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posted in: Press Releases

February 9, 2021

TRCP Welcomes Five New Board Members

James A. Baker IV takes the reins as Chairman

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is pleased to announce the onboarding of five new directors to its leadership team. Aileen Lee, Clarke Ohrstrom, Laura Orvidas, John Redpath, and Elizabeth Storer bring a diverse set of experience to the TRCP’s Board of Directors.

“We are thrilled to welcome these five incredible individuals to the TRCP family,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Our Board of Directors sets the direction of our organization and empowers us to achieve our mission of guaranteeing all Americans quality places to hunt and fish. With these leaders at the helm, TRCP is well positioned to continue its nonpartisan advocacy, coalition building, and thought leadership on national conservation issues.”

Additionally, James A. Baker IV is taking over as TRCP’s Board Chairman. Baker recently retired as a partner in the Washington office of Baker Botts, LLP, and co-chair of the firm’s global projects. Earlier in his career, Baker served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Majority Leader. He is a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned his B.S. in Economics, and then went on to graduate with his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

Aileen Lee
Aileen Lee is the chief program officer of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Environmental Conservation Program. Prior to joining the foundation, Lee was an associate principal at McKinsey & Company, where she led client engagements in strategy, operations, and organizational effectiveness across a wide range of sectors. She currently serves on the boards of the Climate and Land Use Alliance, the Biodiversity Funders Group, and the Coral Reef Alliance. She attended Yale University, where she received a B.A. in political science and East Asian studies. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and is a member of the California bar.

Clarke Ohrstrom
Clarke Ohrstrom is the founder and CEO of Finest Butcher and Primalurge Foods and the CEO of Whitewood Stable Inc., a cattle and horse farm in The Plains, Virginia. Ohrstrom is also the founding partner of Whitewood Farm Mitigation Bank, Northern Virginia’s largest wetlands and riparian credit bank. He is the co-executive director of The Ohrstrom Foundation, and serves on the board of the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, Virginia. He is a 1985 graduate of Wesleyan University.

Laura Orvidas
Laura Orvidas is the CEO of onX, the industry leader in digital mapping, where her team creates technology to help hunters and outdoor adventurers enjoy public land. Prior to her time at onX, Orvidas was Amazon’s vice president of consumer electronics— one of the largest product categories for the online retailer, bringing in billions of sales each year. She also served on a global leadership team focused on combining science, data, and technology to increase productivity and facilitate senior leadership training. Orvidas is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University.

John Redpath
John Redpath is the CEO of TrailStone LLC, a global energy merchant focused on trading and providing risk management services to wind and solar asset owners. Prior to founding TrailStone, he had a 20-year career on Wall Street as a commodity trader and trading manager. He lives and works in Austin, Texas and has a farm in Vermont. He received his B.A. in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and completed two years of graduate study at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Elizabeth Storer
Elizabeth Storer is president and CEO of the George B. Storer Foundation, a 66-year-old family foundation that funds large-landscape conservation work in Wyoming and is a national funder for advancing nature-based pre-school education, public lands protection and rural electric cooperative reform. Storer previously ran her own communications and marketing consulting business and has served on the boards of numerous conservation organizations. She received TRCP’s Conservation Leadership Award in 2019. She holds B.A. and M.F.A. degrees from the University of Southern California, and lives with her partner, Luther Propst, in Jackson, WY.

To see the full  Board of Directors roster, click HERE.

 

Photo by  Miguel Salas, National Park Service.

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Andrew Earl

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posted in: Press Releases

February 5, 2021

U.S. Department of Agriculture Moves to Boost Private Lands Conservation

Farmers and ranchers have more time to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program

Heeding calls from the hunting and fishing community, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced it’s extending enrollment for the Conservation Reserve Program—the nation’s most successful private lands conservation initiative.

Since 1985, the Conservation Reserve Program has offered incentives for American farmers, ranchers, and landowners to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and create wildlife habitat. The current enrollment period for general signup was set to expire on February 12, but the USDA has announced it will be extending that deadline to “evaluate and implement changes.”

“Getting more landowners signed up for the Conservation Reserve Program will improve soil, water, and habitat health,” said Andrew Earl, director of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s private lands program. “Increased enrollment also benefits sportsmen and sportswomen who hunt and fish on private land, while providing economic support for farmers and ranchers. Further, the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool in our toolbox of land- and water-based solutions to climate change.”

CRP has helped restore more than 2.3 million acres of wetlands and set aside land that has sequestered more than 12 million metric tons of carbon. Despite these notable successes, enrollment in the program has been dwindling.

The program is currently at a three-decade low of 20.7 million acres enrolled. Just two years ago, Congress increased the program’s acreage cap from 24 to 27 million acres in response to rampant landowner interest. However, in the time since, significant changes to rental rate formulas and incentive reductions have diminished the attractiveness of the program.

The TRCP has been raising alarms about the weakening of the CRP over the past few years and has laid out a plan to strengthen the program moving forward.

Visit the TRCP’s interactive model farm to see how the CRP and other Farm Bill conservation programs make an impact for wildlife habitat, soil and water quality, and sportsmen’s access.

 

Photo by Lance Cheung, USDA

Madeleine West

February 2, 2021

Hunters and Anglers Cheer Reintroduction of Colorado Public Lands Legislation

Widely popular CORE Act would open miles of public fishing access and protect big game habitat

Several of the nation’s leading sporting conservation groups are proclaiming their support for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act aimed at preserving more than 400,000 acres of public lands and waters in Colorado, including significant protection for the fish and wildlife habitat most valued by the sporting community.

Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Representatives Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jason Crow introduced the legislation in both chambers with support from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, National Wildlife Federation, and Artemis.

“The CORE Act preserves prime hunting and fishing destinations across Colorado,” said Madeleine West, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Center for Public Lands. “This legislation is built with support from local communities, businesses, and recreation and sporting groups—a model for the way on the ground conservation should happen. We want to thank the Colorado delegation for listening to hunters and anglers and working to strengthen habitat for fish and wildlife for future generations.”

The bill merges four previously independent bills into a single public lands package covering portions of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado, the Curecanti National Recreation Area near Gunnison, the Thompson Divide southwest of Glenwood Springs and the Continental Divide surrounding the WWII alpine training grounds at Camp Hale. The proposed legislation would conserve critical cold-water streams, enhance high-value habitat for several species of wildlife, and increase public access for anglers in some of Colorado’s premier fisheries.

“Hunters and anglers in Colorado and throughout the nation recognize the importance of protecting the unique landscapes the CORE Act represents and the fish and wildlife that depend upon them,” said Scott Willoughby, Colorado public lands coordinator for Trout Unlimited’s Angler Conservation Program. “As we continue to see habitat deteriorate and public access to quality fishing and hunting areas decline, it has become painfully obvious that passing the provisions found in the CORE Act is long overdue. ‘Hunters and Anglers for CORE’ remain as committed to seeing this legislation across the finish line as we are to upholding our sporting traditions for future generations in Colorado.”

A recent Trout Unlimited analysis of fish and wildlife habitat protected in the bill’s framework found that the CORE Act safeguards some 2,416 miles of streams, 100 miles of native cutthroat trout stream habitat, 12 cutthroat trout lakes spanning 804 acres, nearly 7 miles of Gold Medal fishing water and an additional 88 miles of Gold Medal waters downstream of protected headwater landscapes. The bill would also open about 12 miles of public fishing access in the Gunnison River basin, protect hundreds of thousands of acres of critical elk and mule deer range and nearly 100,000 acres of important migration corridors at a time when both the State and Federal government have prioritized protecting animal migration routes.

“The CORE Act protects important wildlife habitat, including headwaters and migration corridors critical to the health of Colorado River cutthroat trout, elk, mule deer, rocky mountain bighorn sheep, desert bighorn sheep and many other species,” said Brien Webster, program manager for Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “This bill has been years in the making through local stakeholder collaboration. Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers remains committed to helping pass the CORE Act, securing needed protections for wildlife and habitat and expanded recreational access for sportsmen and women.”

The bill designates 73,000 acres of wilderness, nearly 80,000 acres of new recreation and conservation management areas, and withdraws mineral rights on 200,000-acres in the water- and wildlife-rich Thompson Divide area southwest of Glenwood Springs.

Highlights of CORE Act habitat protection benefiting hunters and anglers:

Curecanti Boundary Establishment Act

In addition to formally establishing the boundary of Curecanti National Recreation Area and improving coordination among land management agencies, the bill ensures the Bureau of Reclamation upholds its commitment to expand public fishing access in the basin, which was lost when the Aspinall Unit was created. The Bureau originally agreed to provide 26 miles of public fishing access in the Gunnison Basin, but has only accounted for about 14 miles to date.

Within Curecanti, 9,180-acre Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the U.S. and, along with neighboring Morrow Point Reservoir, has accounted for multiple state records for rainbow trout, mackinaw and kokanee, along with trophy brown trout. The Gunnison River, from 200 yards downstream of Crystal Dam and through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to its confluence with the North Fork, is designated Gold Medal and Wild Trout Water, including 2.4 miles within Curecanti NRA. Formal boundary designation will also add a layer of protection for 2.2 miles of cutthroat trout stream and 775 acres of cutthroat lake habitat, 5,926 acres of mule deer migration corridor and 7,123 acres of elk migration corridor along with 50,323 acres of elk winter range.

Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act

With its bounty of fish and wildlife habitat, the Thompson Divide area remains critically important to sportsmen and women in Colorado and across the nation. The three main game management units that lie within its boundary are among the most desirable to elk and mule deer hunters in the state, and the largely roadless area serves as year-round habitat for those and other species. More than 34,000 acres within Thompson Divide double as elk migration corridors.

The area also contains several conservation populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout, considered critical to the recovery and maintenance of the species to its native range. Among the 1,550 miles of stream radiating in all directions off Thompson Divide, about 83 miles qualify as native cutthroat stream habitat along with nearly 12 acres of cutthroat lake habitat. The northern boundary of the withdrawal and protection area includes 4.4 miles of Gold Medal fishing water along the Roaring Fork River, and Thompson Divide’s headwater tributaries extend to additional high-quality fisheries in the North Fork of the Gunnison River, the Crystal River and the Colorado River, which sustain surrounding retailers, fishing guides and outfitters that help drive the local recreation economy.

Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act

The nearly 100,000 acres along the Continental Divide surrounding Camp Hale served as the genesis of Colorado’s robust outdoor recreation economy, not only through the legacy of skiers that that passed through the WWII alpine training grounds and returned to the region post-war, but also through word of the hunting and fishing opportunities the soldiers enjoyed. The landscape is rife with elk and mule deer habitat and migration corridors, including more than 10,000 acres of severe winter elk range that the animals depend upon for survival.

The 474 miles of stream within the bill’s boundaries serve as headwaters to Gore Creek and the Eagle, Blue and Colorado rivers, feeding clean, cold water into multiple Gold Medal fishing sections and supplying more than 11 miles of native cutthroat trout stream habitat along with half a dozen cutthroat trout lakes.

San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act

Wilderness and special management area proposals in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado would protect headwater tributaries of the Animas River among more than 325 stream miles that contain nearly 5 miles of cutthroat stream habitat. Four lakes spanning 6.6 acres within the proposed Sheep Mountain Special Management Area also hold the rare native trout. Roughly 50,000 terrestrial acres serve as summer range and calving areas that support mule deer and elk populations on public lands in the region, and a large elk winter concentration area is found in the Uncompahgre National Forest along the proposed 6,500-acre Naturita Canyon Mineral Withdrawal Area that includes cutthroat trout habitat within a tributary to the San Miguel River near Norwood.

 

Photo Credit: Trout Unlimited

Marnee Banks

January 27, 2021

Hunters and Anglers Respond to President Biden’s Climate Executive Order

TRCP focuses on putting Americans back to work using climate solutions

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s president and CEO, Whit Fosburgh, issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on climate change:

“From the wetlands that make coastal communities more resilient to the forests and grasslands that sequester carbon, our nation’s lands and waters are engines ready to be turned on to address the impacts of climate change. We appreciate the president’s commitment to using the best available science to conserve our outdoor places for future generations. As this administration implements these directives, we urge them to engage people who live in the communities most affected by these policies, including hunters and anglers. The outdoor recreation economy is a powerful job creator and can play a key role in putting Americans back to work while mitigating the impacts of our changing climate.”

The TRCP is leading a coalition of 40 other hunting, fishing, and conservation nonprofits to advance land- and water-based solutions to climate change. The coalition released the Sportsmen & Sportswomen Climate Statement in July 2020.

Marnee Banks

December 28, 2020

Major Spending and COVID-Relief Package Contains Investments in Conservation

Year-end bill includes wide ranging provisions for fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation access

A sweeping legislative package to keep the government running and invest in COVID relief has become law. Tucked throughout the bill are numerous conservation provisions that invest in climate solutions, sustainably manage water resources, restore habitat, combat chronic wasting disease, and strengthen access for hunters and anglers.

“In a year that has been incredibly difficult for families and communities across America, conservation provides a place where we can find glimmers of hope and common ground,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This sweeping legislation addresses many issues that are top of mind for hunters and anglers, including investments in habitat and access. We can close out this year knowing we accomplished a lot for conservation and turn our eyes toward 2021 and the goals of investing in climate solutions and putting Americans back to work through conservation.”

The more than 5,500-page bill contains the following provisions:

  • Invests $900 million in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, of this $67.5 million must be used to expand recreational access to public land.
  • Infuses $1.9 billion into our nation’s public lands, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and national parks, critical new resources for addressing deferred maintenance projects.
  • Increases communities’ ability to use nature-based solutions to meet their flood control needs.
  • $7 million for states to manage chronic wasting disease.
  • $2 million for chronic wasting disease work at the National Wildlife Research Center.
  • $3.72 million to fund collaborative chronic wasting disease studies, including research to identify early detection tools and carcass disposal.
  • Invests in the restoration of the Everglades, the Great Lakes, and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Allows conservation organizations to access WaterSMART grants, including for nature-based water solutions.
  • Updates the Army Corps’ Floodplain Management Service program so that it can improve its ability to provide technical assistance that communities desperately need while also prioritizing assistance for economically disadvantaged communities and communities subject to repetitive flooding.
  • Ensures consistency in cost-sharing requirements for natural infrastructure projects.
  • Directs the Army Corps of Engineers to update guidance on sea level rise and inland flooding.
  • Expands the Cooperative Watershed Management Program that allows communities to develop joint solutions to their water challenges.
  • Establishes a new program to fund fish passage.
  • Recognizes tribal water rights and funds projects that will provide access to clean, safe drinking water and other critical water supplies.
  • Urges Natural Resources Conservation Service when converting wetlands to ensure that one acre of impact equals one acre of conserved land elsewhere.
  • Requires Natural Resources Conservation Service to prioritize implementation of Drought Contingency Plans for Colorado River Basin.
  • Directs Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop Environmental Quality Incentives Program guidance for local feedback on irrigation district-led projects.
  • Strongly encourages the Farm Services Agency to prioritize State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program.
  • Prohibits new oil and gas leases within ten miles of the Chaco Cultural National Historic Park in New Mexico for the next year.

Additionally, the legislation conveys approximately 93 acres in North Dakota to construct the Roosevelt Presidential Library.

 

Top photo by Gregg Flores @wheretheriverruns

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