Kristyn Brady

May 6, 2021

Interior Moves to Strengthen Bedrock Conservation Law Protecting Migratory Birds

This announcement is a positive step forward for maintaining the integrity of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership applauds Interior Secretary Haaland and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for actions announced today to restore the integrity of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Since 1918, the MBTA has been the foundation to conserving the nation’s migratory birds, from warblers to waterfowl. It has provided clarity to industry, including the oil and gas and wind sectors, about allowable activities and provided reasonable exceptions for “incidental take”—the accidental death of birds.

Yet the previous administration severely weakened the law, eliminating any incentive for the regulated community to take prudent actions to avoid killing birds. Moving forward, sportsmen and sportswomen look forward to working with the administration and industry to continue America’s remarkable track record of migratory bird conservation.

“At a time when migratory birds are in serious decline, we see this as a positive step forward for not only maintaining the integrity of this bedrock conservation law, but also removing additional threats to species facing the impacts of climate change and other habitat stressors,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “To effectively halt and reverse declines of migratory birds and reduce the risk of future endangered species act listings, we believe it is critical that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act remain an effective tool for addressing foreseeable and avoidable threats to birds.”

Top photo by Dennis Buchner on Unsplash 

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Marnee Banks

TRCP Releases Report on Restoration Economy

Data analysis shows 17.4 jobs created for every $1 million invested

(Washington D.C.)— The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is releasing an economic report that showcases the importance of investing in habitat, conservation, and sustainable water systems. The collection of economic studies compiles the best available data to paint a picture of the value of environmentally beneficial investments.

The analysis shows that for every $1 million invested by the federal government, 17.4 jobs are created.

“The data backs it up. Investing in conservation creates jobs, propels our economy forward from the past year, and strengthens habitat,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “As policymakers draft infrastructure legislation, they should keep these conservation priorities top of mind. We can build more resilient communities, combat climate change, and create hunting and fishing opportunities for more Americans.”

The report shows that the restoration economy creates more jobs than health care, energy, and military sectors per every $1 million invested. The report specifically looks at job creation for the following activities:

  • Investing in watershed restoration and management, including rivers and riparian habitat
  • Upgrading aging agricultural irrigation infrastructure to improve reliability while also increasing water use efficiency and improving flow regimes or fish and wildlife habitat
  • Restoring coastal and marine habitat
  • Investing in urban water, sewer, and stormwater systems
  • Expanding urban water efficiency and conservation
  • Restoring watersheds with a focus on floodplain restoration in the Mississippi River System
  • Encouraging modified agricultural practices such as cover crops and fallowing
  • Restoring native species, with an emphasis on wetland and riparian restoration

To read the report, click here.

To read more about the Conservation Works for America campaign, click here.

 

 

Kristyn Brady

April 29, 2021

Senate Passes Water Infrastructure Bill with Major Investments in Job-Creating Conservation Projects

Billions could go toward nature-based infrastructure solutions and locally led water quality efforts nationwide

Today in an 89-2 vote, the Senate passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (S. 914), which would invest $35 billion to upgrade aging water treatment infrastructure, improve wastewater control, and empower states to fund water quality protection and habitat restoration projects that have major benefits for fish and wildlife.

The bill would reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program at $3.25 billion annually over five years, or a total of $14.65 billion. This is the first increase for the bedrock program in more than 30 years. To date, over $110 billion in financing has helped local communities improve water resources through this vital program, with a nearly three-to-one return on investment.

“We applaud the Senate for this bipartisan commitment to investing in water resources to create jobs, energize local economies, and improve the resilience of our communities,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Moving this legislation forward also sends a strong signal to American sportsmen and sportswomen that innovative, science-based approaches to solving our water resource challenges—especially when layered with benefits for the economy, our fish and wildlife, and public access to outdoor recreation—will be rewarded with much-needed federal investments. The TRCP looks forward to working with the House to advance these priorities swiftly.”

Since its inception in 1987, the Clean Water SRF has been utilized by many grant recipients to conserve natural lands that reduce water contamination at the source, protecting water quality and lessening the need for wastewater treatment through traditional methods.

More recently, it has also funded natural infrastructure projects or blended natural and traditional solutions to reduce pollution and protect water quality. This suite of natural approaches, in tandem with traditional infrastructure solutions, have also improved fish and wildlife habitat while enhancing reforestation, wildfire prevention, and groundwater protection efforts.

The healthy watersheds and public access to the outdoors created through these natural infrastructure investments provide a multitude of economic and social benefits. And the Senate bill requires states to use between 10 and 30 percent of their SRF grant to send additional assistance to disadvantaged communities.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program is one of the proven tools that the TRCP and partners have identified as capable of putting Americans back to work through conservation. The coalition issued this list of six recommendations in a recent call to action for lawmakers and will release a follow-up report on the employment impacts of investing in conservation.

Learn more about the Conservation Works for America campaign here.
Hunters and anglers can support the campaign by contacting their lawmakers here.

 

Top photo by Discover Lehigh Valley, PA via flickr.

Kristyn Brady

April 19, 2021

Secretarial Orders Reestablish Important Principles of Multiple-Use Public Land Management

TRCP looks forward to working with Department of the Interior on integrating the needs of fish, wildlife, and outdoor recreation into responsible energy development

Late last week, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued a series of secretarial orders that reverse policies that have eased the way for energy development at the risk of damaging fish and wildlife habitat.

Secretarial Order 3398 revokes a series of policies geared toward energy dominance that conflict with efforts to combat climate change and conserve big game migration corridors. This includes reversing the last administration’s shift away from requiring mitigation of impacts to fish and wildlife habitat from development projects.

“The TRCP appreciates the actions taken by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland through Secretarial Order 3398 to restore balance to public lands management,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “While energy development is an important use of public lands, it should not outweigh other activities of equal importance under a multiple-use management framework, including wildlife habitat and public recreation. We look forward to working with the Interior Department to restore compensatory mitigation and balanced leasing policies to our public lands.”

Secretarial Order 3399 establishes a departmental task force to develop a strategy for reducing climate change impacts on public lands. It also provides policy guidance to ensure climate change is appropriately analyzed through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and that diverse interests are engaged. Climate strategies such as nature-based solutions would boost the productivity of fish and wildlife habitat and create enhanced opportunities for hunters and anglers.

“The TRCP is ready to work with the newly established Department of the Interior Climate Task Force to shape the role that America’s public lands will play in addressing and confronting climate change,” said Fosburgh. “From thoughtful planning and citing of renewable energy development and transmission to natural solutions that boost the adaptive capacity of public lands, the future of our outdoor traditions depends on well-informed climate policies.”

Though the orders mark an important step toward restoring balance to public land management, the TRCP has also outlined a list of actions that the last administration took to advance conservation. “We would like to see the Biden Administration build on these successes—we can’t move conservation forward if there’s a strict policy of ‘out with the old, in with the new,’” said Fosburgh. “These orders stand on their own merits, and that’s why we celebrate them.”

Read SO 3398 here.
Read SO 3399 here.
Learn more about the TRCP-led Conservationists for Climate Solutions.

Nick Dobric

by:

posted in: Press Releases

April 2, 2021

Wyoming Passes Law Aimed at Improving Hunter and Angler Access

New fund supported by sportsmen and women will help unlock access to Wyoming’s 4 million acres of inaccessible public land

Today, Governor Mark Gordon signed House Bill 122, Reliable Funding for Hunting and Fishing Access, into law. By increasing the cost of a conservation stamp, the legislation provides funding for willing landowners to open access or create easements that unlock inaccessible federal and state lands. This bill passed through the 2021 legislative session thanks to the support of passionate hunters and anglers and lawmakers who value the strong sporting heritage here in Wyoming.

Representative Cyrus Western of Sheridan, an avid hunter and angler and the primary sponsor of the bill, stressed the collaborative and bipartisan support behind it. “This was a team effort of the highest order,” said Western. “From industry leaders to local hunters and sportsmen groups, there was an authentic and organic push for this legislation by people who hold public access near and dear. Sportsmen and women made their voices heard by coming out to support this bill in big numbers.”

The legislation raises the cost of an annual conservation stamp, which hunters and anglers are required to purchase before going hunting or fishing, by $9 to create a fund for the Wyoming Game and Fish to develop more access agreements to private and landlocked or difficult-to-access federal and state lands. This will help complement Wyoming’s existing Access Yes program with additional opportunities for hunting and fishing.

The recent easement created to access Raymond Mountain near the Wyoming-Idaho border is a perfect example: That agreement provided improved access to 33,000 acres.

Jess Johnson, government affairs director for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, spent more than a year gauging member support for a bill of this kind. In a survey of the organization’s members, 75 percent said they would support a $5 to $10 fee to improve hunter and angler access in Wyoming. “It’s clear that access is important to people who hunt in Wyoming statewide,” said Johnson. “This bill really was passed through the voice of proactive hunters and anglers.”

“This is the single most important thing done for Wyoming hunter and angler access in more than 20 years,” said Dwayne Meadows, WWF’s executive director.

More than 4 million acres of federal and state lands in Wyoming lack permanent legal public access because they are surrounded by private lands, according to a report by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and onX, which helped spur the legislation.

“Not only is this a great step in addressing the landlocked issue for hunters and anglers, it also provides landowners a voluntary opportunity for additional income to maintain their ranches and livelihoods,” said Nick Dobric, Wyoming representative for the TRCP.

The bill also directs a small portion of funds to making roadways safer for drivers and wildlife, as well as supporting jobs by funding wildlife-friendly highway crossing structures and fish passage projects.

Along with Wyoming Wildlife Federation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, other sportsmen’s organizations that supported the bill were Mule Deer Foundation, Western Bear Foundation, Wyoming Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Trout Unlimited, Muley Fanatic Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Water for Wildlife Foundation, One Shot Antelope Hunt Club, and Bowhunters of Wyoming.

The sporting community applauds Representative Western, Governor Gordon, and all the elected officials who helped pass HB 122.

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CONSERVATION WORKS FOR AMERICA

As our nation rebounds from the COVID pandemic, policymakers are considering significant investments in infrastructure. Hunters and anglers see this as an opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations.

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