes.

Photo by flickr user mksfca.
The Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2019

Another effort to balance demands on public lands from energy development, this House bill would protect areas around Chaco Canyon—a world heritage site known for its archaeological significance and cultural importance—from oil and gas development. The legislation would make permanent a current administrative deferral of oil and gas leasing instituted by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt earlier this year. It was passed in a bipartisan 245–174 vote on the House floor this week. Besides the buildings and sacred dwellings still standing from the 9th,  10th, and 11th centuries, Chaco Canyon is also home to pronghorn antelope and mule deer.

Next step: A Senate companion bill was introduced and debated in committee early this year. That will have to move to successful floor consideration in the Senate before these can be conferenced, likely as part of a bigger comprehensive public lands package.

 

Top photo by Tom Koerner/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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