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Jon Holst

April 14, 2022

Forest Service Issues Anticipated Guidance for E-Bikes

Here’s how the use of this new technology will be managed on national forests and grasslands and what it means for public land hunters and anglers

If you talk with hunters and anglers about electric bikes, or e-bikes, you will get a mixed response. Some embrace the obvious utility of e-bikes for accessing remote areas and for hauling gear and game. Others worry that widespread use of e-bikes—by dramatically increasing the ability of the average person to travel further into the backcountry—could potentially have a negative impact on our big game herds. Such concerns are warranted: Research clearly shows that high-volume trail use displaces big game, and in some areas high motorized route densities are associated with excessive elk harvest. Elk are particularly susceptible to these impacts, as they require large secure areas far from heavily used roads and trails to thrive.

On March 31, 2022, the Forest Service announced its final internal guidance on how e-bikes will be managed on national forests and grasslands. The long-anticipated update reaffirms the existing policy that e-bikes are now, and will continue to be, managed as a motorized use—that is, e-bikes will be allowed on all currently authorized roads and trails open to motorized use and not allowed on roads and trails closed to motorized use, seasonally or otherwise. At the same time, the guidance also outlines a process for the agency to evaluate requests for expanded e-bike access and establishes a new “e-bike only” trail category.

As an avid motorcyclist and mountain biker who has used two wheels to access my favorite hunting spots for many years, the new guidance is somewhat reassuring, but it also highlights the need for hunters and anglers to engage in local travel management planning to make sure quality hunting opportunities are maintained.

Here’s what you need to know about this update.

Key Provisions

The purpose behind the new guidance is to provide direction for the agency to coordinate travel management planning with other federal, state, county, local, and tribal governments, to ensure, as much as possible, the continuity of recreational experiences across these jurisdictions. The guidance also directs the agency to consider how emerging technologies such as e-bikes provide opportunities for individuals that may otherwise be prevented from certain forms of recreation on our public lands.

The guidance categorizes e-bikes into Classes 1, 2, and 3, all of which are limited to a 750-watt-capable motor—essentially the same classification adopted in 2020 by the Bureau of Land Management. The biggest difference in the Forest Service’s guidance as compared to the BLM’s is that the Forest Service has elected, by default, to regulate all categories of e-bikes as motorized use. The Forest Service’s guidance also provides a process and specific criteria for evaluating new “e-bike only” trail designations and for allowing e-bikes on existing non-motorized trails.

When the Forest Service classifies trails and routes by allowable use during the travel management planning process, the agency emphasizes combinations of motorized and non-motorized uses on the same trails, but also recognizes that the best way to minimize conflicts among user groups may be to provide separate routes for each. As a result, the creation of a new “e-bike only” category could lead to a proliferation of additional trails if, for example, traditional mountain bikers can’t get along with e-bikers. In these cases, which—again—will be decided at the local level, e-bike compatibility with traditional mountain bikes will likely depend on the category of e-bike under consideration: class 1 e-bikes, which require pedaling and are limited to 20-miles per hour, are considered the most compatible with traditional mountain bikes.

Of particular interest to hunters is that the updated Forest Service guidance maintains limited use of motor vehicles (now specifically including e-bikes) for game retrieval within a limited distance of specific routes during big game hunting season. The particulars of when and where this is allowed will be made clear in individual travel management plans. And remember: While many hunters with traditional mountain bikes utilize gated roads closed to motorized use as a means of accessing hunting areas, hunters with e-bikes cannot do the same and are subject to the motorized use closure.

E-Bikes and Habitat Fragmentation

There are welcome provisions in the updated guidance that promote conservation and stewardship, and some provisions that are less clear. On the positive side, the specific criteria for designating trails and trail-use areas require that the agency considers the potential for “harassment of wildlife and significant disruption of wildlife habitats.” Additionally, the policy explicitly calls out considerations for maintenance and administration of new trails in the context of budget and staffing, and it provides guidance to avoid adding new routes unless adequate budget and staffing for long-term maintenance have been identified. Both of these provisions promote conservation and well-designed, sustainable trail systems for access.

There are also provisions to address unauthorized routes, but some of the guidance regarding this issue remains problematic to those who care about the impact of these trails on habitat fragmentation. On the one hand, the policy prohibits use of unauthorized routes, calls for identifying unauthorized routes through travel analysis, and prioritizes addressing restoration and decommissioning of unauthorized routes when making travel management decisions. On the other hand, the policy acknowledges that some unauthorized routes are well sited and would enhance the system of designated routes. This seems to pave the way for continuation of the long-criticized practice of allowing unauthorized trail builders to have illegally built trails legitimized during travel management planning.

Moving Forward

Whether or not you choose to embrace the use of e-bikes for hunting and fishing, as you would any new technology, here are some things to consider:

  • Unless otherwise specified in your local travel management plan, e-bikes are allowed only on designated motorized trails or motorized-use areas on Forest Service lands and are subject to the same seasonal restrictions and closures as any other motorized vehicle.
  • E-bikes allow public land users to travel significantly farther into the backcountry and provide increased access for all. This may change trail-use characteristics, as well as the distribution of big game on the landscape in your favorite hunting areas.
  • If you choose to use an e-bike for hunting and fishing, pay close attention to the class-type (1, 2, or 3) and match your choice of e-bike to the applicable regulations in areas you want access, as identified by the Forest Service in the travel management plan for your hunting area.
  • Engage with the Forest Service on travel management planning in the areas you care about. Decisions on the designation of new e-bike only trails and e-bike access on existing trails will impact your hunting access, the distribution of big game, and whether you continue to have quality hunting opportunities in the areas you care about, which is why it is critical that hunters and anglers participate in local travel management planning processes.
  • The recently passed Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act requires the Forest Service and other land management agencies to create and make publicly available recreational access information as geospatial files that depict restrictions by vehicle type, including e-bikes. This will help hunters identify routes where they can and cannot ride their e-bikes in the future.
You can read the updated Forest Service guidance here.

 

Photo credit: @maxsbenz

19 Responses to “Forest Service Issues Anticipated Guidance for E-Bikes”

  1. The assertion that, “E-bikes allow public land users to travel significantly farther into the backcountry and provide increased access for all” seems to neglect the fact that eBikes have extremely limited range – typically around 30 miles. This means that when the rider gets about 10 miles from the starting point, they need to turn around and head back.

    On the contrary, the range of regular bicycles is limited only by the time and the effort of the rider – some of whom ride across entire states or across the country.

  2. Nathan peckinpaugh

    It is nice that there is some clarity that defines ebikes by the forest service. I do feel that the bigger picture of limiting access to the forest is short sited. Roads and trails open to motorized vehicles and atvs continue to be shut down and very few new trail systems open up. I hunt all over the west in many western states and would be an advocate of distributing the density of people across the unit and single track trails provide on BLM lands. I feel there is a vocal minority of people that pushed to limit ebikes. This new rule will create over crowding at the end of the roads and trail heads. The goal should be providing more people more access to our public lands and the use of ebikes on single track trails was quite and environmentally friendly.

  3. Harold Giddley

    Finally the decisions that needed to be made….EBikes ARE motorized period….there is Absolutely no way to debate that fact….this is the proper decision and direction. Now hopefully local authorities and municipalities follow course and rule the same. I’m all for new designated trails for these machines. I am also all for designated trails by class, in which only a class 1 ebike should EVER be considered to share trails with exsisting mountain bikes and trails.

    • Brian Goodman

      Some folks are obviously closed minded and adamant that e-mountain bikes should not be allowed on trails. Either they are uninformed or think the trails only belong to them. A pedal assist e-bike (Class 1 or 3) is not motorized. It only variably assists pedaling effort up to a certain speed. Perhaps MTB elitists should consider other riders ability and health conditions ( I am 64 with chronic leukemia) before they sound off with their opinions. Also the ADA clearly applies to federal facilities and associated access conveyances, a single well placed suit will end this discrimination and the carping of the enviro-activist class.

      • Kristina E

        Brian, I agree with you. My daughter rides an ebike due to physical limitations. It is an adaptive device and should be treated as such. Other adaptive bikes are welcome on the trails, and so should class 1 e bikes. In addition, class 1 e bikes are no longer heavier than some full suspension bikes and can be ridden on “off”, then they are just a bike like any other.

    • Corey Preston

      Horse traffic causes more trail damage and environmental damage than ebikes ever will. The fact that weed free feed is required for back country use of stock on many places is an example. Horses traveling in these areas spread exotic weeds and no native area plants from the feed they have eaten weeks before entering these areas and it is impossible to control this and it is certainly abuse by those using the stock. Be consistent no ebikes no stock in certain areas also and/or ebikes allowed in certain areas but stock not allowed in those areas.

  4. Chuck Wright

    Unless the USFS has improved funding for law enforcement, this is all just words on paper. As one who has used the TIPS process to report suspected poaching and hunting in restricted areas, reporting means nothing with onloy one LEO between Helena and Dillon, MT. Why worry about ebikes when 4 wheel motorized vehicles go wherever they want to?

  5. Charles schmidt

    I am a 70+ year old MTB who has been riding for more than 30 years. In the past few years some health issues have made riding without my class1 eMTB nearly impossible. Climbs and concern of having a bad day and not being able have energy to get back are big concerns that my eMTB have sufficiently reduced. I have several friends that are in similar situations and eMTB have provided the support to continue riding. Please consider us in your planing. Know many young fit riders look down on eMTBs as they think “everyone should earn it” like they do. Well wait till they are 70 + or have major health issues. Think that American With Disabilities Act should provide legal justification for providing “ Special Use Permits” for persons with medical and age issues. We are riders who respect environment, trails and other users who want to continue to use our forest and BLM trails that we have used for years and have paid taxes to contribute to their existence.

    • Chuck Wright

      Agree with this post. I am 70+ and while I still use my Specialized Epic, the days in which I can climb the high passes without many stops are years behind me. I suspect that I have paid a lot more in taxes than the vast majority of recreational trail riders. Why not allow eBikes on non-motorized trails for riders that are 50+? They have paid their way and older riders tend to have a lot better trail etiquette than younger riders, eBike or non-eBike.

  6. Tim Bjork

    I would advocate for allowing Class 1 E-bikes (you must peddle to make it go) on designated motorized trails that are closed on Dec. 15th of every year. As a 75 year-old I would be sincerely grateful!

  7. Doug Smentkowski

    Last year, I saw a hunter dragging a deer across a farm to there truck. I stopped to ask a few questions, and it turned out the Hunter was a women, her husband was working and the kids were in school. She said without the ebike, she would have to wait until her husband came home from work and would have to come out in the dark with her and drag the deer out. This save everyone a lot of time and work. I am 76 and I cannot drag a deer but 20 ft now, I use to drag a deer 200 to 500 yards, taking a lot of time. I am retired and hunt during the week and need to have some way to get my deer out to my car. I have lift in my car to lift a 400 lb wheel chair so I can life an cow Elk, Buck deer and most black Bears with my lift. I just need an ebike to drag it.

  8. Russ Casteel

    I agree with comments regarding special consideration allowing handicapped or elderly to use ebikes on non motorized roads and trails for accessing recreational areas. This would be a minimal impact on the environment and wildlife.

  9. Atlas M

    @Bob G your statement that “eBikes have extremely limited range – typically around 30 miles. This means that when the rider gets about 10 miles from the starting point, they need to turn around and head back.” is irrelevant. If they had a 60 mile range would that be too much? Should we only let people ride ATVS in closed areas if they only have a 30 mile range? Your statement doesn’t pass the smell test. If you go 30 miles on closed logging roads or even 20 miles thats at least 3 times farther than most hunters will walk or bike.

    You also fail to acknowledge that the technology will get better. Battery technology is rapidly increasing and 100 mile ebike is in our near future.

  10. I am a ebike rider. I understand the debate from both sides. I purchased an ebike because of my knees and other joints are wearing out. And at 62 I can’t do the hiking that I use to. Someone had recommended having a permit so people with health issues could use there bikes on gated roads. As hunters we need to remember that most of us will be facing the reality that we can’t get around like we use to. That’s why we have very few senior hunters.

  11. Martin Saucier

    I am 64 years old man walking in the woods where I hunt in the south for a long time but I can’t walk anymore due to health issues but I can ride my ebike down fine gravel road that’s got a gate on it and walk in the woods from there and I don’t see a problem with it In the department of wildlife is always saying take a kid hunting it’s us grandparents that take them hunting and when we can’t walk in there they don’t get to go

  12. Robert Godreau

    I’m 72. Others in my riding group are 70, 70, 69, 66 & 56. We respect the environment. We practice proper trail etiquette. Some on e bikes some not. We’re simply riding trail and enjoying the great outdoors and each other. To criminalize that because aging has resulted in some of us needing the assistance of an e-bike while lumping us into a category of noisy, gas powered off road vehicles is totally absurd. It’s our forest too. And, as someone said in a prior comment, we’ve paid a lot more of our incomes towards sustaining the forests and the trails than those who are 50 years younger. This decision needs to work for ALL of us, not just environmentalists ( and I am an environmentalist). The forest is there for all of us to enjoy respectfully.

  13. Brian K Fife

    Having rode mountain bikes for years and backpacked all over the place I have seen the damages to trails and surrounding areas by e bikers. E bikes can travel now up to 60+ miles. The majority of e-bikers have zero trail etiquette. They ride fat tired beasts that weight 55-70 pounds. They fly up and down the trails. If someone is coming up the trail hiking or on a peddle bike, they don’t slow down and either hog the trail or go off trail and tear up the surrounding areas. In the deep back country, I think only those on foot should be allowed including horses. Nothing worse than following an outfitter with multiple horses who have crapped all over the trail. Best thing to limit is tire size, keep them to 1.9 wide instead of fat 4.8 tires, 26″ size wheels to require some skill, only works if they pedal and no more than 45 pound bikes. No trailers or dragging of animals on trails.

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Randall Williams

April 7, 2022

Senate Vote Sends MAPLand Act to the President’s Desk

Congress secures groundbreaking public land access win for hunters and anglers

The Senate has passed the Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act, which would enhance recreational opportunities on public land by investing in modern mapping systems that allow outdoor enthusiasts to access the information they need using handheld GPS technology commonly found in smartphones.

The MAPLand Act has been a top priority for sportsmen and sportswomen across the country. It is sponsored by Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and co-sponsored by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.Mex.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-N.H.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the MAPLand Act on November 18, 2021, with unanimous support. A companion bill (H.R. 3113) cleared the House earlier this month in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. That version, following last night’s passage in the Senate, now only awaits a signature from President Biden before becoming law.

“Hunters and anglers as well as our partners in the outdoor industry have been vocal champions of the MAPLand Act since it was first introduced, because we know that this common-sense investment will empower more people to get outside and discover new recreational opportunities,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Last night’s vote is a huge win in ensuring that our public lands system is accessible to all Americans, and we are grateful to both Democratic and Republican leadership for their support of this legislation.”

The MAPLand Act will direct federal land management agencies to consolidate, digitize, and make publicly available recreational access information as geospatial files. Such records include information about:

  • Legal easements and rights-of-way across private land
  • Year-round or seasonal closures on roads and trails
  • Road-specific restrictions by vehicle-type
  • Boundaries of areas where special rules or prohibitions apply to hunting and shooting

“We appreciate the leadership shown by members of the Senate in seeing the MAPLand Act through to the finish line,” continued Fosburgh. “Hunters and anglers across the country have good reason to celebrate this moment, which again demonstrates that conservation and our uniquely American public lands system transcend partisanship.”

Randall Williams

March 15, 2022

Hunters and Anglers Applaud House MAPLand Act Passage

Groundbreaking public land access legislation awaits a vote in the Senate 

The House of Representatives has passed the Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act (H.R. 3113), which would enhance outdoor recreation opportunities on public land by investing in modern mapping systems that provide Americans with the public access information they need while using handheld GPS technology commonly found in smartphones.

Introduced by U.S. Representatives Blake Moore (R-Utah), Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) in May 2021, the MAPLand Act has been a top priority for hunters and anglers across the country. It was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee this past July with unanimous support.

“We thank House lawmakers for listening to the voices of public land users and for making a commonsense investment in the future of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation access,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The MAPLand Act will help more Americans to get outside and enjoy the unparalleled recreational opportunities found within our public land system. It is encouraging to see broad support for this legislation from both sides of the aisle, a welcome reminder that conservation and our outdoor heritage transcend party lines.”

The MAPLand Act will direct federal land management agencies to consolidate, digitize, and make publicly available recreational access information as geospatial files. Such records include information about:

  • Legal easements and rights-of-way across private land
  • Year-round or seasonal closures on roads and trails
  • Road-specific restrictions by vehicle-type
  • Boundaries of areas where special rules or prohibitions apply to hunting and shooting

Companion legislation in the Senate (S.904) passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in November 2021, with unanimous support. The bill now needs to clear the full Senate before it can be delivered to the president’s desk and signed into law.

“Hunters want more information on where to gain access to public lands but often don’t know where to start and the information can be incomplete. The MAPLand Act will make it easier for sportsmen and women to enjoy our outdoor heritage with modernized information on how to access our public lands,” said Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “Thank you to the House of Representatives for coming together in an overwhelming display of support that will benefit all Americans. Now on to the Senate!”

“This is a big win for hunters and anglers, and we appreciate House leadership for bringing this bill to the floor,” continued Fosburgh. “We hope to see a Senate vote on the MAPLand Act in the very near future. The TRCP will continue to voice its support for this important legislation until it becomes law.”

Hunters and anglers can take action in support of the MAPLand Act using the TRCP’s simple advocacy tool.

Kristyn Brady

February 17, 2022

A Record $1.5 Billion is Going to Conservation—Thanks to YOU

A portion of your gear, firearm, license, and boat fuel purchases helped to generate more funding than ever for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to distribute for state work on conservation and outdoor recreation access

Hunters and anglers often engage in conservation through our words and actions, speaking up for sound policies and volunteering to plant native grasses, pick up trash, or band birds. But we also contribute financially to conservation through excise taxes on our hunting, shooting, and fishing equipment, including ammo and boat fuel.

This funding is sorely needed by state agencies that carry out habitat conservation and upkeep of outdoor recreation access points and facilities—and, fortunately, there’s quite a bit more of it this year. It was announced late last week that sportsmen and sportswomen generated a record-breaking $1.5 billion in conservation dollars for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

You might know this funding source as the combined result of the Pittman-Robertson Act, or Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which created an excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment in 1937, and the Dingell-Johnson Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, which created a similar tax on fishing tackle, boat equipment, and boat fuel in 1950.

The hunting and shooting side of our community brought in over $1.1 billion for conservation in the past year, while the fishing and boating side generated almost $400 million. Together, this shatters the previous high mark of $808 million distributed for conservation in 2015.

The Associated Press reports that Texas will receive the largest pot of funding ($71 million) followed by Alaska ($66 million) based on land and water area and the number of hunting and fishing license holders in the state. A state-by-state listing of how the funding will be spent can be found here.

To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $25.5 billion in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects, according to a Department of the Interior press release. The recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $8.5 billion, primarily from hunting and fishing license revenues.

In the final days of 2019, Congress passed a package of its annual appropriations bills that implemented an important change to the Pittman-Robertson Act: Hunting and shooting equipment excise taxes can now be used to help recruit, retain, and reactivate new hunters and recreational shooters, a provision that was made in Dingell-Johnson and that successfully helped to grow the ranks of fishing participation in recent years.

The TRCP and our partners pushed for this change and, at the time of the bill’s passage, we called it “a landmark achievement” for the 116th Congress.

Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson are just two of the cornerstone sources of conservation funding in America, but we rely on many other federal investments in our lands and waters. Click here for a refresher on where your conservation dollars come from.

 

Top photo by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation via flickr

January 13, 2022

TRCP’s Top 10 Conservation Priorities for 2022

The legislative and policy solutions we’re pursuing to improve habitat and your hunting and fishing opportunities

Following a 2021 that was a rollercoaster in so many ways, the year ahead provides hunters, anglers, and the conservation community with significant opportunity. Lawmakers deep in re-election cycles know that habitat, access, and conservation funding issues are things that most Americans can agree on and are eager to bring home legislative wins to their voters.

Working alongside our partners, here’s what we want to get done this year.

Infrastructure Implementation

Passed in late 2021, the $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides significant federal investment in programs benefiting fish and wildlife on public and private lands, including a first-of-its-kind five-year wildlife crossings grant program. The TRCP will closely follow the implementation of this and other programs to ensure that dollars are both benefiting fish and wildlife and enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities.

 

Building Climate Resilience

Efforts to address our changing climate continue to become less polarizing in Congress. There is significant interest among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in prioritizing carbon sequestration and nature-based solutions that mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events on vulnerable rural communities. Whether in the proposed Build Back Better package, other potential climate legislation, or the 2023 Farm Bill, the conservation community will have an active voice in the discussion.

 

Passage of the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act

Led by Representatives Kind of Wisconsin and Thompson of Pennsylvania, this comprehensive legislation would provide state wildlife and agriculture agencies with much needed resources for CWD management and suppression. The bill would also create a CWD research grant program to study the spread of the disease and direct the USDA to collect public feedback on ways to improve oversight of the captive deer industry. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives in late 2021 and awaits introduction in the Senate.

 

Protection of Bristol Bay in Statute

In late 2021, the Biden Administration once again halted the proposed Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska. While this was welcome news, more work is needed to federally protect the world’s most prolific sockeye salmon fishery in statute. The TRCP is working with lawmakers and state and national partners in developing legislation to do just that.

 

Passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

RAWA would provide state wildlife agencies with nearly $1.4 billion annually to implement state wildlife action plans, allowing for more proactive conservation of wildlife and associated habitat to avoid potential endangered species listings. Introduced by Representative Dingell of Michigan and Senator Heinrich of New Mexico, the legislation has bipartisan support in both chambers and would be a generational investment in wildlife conservation.

 

Passage of the Modernizing Access to Public Land Act

The MAPLand Act, championed by Senator Risch of Idaho and Representative Moore of Utah, would require that maps and easement records held by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are digitized and publicized for the benefit of all Americans. Doing so would bring recordkeeping into the 21st century and provide hunters and anglers with much greater certainty in planning outings on our public lands.

 

Introduction of the North American Grasslands Conservation Act

In the last half-century, the intense conversion of grasslands has precipitated a steep decline in associated bird populations. The TRCP and several partners have worked for the past year on developing an innovative grant program for grass and rangeland conservation that works with ranchers and landowners to improve ecosystem health and ensure that their acreage remains productive and healthy habitat for years to come. Our groups have worked closely with Senator Wyden in developing the legislation and are looking forward to bringing the bill before the House and Senate.

 

Improving the State of Gulf Menhaden

Largescale industrial menhaden fishing in the Gulf accounts for more than one billion pounds of this forage fish harvested each year, making it Louisiana’s largest fishery. Pogie boats often operate near shore, netting thousands of other fish species, including red drum and speckled trout. Anglers have fought to restrict these operations in the surf zone but continue to face opposition from menhaden processors citing economic impacts. In 2022, the TRCP will continue to work with partners and scientists who study the bycatch of such operations and pursue legislation to further reduce the impact of the industrial menhaden fishery on sportfish in the Gulf, with a particular focus on protecting beaches and other shallow-water habitat.

 

Using the Power of Habitat to Boost Water Resources

Western watersheds, such as the Colorado River and Rio Grande, face increasing pressure from wildfire and drought. Natural infrastructure approaches—such as the protection and restoration of headwater wetlands and riparian areas—have been shown to effectively reduce natural hazard risks while benefiting water users and watersheds. In 2022, TRCP is working to prioritize the implementation of natural infrastructure and nature-based solutions to address Western water challenges in various federal and state policy initiatives, with a focus on the 2023 Farm Bill and this year’s Water Resources Development Act. We’ll also be pushing for the latter legislation to improve Everglades restoration funding and build on the successful construction of projects to help restore natural waterflows.

 

Conserving Migration Corridors

Beyond the wildlife crossing pilot program included in recently passed legislation, additional solutions are needed to conserve big game migration corridors across the country. The TRCP and partner groups are continuing to work with state and federal land managers to increase investments in research and corridor mapping, improve interagency coordination, and conserve corridors on public land.

 

For more information, and to take action in support of these critical conservation priorities in the year ahead, visit the TRCP Action Center.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

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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