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January 14, 2016

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TRCP TO CELEBRATE THREE EXTRAORDINARY CHAMPIONS OF HABITAT CONSERVATION

News for Immediate Release

Jan. 14, 2016

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

Philanthropist Louis Bacon, Sen. Martin Heinrich, and Sen. James Risch will be recognized at eighth annual awards dinner in April 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is proud to announce the recipients of our eighth annual Capital Conservation Awards, to be presented on April 27, 2016, to three honorees building a legacy of support for fish and wildlife on Capitol Hill and across the country.

The TRCP’s 2016 Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award will go to Louis Bacon, a conservation philanthropist and founder of The Moore Charitable Foundation, Inc. As the president of MCF and chairman of its affiliate foundations, Bacon has spent more than two decades conserving threatened habitat, protecting open spaces and safeguarding clean water through the support of more than 200 local, national, and international organizations. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international organization of over 260 Waterkeeper organizations working across six continents to protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways.

Bacon has authorized conservation easements on more than 210,600 acres throughout the United States—including a parcel which is the largest such donation received by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a critical step in the establishment of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area as the nation’s 558th unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Combined with additional donations authorized by Bacon of conservation easements on Tercio and Red River Ranches, these donations help form a landscape-scale conservation effort of 800,000 acres of protected lands stretching from Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado to northern New Mexico.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) will be presented with the 2016 James D. Range Conservation Award—named after TRCP’s co-founder and conservation visionary—for their dedication to protecting what sportsmen value from both sides of the aisle in Congress.

An avid sportsman, Sen. Heinrich has championed conservation funding, clean water protections, and the expansion of recreational access to America’s public lands. He is the principal Democratic co-sponsor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which would reauthorize key conservation programs and protect public access to hunting and fishing, and has staunchly opposed the transfer of national public lands to individual Western states.

Sen. Risch is a leader of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and has co-sponsored legislation designed to reauthorize key conservation programs, put an end to fire borrowing, and promote renewable energy on public lands. As governor of Idaho, Risch worked with local government, tribes, conservation groups, and sportsmen to author a strong state roadless rule that protects national forests.

The TRCP’s gala event in April will bring together policy-makers, conservation advocates, and outdoor industry leaders at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about the TRCP’s Capital Conservation Awards.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

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January 13, 2016

Another Vote, Another Veto: Congress Moves to Derail Protection for Smaller Streams and Wetlands (Again)

The latest attempt to strike down the Clean Water Rule would prevent protection of headwater streams and wetlands

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives took advantage of a rarely-used legislative process known as the Congressional Review Act to attempt to kill the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, which clarifies Clean Water Act jurisdiction over headwater streams and wetlands. The Senate used the same expedited process to pass this joint resolution (S.J.Res.22) back in November 2015, so the bill now goes to the President, who has threatened to veto it. Sportsmen urge him to follow through on that threat.

“Once again, Congress has proven that they’re way out of touch with sportsmen on clean water,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Rather than sending trout and salmon spawning areas and waterfowl nesting habitat back into regulatory confusion, hunters and anglers want to see the Clean Water Rule implemented, so we can leave a legacy of healthy waterways for the next generation of sportsmen and women, while preserving existing assurances for farmers, ranchers, and foresters.”

By passing this resolution, lawmakers are disregarding the views of nearly 900,000 Americans, who were vocal in their support of the Clean Water Rule during the public comment period, and 83 percent of hunters and anglers polled, who said they want the Clean Water Act to protect smaller streams and wetlands.

Earlier this week, the TRCP sent Congress a letter opposing S.J. Res. 22 on behalf of eight hunting and fishing groups. The letter says “the Clean Water Rule will translate directly to an improved bottom line for America’s outdoor industry,” which, in the sportfishing sector alone, accounts for 828,000 jobs, nearly $50 billion in annual retail sales, and an economic impact of about $115 billion a year.

Learn more about the Clean Water Rule here.

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HOUSE VOTE TO UNDERMINE CLEAN WATER PROTECTIONS IS HARMFUL TO SPORTING OPPORTUNITIES

News for Immediate Release

Jan. 13, 2016

Contact: Kristyn Brady, 617-501-6352, kbrady@trcp.org

The latest attempt to strike down the Clean Water Rule would prevent protection of headwater streams and wetlands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives took advantage of a rarely-used legislative process known as the Congressional Review Act to attempt to kill the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, which clarifies Clean Water Act jurisdiction over headwater streams and wetlands. The Senate used the same expedited process to pass this joint resolution (S.J.Res.22) back in November 2015, so the bill now goes to the President, who has threatened to veto it. Sportsmen urge him to follow through on that threat.

“Once again, Congress has proven that they’re way out of touch with sportsmen on clean water,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Rather than sending trout and salmon spawning areas and waterfowl nesting habitat back into regulatory confusion, hunters and anglers want to see the Clean Water Rule implemented, so we can leave a legacy of healthy waterways for the next generation of sportsmen and women, while preserving existing assurances for farmers, ranchers, and foresters.”

By passing this resolution, lawmakers are disregarding the views of nearly 900,000 Americans, who were vocal in their support of the Clean Water Rule during the public comment period, and 83 percent of hunters and anglers polled, who said they want the Clean Water Act to protect smaller streams and wetlands.

Earlier this week, the TRCP sent Congress a letter opposing S.J. Res. 22 on behalf of eight hunting and fishing groups. The letter says “the Clean Water Rule will translate directly to an improved bottom line for America’s outdoor industry,” which, in the sportfishing sector alone, accounts for 828,000 jobs, nearly $50 billion in annual retail sales, and an economic impact of about $115 billion a year.

Learn more about the Clean Water Rule here.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

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Take Our Water Wheel of Fortune for a Spin

Interactive tool shows what is possible for water conservation with increased funding in 2016

In December, we wrote that Congress struck a spending deal that makes significant investments in conservation. While it doesn’t exactly amount to a big Powerball jackpot for sportsmen, this bill does begin to reverse a decades-long decline for funding that impacts fish and wildlife habitat.

We’ve updated this interactive water budget tool on our website, so you can get a full picture of how Congress plans to pay for water conservation, in particular, this year. But, if pie charts (even incredibly cool ones) aren’t your thing, here’s a breakdown of how spending on freshwater species, from public lands to private lands, will shape up in 2016—making your days on the water even better.

This Smart Water Program

The end-of-year spending bill extends the WaterSMART Grant Program, administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, and invests 15 percent more in the program than last year. That means more critical grants can go to locally-driven water conservation projects. Sportsmen have been asking for a bigger spend on WaterSMART and assurances that this successful program would not expire—and we got both.

A chunk of money that you won’t see reflected in our Sportsmen’s Water Budget has been earmarked for a response to Western drought, construction of fish passages, and other supplemental water conservation work. Congress has supplied this kind of funding to the Bureau of Reclamation every year since 2014, and this year $166 million—$100 million of which is for Western drought response—has been allocated. Reclamation must come up with a plan for how to spend this money by February 2016. If history is any guide, a significant chunk of the additional funds will go towards sportsmen’s needs: Last year, it was used to boost WaterSMART grant spending by 25 percent.

These Farm Bill Fundamentals

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s conservation funding was already set by the 2014 Farm Bill and depends on how many farmers sign up for conservation programs, Congress still had the power to cut these programs back. Thankfully, it did not cut the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), meaning it will still receive about $1.3 billion, which could go toward enrolling farm acres in efforts to increase irrigation efficiency or select crops right for local moisture conditions.

Unfortunately, Congress did cap funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) at $1.329 billion—that’s a loss of about $321 million that could have gone toward improving wetlands and other wildlife habitat. This has a domino effect on the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which helps award funds to projects that improve soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat, efficient use of water resources, and activities that otherwise support natural resources on private lands. It receives $100 million per year in base funding plus seven percent of the amounts made available for CSP, EQIP, and two other conservation programs. Therefore, the cut to EQIP will translate into a $22.5 million cut to RCPP.

But, overall, the combined effects of these funding changes at the Bureau of Reclamation and USDA mean there will be more money available this year for projects that restore fish and wildlife habitat, support agriculture, keep water in our rivers, and generally make water resources more resilient to drought, climate change, and increasing demand from a growing nation. That is all good news for sportsmen who need healthy waterways, which support the places where we love to hunt and fish.

No Dis-Chord on Clean Water

As any great jazz musician will tell you, sometimes the notes you don’t play matter as much as the ones that you do. Despite a strong push from lobbyists, Congress did not include a policy rider to block the Obama Administration’s clean water rule, which clarifies that Clean Water Act protections do indeed apply to 200,000 miles of headwater streams and certain wetlands to the benefit of trout, salmon, ducks, and other waterfowl.

The clean water rule is not out of the woods yet, so to speak (more on that later), but it appears that freshwater anglers and waterfowl hunters are starting out 2016 with some extra help from Congress.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

Learn More

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