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October 6, 2022

88% of Americans Support CWD Solutions

New poll finds overwhelming support for better CWD management

In a new poll of 800 random voters from across the U.S., an overwhelming majority support better management of chronic wasting disease through additional federal investments.

Across hunters and non-hunters, 94 percent said that the presence of wildlife was important to their quality of life, and 92 percent believe wildlife is important to their state’s economy.

When it comes to CWD, the always-fatal neurodegenerative wildlife disease that affects members of the deer family, 88 percent of Americans polled support additional federal investment in CWD management at the state level. In total, 96 percent of respondents support their states taking action to curb the spread of CWD across the landscape.

The poll was conducted by New Bridge Strategy on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and National Deer Association. Both organizations have been working for years to educate the public about the impacts of chronic wasting disease on deer, give hunters the tools to prevent CWD transmission, and alert lawmakers to the fact that the rampant spread of CWD threatens the future of wild deer and deer hunting in North America.

“This important survey confirmed what we suspected about people’s concern about the importance of managing chronic wasting disease with 96% indicating it is extremely important,” says Torin Miller, director of policy at the NDA. “The need to support our state and federal wildlife agencies with the resources they need to make a tangible impact on slowing the spread of this 100% fatal disease couldn’t be clearer, and we’re calling on decision makers at all levels to take action.”

Currently, the federal government sends $10 million in annual funding to state and Tribal agencies for CWD management through cooperative agreements with the USDA and invests $2 million annually in CWD research at the National Wildlife Research Center. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come close to addressing the urgent need on the landscape.

The CWD Research and Management Act, if passed by the Senate this year, would increase the overall federal investment to $70 million annually through fiscal year 2028 and evenly split this funding between CWD management and research priorities.

“Increasing these oversubscribed funds is the most immediate way that Congress can impact CWD’s spread on the landscape,” says Andrew Earl, TRCP’s director of government relations. “But the Biden Administration should also look at these poll findings and realize that it is time to examine and reform the existing Herd Certification Program for captive deer operations. Participation in the voluntary HCP continues to slide, and the disease is being detected more and more often at certified facilities. Without action, the problem’s scope and cost of associated solutions will only increase.”

The new poll showed extremely strong support for holding the captive deer industry accountable: 93 percent of Americans support increasing the disease detection standards required of captive cervid operations if they are to be accredited as “low-risk” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and 90 percent support limiting the movement of live, captive deer between facilities to lower the possibility of disease spread.

Learn more about chronic wasting disease and the poll by visiting TRCP’s new online resource for all things CWD.

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September 28, 2022

New Study Shows 40% of Colorado’s Most Important Elk Habitat Is Affected by Recreational Trail Use

Geospatial analysis shows extent of overlap and highlights opportunities for responsible recreation management

Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership revealed a new analysis showing that 40 percent of the most important Colorado elk habitat is affected by trail use and proposed sensible management options to facilitate sustainable recreation and enduring conservation of Colorado’s big game animals.

“This analysis is meant to facilitate conversation and provide useful information so that land managers and outdoor recreationists can more effectively conserve iconic big game species like elk, while also enjoying high-quality recreation opportunities,” said Liz Rose, the Colorado field representative for TRCP. “Outdoor recreation is a cornerstone of Colorado’s economy and central to the identity of our state, and this is one of the reasons why science-based management of our natural resources—wildlife among them—is so critical.”

The analysis unveiled today is informed by a growing body of research showing the degree to which different types of recreational trail use displace elk from otherwise suitable habitat. This information, utilized in conjunction with data representing motorized and non-motorized trails from the COTREX database, suggests that more than 8 million acres of Colorado’s most important elk habitats could be considered avoidance areas for elk, given their well-documented flight response to recreationists.

Displaced elk could face population declines, and this means fewer opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers alike. You can view a summary of this analysis and maps depicting its findings here and read why this data is important to sportsmen and sportswomen here.

To ensure that important habitats remain connected and usable for elk and other big game animals, the TRCP has proposed the following:
• Avoid the highest-priority elk habitats when planning recreation infrastructure, wherever possible.
• Limit motorized and non-motorized road and trail use during certain times of year when elk or other big game animals are present, if avoiding important habitat is not possible.
• Limit the density of motorized and non-motorized roads and trails in important habitats where these time-of-use restrictions aren’t practical.

The TRCP’s analysis comes one year after the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Department of Transportation published recommendations for conserving important big game habitats and populations that highlighted the need to improve recreation planning and coordination across jurisdictions. The departments also recommended directing recreational pressure away from the most important big game habitats and maintaining low route densities in high-priority habitats.

Currently, the Colorado Bureau of Land Management is deciding whether to include recreation among those factors considered in the scope of its Big Game Resource Management Plan Amendment, which will guide land-use planning efforts to conserve big game animals like elk on public lands across the state. Sportsmen and sportswomen have been encouraging the BLM to utilize the latest science and consider all relevant factors in this process, including impacts on big game from trail-based recreation. The TRCP recently launched an online advocacy tool that allows Coloradans to message the BLM in support of these priorities

“The challenges that our wildlife face in the future will not necessarily be the same as those they faced 50 or 100 years ago, and the science is clear that trail-based recreation is having an impact in Colorado and across the western United States as record numbers of Americans are enjoying the outdoors,” said Madeleine West, director of TRCP’s Center for Public Lands. “If we can raise awareness about the issue and bring together stakeholders to work toward collaborative solutions, there’s no reason we can’t enjoy the best of both worlds in terms of doing what’s best for wildlife and providing abundant outdoor opportunities, all while growing our outdoor recreation economy.

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February 24, 2021

Leading Nonprofits and Associations Call on Congress to Pass Legislation that Puts Americans Back to Work Through Conservation

Conservation Works for America campaign calls for policies that build resilient communities, combat climate change, and create jobs

Today a coalition of ten organizations collectively called on Congress to consider conservation priorities as policymakers draft economic recovery legislation.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, National Marine Manufacturers Association, American Sportfishing Association, Pheasants Forever, and others joined forces in identifying a list of shared legislative priorities with House and Senate leadership. The goals of the coalition include building resilient communities that can withstand the impacts of a changing climate, restoring and preserving outdoor spaces, investing in nature-based solutions, and sustainably managing water resources.

“The value of investing in our most common goods—our land and water—cannot be overstated,” wrote the coalition. “Beyond the clear ecological value, investment in the outdoors provides jobs, energizes local economies, improves the resilience of our communities, and holds a lasting public benefit for generations.”

The groups highlighted nine main areas of focus:

  • Invest in our nation’s private lands.
  • Improve the resilience of transportation infrastructure.
  • Invest in the value of clean water.
  • Support multi-benefit watershed management in the West.
  • Support effective watershed management.
  • Strengthen America’s coasts and restore iconic ecosystems.
  • Invest in pre-disaster mitigation.
  • Prioritize wetland restoration.
  • Invest in Army Corps ecosystem restoration projects.

 

“Following the economic downturn of the past year, we are calling for bold investments in conservation that put people back to work and strengthen the habitat, fish, and wildlife we value,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Hunters and anglers are joining this diverse coalition to ensure that Congress considers our land and water as part of the solution to the many challenges that we face. The policy proposals that we have put forward will create more resilient communities, combat climate change, and strengthen our outdoor industries.”

“From restoring the Colorado River watershed, to shoring up our beaches and wetlands on the coast, investing in conservation not only protects our communities from future droughts or floods, it also provides job opportunities as well as critical habitat for birds and other wildlife,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president of conservation policy at the National Audubon Society.

“Our coastal communities are at greater risk than ever from more intense storms and sea level rise,” said Steve Cochran, associate vice president of Coastal Resilience at the Environmental Defense Fund. “By investing in shovel-worthy programs, Congress can restore and enhance the coastal ecosystems that help protect communities, while also creating jobs and reducing the costs of future disasters.”

“Investing in 21st century infrastructure that benefits every community is a critical step toward addressing the historic crises facing our nation — the pandemic, mass unemployment, racial injustice, and climate change,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “What better way to create millions of well-paying jobs than working together to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, restore our lands and water, deploy cleaner sources of energy, bolster community and natural resilience, and reduce pollution, especially in frontline communities? We look forward to working with Congress to pass an infrastructure package that meets this moment by investing in our communities and our natural resources.”

“The challenges facing the 117th Congress are as numerous as they are immense,” said Adam Putnam, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. “But these challenges also provide a tremendous opportunity to invest in our land and water like never before. Following a difficult year, there’s no question smart investments in conservation can help get our economy back on its feet and our people back to work. At the same time, America’s renewed interest in the outdoors calls for a greater investment in the spaces that connect kids to nature, create memories for families, support millions of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the communities that surround our parks, refuges and magnificent wild places.”

“As we look to rebuild our country and economy, investing in resilient outdoor recreation infrastructure and sound conservation programs will help achieve both objectives, while protecting our nation’s cherished pastimes for generations to come,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “We call on all members of Congress to support and include these vital initiatives as they continue to develop their economic relief and infrastructure measures.”

“The significant increase in fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates how much Americans deeply value the outdoors, and how important it is for our public lands and waters to be conserved and maintained,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “We must invest in the outdoors not only for the physical and mental health benefits, but also to further expand the job opportunities in this booming sector of the economy that is responsible for 2.1% of the GDP.”

“The year 2020 revealed some important lessons for Americans moving forward, including the value of outdoor recreation, the need for more public lands, and the endless benefits to ecosystems throughout the United States when we invest in private lands conservation,” stated Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “Congressional leaders have the means to make significant impacts in the year ahead for America’s natural resources. Science-based conservation solutions to build resilient communities and combat climate change should be considered as policymakers draft economic recovery legislation, and ‘The Habitat Organization’ stands ready to assist with this important endeavor.”

The letter to Congressional leadership can be read HERE.

Sportsmen and women can take action in support of #ConservationWorksforAmerica priorities HERE.

April 21, 2020

Looking Back on a Successful Season

In 2019, conservation provided fertile common ground for smart policymaking

Today, Washington is known more for acrimony and partisanship over policy than for achievement. Yet amidst all this noise and dysfunction, conservation—and the TRCP—had an amazing year in 2019.

Early in the year, Congress passed S. 47, a massive public lands bill that, among other things, protected key lands and waters and permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a critical conservation tool. It also clarified that all federal lands are open to hunting and fishing unless they are specifically closed through a public and transparent process.

Soon after, Congress passed legislation to manage water scarcity in the Colorado River and ramp up research on chronic wasting disease. Migrating animals got a helping hand in the Senate Highway Bill, thanks to a $250-million pilot program to build wildlife-friendly roadway crossings and aquatic connectivity projects. Lawmakers also invested in the next generation of hunters by modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Act.

On the administrative front, the Department of Interior made it harder to dispose of federal lands that are important for public access and outdoor recreation. And the Department of Commerce shut down the Atlantic menhaden fishery after Omega Protein—the only company that still practices industrial reduction fishing of this key forage species—decided to ignore federal catch limits.

The TRCP and its 60 formal partners played a key role in these victories and many others, proving once again that the voice of sportsmen and women transcends politics. Our annual report explores these accomplishments.

Hunting, fishing, and conservation have never been partisan issues. But today, a profound appreciation for the outdoors provides common ground for policymakers across the political spectrum to tackle some of our top priorities.

There are still many challenges, such as efforts to legitimize the overfishing of menhaden, roll back the Clean Water Act, or mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay and Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. But our united front, and that of sportsmen and women across the country, is proving to be a formidable force for good.

Thank you for your enduring support.

Sincerely,
Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO
Rod Nelson, Board Chair

 

Explore the 2019 Annual Report here.

 

Top photo by Kyle Mlynar.

February 21, 2020

New Film Highlights Importance of Big Game Migration in New Mexico

Scientists, sportsmen and women explain why seasonal habitat and migration routes for big game species must be conserved

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership released a film today exploring the importance of planning for migration corridor conservation in New Mexico and, more generally, across the West. The film, “Migration Corridors: Connecting the Wildlife and People of New Mexico,” features a New Mexican hunter and a hunting guide, officials from the U.S. Forest Service and New Mexico Game & Fish, and TRCP staff.

The film showcases the insights offered by the most recent research into big game migration corridors, the importance of these routes to wildlife, and the impact of wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation on New Mexico’s economy.

“We wanted to make a film that would highlight the importance of migration corridors and help explain why this has become a major priority for conservationists,” said John Cornell, southwest field manager for the TRCP. “Hunters have always known how important migration routes are for the animals we pursue each fall, and the most up-to-date science keeps making a stronger case for paying special attention to these habitats.”

To survive the varied seasonal conditions found across the West, big game must be able to move freely across the landscape at key times of the year to access nutritious food. Emerging science and recent technologies can pinpoint well-defined corridors traveled by animals during these migrations and measure how much time they spend in certain places along the way known as stopover habitats.

Research also shows that human development can disrupt the normal patterns of migrating ungulates.

Subdivisions, fences, roads, and energy development all contribute to the loss of big-game habitat and impede the migrations of these animals between the seasonal habitats on which they rely.

Like many other states across the West, New Mexico is in the first stages of mapping big game migration corridors with the most up-to-date GPS technology. This research will help guide policymakers as they make decisions about how to manage wildlife and human development.

“We have a lot of historic and local expert knowledge of big game movements on the landscape: A lot of local biologists and game wardens know the animals move into or out of these areas seasonally. But we have not identified those specifically…it is more just anecdotal evidence,” said Orrin Duvuvuei, deer biologist/migration coordinator with New Mexico Game & Fish.

The film also includes Dr. Karl Malcolm, southwestern regional wildlife ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service, who explained the coordinated effort that will be needed to manage for migration corridor conservation.

“If we—as a community of conservationists, government, non-government, federal, state, members of the public, NGOs— if we are going to do our job, we need to effectively consider the fact that the summer range and the winter range…need to be linked. Herds need to go where they have always gone,” said Malcolm.

In addition to Cornell, Duvuvuei, and Malcolm, the film also features hunting guide Art Martinez, local sportswoman and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers southwest chapter coordinator Katie DeLorenzo, New Mexico Game & Fish big game program manager Dr. Nicole Tatman, and TRCP chief scientist Dr. Ed Arnett.

The film can be viewed at the TRCP’s website and on its Facebook page.

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.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

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