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Above: Rich Trumka (center) with former TRCP president and CEO George Cooper (left) and former Union Sportsmen’s Alliance executive director Fred Myers in 2007.
It was with a heavy heart today that I learned about the death of Richard Trumka at the age of 72.
As president of the AFL-CIO, Rich will be remembered as a champion of labor and the working person—and for good reason. But his role in conservation cannot be overlooked.
Rich grew up hunting and fishing in his native Pennsylvania, and that remained a core part of who he was. In 2007, he joined with Jim Range, the founder of TRCP, to champion creating incentives for private landowners to open their lands for public hunting and fishing. This became the Voluntary Public Access program of the 2008 Farm Bill and what is now a $50-million Department of Agriculture program that has opened millions of acres of land and water for the public to enjoy.
Because Rich saw hunting, fishing, and conservation as important to the AFL-CIO’s rank-and-file membership, he then worked with Range to create the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance under the TRCP banner. In 2010, the USA spun off as a standalone organization, on the Board of which I proudly serve. Rich also served nine years on the TRCP board, where he became a friend and mentor.
Just two weeks ago, I had lunch with Rich, at his request, so that Nick Pinizzotto, CEO of the National Deer Association, and I could brief him on the spread of chronic wasting disease in his beloved Pennsylvania. The lunch lasted more than two hours as the conversation swerved from CWD to ballistics and reloading, to the new foods plots he was trying on his farm.
Rich Trumka loved life, his work, hunting and conservation, and his family. I have no doubt that his spirit will be stalking that 200-inch buck in the Pennsylvania woods this fall. For those of us still on Earth, we will miss him, but we certainly will not forget him.
Washington, D.C. — The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is proud to announce two new hires, who will strengthen the organization’s communications and water resources conservation efforts.
Liz Ogilvie, most recently chief marketing officer at the American Sportfishing Association, will join TRCP as chief communications officer on August 16, 2021. Alex Funk, most recently an agricultural and rural resiliency policy specialist at the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will begin his new role as TRCP’s director of water resources and senior counsel on August 23, 2021.
“We’re thrilled to have Liz and Alex joining us at a critical time for both conservation and the TRCP—as our national leaders are making decisions that will affect hunting and fishing for decades to come and as the organization is about to celebrate 20 years of fulfilling its purpose as a convener, collaborator, and thought-leader in the conservation community,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO. “Their expertise and leadership will enhance our efforts and help us grow as we enter this new chapter.”
Ogilvie has worked in various segments of the recreational fishing industry–from retail to television to nonprofits–for more than 20 years. Most recently, she was the chief marketing officer for the American Sportfishing Association, where she oversaw the trade group’s communications strategy, the Keep America Fishing advocacy campaign, and the fundraising and distribution of conservation grants by the FishAmerica Foundation. Her focus as chief communications officer will be to shape the TRCP’s voice in grassroots advocacy and public relations, and she will also oversee the operations and finance arms of the organization. Learn more here.
Funk previously served as the Agricultural and Rural Resiliency Policy Specialist at the Colorado Water Conservation Board, where he acted as the agency’s liaison to agricultural stakeholders on federal and state water policy issues. In this role, he also assisted with the implementation of the Colorado Water Plan and represented CWCB in multiple venues, including Colorado’s Natural Working Lands Task Force and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Forum. Earlier in his career, Funk was the Western policy director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, focusing on Farm Bill policy, and a fellow with American Rivers. His focus at TRCP will be on water policy and strategy, particularly in the Colorado River Basin. Learn more here.
This month, the organization says farewell to Melinda Kassen, who will be retiring after a 40-year career working on Western water law and policy.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act shows lawmakers on Capitol Hill are listening to hunters and anglers
Today, a bipartisan cohort of 21 lawmakers introduced to the U.S. Senate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes important investments in conservation and natural infrastructure that will benefit hunters, anglers, and rural communities for years to come. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s policy team has examined the bill text and identified several key policy and funding priorities that our community pushed for, including funding for wildlife crossings, national forest road repair and maintenance, drought resiliency, improved water quality, severe weather resilience, and habitat restoration.
“Now more than ever, we appreciate the diligent, bipartisan process undertaken by the Senate to develop a legislative package that both reauthorizes critical programs and takes additional steps to acknowledge the relationship between infrastructure and our natural environment,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “From the availability of funds for wildlife crossings to restoration programs that will benefit large ecosystems like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, the legislation represents our nation’s continued commitment and responsibility to our lands, waters, and wildlife. We look forward to working with the Senate and House to advance the critical provisions within this bill.”
The TRCP advocated for several critical provisions in the legislation that will improve habitat connectivity for wildlife, invest in public lands and access, and restore and conserve aquatic habitats while restoring water quality.
Among the biggest wins is a first-of-its-kind $350-million grant program to fund the construction of roadway crossings that reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and reconnect fragmented migration corridors.
The bipartisan bill included another top priority for TRCP and our partners with $250 million for the Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program, which will help address maintenance and repair needs on the Forest Service’s extensive network of roads and trails. This investment will not only improve public land access for hunters and anglers, but also safeguard fish habitats from harmful runoff and pollutants that can result when roads fall into disrepair.
Lawmakers also delivered for sportsmen and sportswomen by including the reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, providing states with funding for fisheries projects, boating access, and aquatic education from a portion of fishing license, gear, and boat fuel sales.
Hunters and anglers stand to benefit further from a substantial increase in funding bringing the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, which supports estuary restoration and stormwater management projects to improve aquatic habitat and water quality, up to a grand total of $14.65 billion. Complementing this program is the bill’s $400-million allocation for WaterSMART. With $100 million set aside for natural infrastructure solutions, this boost will help mitigate the impacts of drought, create new habitat, and improve water quality.
Another key investment in resiliency and natural infrastructure is the $1.4 billion allocated by the bill to the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Grant Program, intended to reduce the risks posed to vulnerable communities by significant weather events.
The TRCP is also encouraged to see $2.2 billion allocated for the Federal Land Transportation Program, of which the Forest Service will see the largest percentage increase in funding among all federal agencies. Our national forests will likewise benefit from bill’s inclusion of the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act, which will renew tree cover and address the growing backlog of nearly two million acres in need of replanting.
Other wins for conservation include:
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents a significant opportunity to make critical investments in fish and wildlife habitat, sporting access, and the future of our hunting and fishing traditions,” said Fosburgh. “Sportsmen and sportswomen appreciate the leadership that produced this legislation and for the attention that lawmakers have shown to our community’s priorities. We hope this bill will enjoy quick passage in the full Senate and look forward to working with lawmakers in the House to ensure that it can be sent to the president’s desk without delay.”
Photo: Paulo O via Flickr
In a 219 – 208 floor vote this afternoon, the House passed a “minibus” package of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022, including those that fund conservation at the federal agencies overseeing agriculture, energy, water, the environment, and public lands.
Experts at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have scrutinized these funding levels and identified important increases in several areas, including drought resiliency, wetlands conservation, private land conservation, big game herd health, and habitat restoration in the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, and Upper Mississippi River watershed.
“We’re pleased to see the House supporting robust and increased investment in conservation at a time when public land visitation is up, participation in hunting and fishing is growing, and our natural resources face many challenges, including climate change, drought, development, invasive species, wildfire, and disease,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “We have to create certainty for the federal workers who keep hunters and anglers safe on our public lands and waters and give them the resources to improve habitat and stave off risk—rather than scramble to recover after losses or watch maintenance backlogs grow. This requires investment. We look forward to working with the Senate to secure these funding levels and seize additional opportunities to commit to conservation in fiscal year 2022.”
Some highlights of the appropriations package include:
While the funding measure takes an important step in growing federal investment in several areas important to wildlife, conservation needs continue to outpace funding. Challenges ranging from chronic wasting disease to drought are affecting hunters, anglers, landowners, and fish and wildlife. The TRCP looks forward to working with lawmakers in the Senate to support these critical funding needs for FY22 and years to come.
Photo by RimLight Media
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