March 1, 2013

Stemming the Tide of Wetland Loss

Whether you’re tangling with redfish in the Mississippi Delta, casting for bonefish in the Florida Keys or in a duck blind in North Dakota, America’s wetlands and waterways provide unrivaled fishing and hunting opportunities.

  • Coastal wetlands and the incalculable economic and ecological benefits they provide face significant threats from erosion, overdevelopment, invasive species, oil spills and climate change.
  • Across the farm belt, prairie pothole wetlands are being drained for intensive crop production. In some regions, up to 90 percent of these critical wetlands, often called the North American duck factory, already have been lost.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 100,000 acres of wetlands are lost every year.
  • A first step in reversing the trend of wetland loss is to restore Clean Water Act protections to the potholes, marshes and tidal flats upon which fish, waterfowl and countless other species depend.
  • America’s hunting and angling heritage rests on our ability to conserve wetlands across the country.

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February 19, 2013

North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Thanks to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, America’s hunting and fishing resources are characterized by a unique system of management.

  • Hunting and fishing in North America, and the management of our wildlife and fisheries, are characterized by a unique and successful system of management called the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
  • Underlying principles behind the North American Model include the ideas that 1) wildlife is owned by the public, 2) wildlife can be killed only for legitimate purposes and 3) the management of our wildlife resources should be accomplished through science-based management.
  • The model is a concept that distinguishes the U.S. and Canada from many other nations where the opportunities to hunt are restricted to those who have special status, such as land ownership, wealth or other privilege.

February 17, 2013

Small Game and Hunting Access

Small game hunting has a special place in the hearts of hunters and is the perfect platform from which to introduce people to hunting, ethics and the outdoors.

  • For most of America’s history, gaining access to hunting grounds has been as easy as a knocking on a landowner’s door, but with public access declining, it becomes harder to get kids hunting.
  • Hunters and anglers contribute $7.4 billion a year in taxes and fees and help to fund some of the most important conservation work.
  • Programs such as the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Program have been short-changed by Congress, and with the Farm Bill still not signed, states have had to put access programs on hold.

February 12, 2013

Feral Pigs and the Impacts of Invasive Species

Steven addresses the widespread problems created by exotic and invasive wild pig populations across the United States and how hunters are engaged in the effort to solve the problem.

  • Feral pigs destroy native plant communities by their rooting and trampling, reducing forage and altering habitat for native fish and wildlife species important to sportsmen.
  • Feral pigs out-compete native wildlife for food and other valuable resources, spread parasites and diseases, and substantially decrease water quality.
  • The only long-term solution to many of these problems is reducing pig population’s size and range.

February 1, 2013

Why Conservation Funding is Important to Sportsmen and the Economy

Steven discusses the economic benefits of public lands conservation programs and the importance of adequately funding these programs in light of the many financial challenges facing our country.

  • Federal spending on natural resources makes up only 1.62 percent of our total budget, but that’s some of the hardest working money we spend.
  • Every dollar we put into land acquisition contributes about $2 to the U.S. economy.
  • Hunting and fishing generate more than $6.3 billion in annual tax revenues and create more than 900,000 sustainable American jobs.
  • Federal investment in public lands (parks, refuges, trails, rivers, recreation areas and national forests) drives a conservation, recreation and historic preservation sector of the economy that supports 9.4 million U.S. jobs. Whether manufacturing, retail or service related, most of these jobs are resource or tourism based and cannot be exported.
  • The combination of conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation is responsible for more than $1 trillion in economic activity and more than $107 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
  • Congress has an opportunity not only to continue the strong tradition of conservation in our country but also to grow our way back to fiscal health through the economic benefits provided by outdoor sports and recreation.

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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