July 27, 2023

Conservation Fund Helps PA Partnership Protect Chesapeake Watershed

The Northcentral Stream Restoration Partnership’s project work in the Bay’s watershed, supported by the state’s Environmental Stewardship Fund, has improved over 25 miles of streams at 184 sites.

Pennsylvania has approximately 86,000 miles of streams and rivers. Unfortunately, current and past land use practices have negatively impacted this vast resource. Many streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are considered impaired by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. One of the common impairments in the Bay watershed is excessive nutrient enrichment and sedimentation in agricultural settings, due to human-caused erosion.

In 2007, a partnership among the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Pennsylvania DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office, and the local County Conservation Districts was formed to tackle stream restoration and watershed stabilization in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Referred to as the Northcentral Stream Restoration Partnership, the group has worked diligently to address watershed health since its inception. In fact, since the first season of project implementation in 2009, the partnership has improved over 25 miles of streams at 184 sites. From its 2007 formation through 2022, the partnership has utilized $4.3 million in funding to complete these projects. Of this total, a full $3.3 million was provided by Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener Plus Program, which is supported by the commonwealth’s Environmental Stewardship Fund. Like the state’s Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the ESF is a funding source for Community Conservation Partnership Program grants. 

Streamside Restoration to Combat Erosion

While some erosion in a stream channel is a natural part of the stream hydrology, excessive erosion can release too much nitrogen and phosphorus-laden sediment into the stream which can cover the stream bottom, destroy aquatic habitats, and reduce the diversity and abundance of aquatic life. This is where the Northcentral Stream Restoration Partnership comes into play.

The partnership strives to restore the watersheds of northcentral Pennsylvania while maintaining a working agricultural landscape. We focus on a collaborative, low-cost approach to stream restoration. This involves working with the local landowners to advance stream corridor restoration projects that will reduce nonpoint source pollution, or excessive nutrient and sediment inputs in agricultural settings. A typical project involves livestock exclusion fencing, creating stable agricultural stream crossings, riparian buffer plantings, and the installation of in-stream habitat improvement devices.

The PFBC Stream Habitat Section works with the partnership to design and construct these in-stream habitat improvement devices, which not only provide fish habitat, but also stabilize eroding stream banks. Common improvement devices include mud sills and log vane deflectors. Mud sills are structures at the water’s edge that form undercut banks and are used on steeper stream banks to remove pressure from the banks, providing a great way to stabilize erosion while also generating an excellent source of overhead cover for fish. By comparison, log vane deflectors are used to divert the flow of water away from the stream bank toward the center of the stream channel, thus reducing stream bank erosion.

The Pennsylvania DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office, Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the local county conservation districts administer the implementation funding and design; install livestock exclusion fencing and stable agriculture stream crossings; and plant streamside trees and other native vegetation in a riparian buffer.   

Methods Ideal for Streams in Agricultural Settings

Installing habitat improvement devices, exclusion fencing, agricultural stream crossings, and riparian buffers offers an ideal way to achieve a healthy watershed in a working agricultural setting. Livestock exclusion fencing and stable stream crossings are critical to stream bank stabilization and watershed restoration, while the riparian buffer, planted between the exclusion fencing and the stream, serves many benefits. Roots stabilize stream banks, reduce the amount of sediment that enters the water, and absorb nutrients; mature trees and other plants provide shade to keep the water cooler; and the woody debris and leaf litter that falls into streams helps form the base of the food chain and provides habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, including important insects.

The partnership’s efforts are continuing strong in 2023. A current focus of the partnership is Turtle Creek watershed in Union County. This area is predominately an agricultural landscape, and the creek is currently impaired due to excessive siltation. The project started with one landowner contacting the Union County Conservation District to request help with bank erosion occurring in his pasture. Once the project had been completed and the results were clearly visible, the initial project prompted other farmers and neighbors to request assistance on their properties.

This partnership has now restored more than four miles of Turtle Creek to date, with more projects planned for this year and beyond. Additionally, results from scientific surveys provide evidence that the creek is on its way to generating a healthier watershed. 

Partnership Necessary for Success

The Northcentral Stream Restoration Partnership’s motto is “Everyone does a little, so no one has to do it all.” Partnerships are effective in part because efforts are spread among all members, and this is just one of many partnerships that the PFBC’s Stream Habitat Section participates in.

For more information on habitat improvement in Pennsylvania, visit the PFBC habitat improvement page.

Tyler Neimond is chief of the Division of Habitat Management for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and exploring the natural resources of the commonwealth. Click here to learn more about ways the commission is working to improve fish habitat, coordinate dam removals, and provide technical assistance on the design of riparian buffers.

Support Pennsylvania’s state conservation funding programs by letting lawmakers know they matter to you.


 Photo credits: Noah Davis

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July 13, 2023

Senate Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Pending Legislation 

The pending legislation seeks to benefit fish, wildlife, outdoor access, and the economy.

Yesterday’s hearing of the Senate ENR Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining featured testimony on pending legislation aimed at protecting, and benefiting, fish, wildlife, outdoor access, and the economy.  

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership thanks Chairwoman Cortez Mastro (D-N.M.) and Ranking Member Mike Lee (R-Utah) for holding this public lands subcommittee hearing, says Patrick Donovan, chief policy officer at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We remain dedicated to ensuring the places Americans love to hunt and fish are conserved and look forward to working with the Committee to advance these and other important habitat and access priorities this Congress.” 

Among the many pieces of legislation considered on Wednesday, TRCP priorities include: 

The Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act

The Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act aims to find collaborative solutions that benefit fish, wildlife, and the local outdoor economy. “We believe that the Owyhee Plateau is a landscape that should be safeguarded for future generations of American sportsmen and sportswomen, says Michael O’Casey, deputy director for the Pacific Northwest at TRCP, “We appreciate Senator Wyden’s efforts to bring diverse stakeholders to the table to discuss ways to protect the Owyhee canyon country and the multiple uses it supports. This hearing provided an opportunity for feedback and possible improvements to the bill, so it achieves its promise for public lands, fish and wildlife, and the Malheur County economy.  Speak up for Owyhee Protections here.

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, led by Senator Bennet (D-Colo) seeks to protect over 420,000 acres of public lands in Colorado and safeguard outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations.

The Dolores River National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act

The Dolores River National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act, which enjoys bipartisan support in the House, would designate a National Conservation Area (NCA) for a portion of the Dolores River Corridor and protect over 68,000 acres of public lands in Colorado.

Together, The CORE Act and The Dolores River National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act, would protect prime hunting and fishing destinations in Colorado, like the Thompson Divide, miles of trout streams and elk and mule deer range, and unlock new public fishing access in the Gunnison River Basin. Learn more about the importance of hunting and fishing access here.

The TRCP remains committed to working with Congress to advance these and other important public lands, habitat, and access legislation. 

Watch the Senate ENR Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining hearing here

June 8, 2023

Once-In-A-Generation BLM Investment Sets the Stage for Habitat Improvements Across the West

$161 million will be allocated over 21 projects in 11 states

On Wednesday, May 31, the Bureau of Land Management announced a $161 million investment in ecosystem restoration and resilience work on our nation’s public lands. These funds are allocated from the Inflation Reduction Act as part of the administration’s Investing in America agenda. The BLM will focus work on 21 different landscapes across 11 western states

“The Bureau of Land Management’s significant financial commitment will benefit local communities across the West, while boosting fish and wildlife habitat and our sporting traditions,” said Joel Webster, VP of western conservation with the TRCP. “The BLM has needed these resources for a long time, and TRCP is excited to see these dollars hit the ground in the form of beneficial management projects.”

This huge win for public land conservation has TRCP field staff from Alaska to Colorado eager to see habitat improvements in their respective states. Below are our top projects.

  • Alaska

The Birch Creek and Fortymile Wild and Scenic Rivers are renowned for their remote yet relatively accessible DIY opportunities to hunt caribou and moose, fish for Arctic grayling, and explore big, wild country. Very few places allow for multi-day float trips on primitive sections of river, while also being accessible by road. The BLM’s $5 million investment here will improve water quality and aquatic habitat in these diverse watersheds, which in turn will support subsistence and recreational fisheries.

“The TRCP applauds the BLM’s commitment to restore these prized public lands and waters in Eastern Interior Alaska, which offer extraordinary recreational, cultural and historic values,” said Jen Leahy, TRCP’s Alaska program manager. “By improving water quality and aquatic habitat, and ensuring safe access for year-round recreation, future generations will be able to enjoy these diverse watersheds and fisheries that fuel Alaska’s powerhouse recreation economy.”

  • Oregon

The vast sagebrush-steppe of southeast Oregon is a stronghold for greater sage-grouse, pronghorn, mule deer, and other iconic wildlife. By planting sagebrush, treating invasive vegetation, promoting native plants, and cutting fuel breaks, this key habitat will be strengthened and restored. The project will provide $5 million towards the restoration of 3.7 million acres of BLM sagebrush landscapes.

“We’re excited to see the BLM include the region between the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge as one of the 21 nationally recognized projects,” said Michael O’Casey, TRCP’s deputy director for the Pacific Northwest.  “The TRCP has been working for several years to conserve a pronghorn migration corridor on these BLM lands, and we’re thrilled to see restoration dollars here on the ground.”

  • Nevada

The Montana Mountains in northwest Nevada will see $6 million invested into aquatic restoration and conservation. The perennial springs in the high desert oasis are critical to this ecosystem that hosts antelope, mule deer, greater sage-grouse, pygmy rabbit, and other species endemic to sagebrush country.

“The Montana Mountains support Lahontan cutthroat trout in several small streams on the east side of the range, and on top is some of the most intact greater sage-grouse habitat in this part of the state,” said Carl Erquiaga, TRCP’s Nevada field representative. “However, this mountain range is not without its threats. Wildfire has altered large portions of the mountain, allowing invasive cheatgrass to expand. Additionally, mining interests vie for important lithium deposits that exist across much of the area which is part of the McDermitt Caldera. These funds could not have come at a better time for restoration work.”

  • Colorado

The San Luis Valley is a sacred area to a number of Tribes, and the wetlands are invaluable habitat for birds, fish, and mammals. Through a $6.1 million investment, the BLM looks to restore habitat, improve hunting and fishing opportunities, and bolster fire and drought resistance. The work here will conserve cultural and historic spaces, expand public use, and help manage natural resources at the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

“The $6.1 million dedicated to the San Luis Valley Restoration Landscape is a historic investment in restoring wildlife habitat and fisheries, improving hunting and fishing opportunities, and building resilience to drought and wildfire,” said Alex Funk, TRCP Director of Water Resources. “TRCP is excited to begin the work of supporting local partners, including Ducks Unlimited, in utilizing these funds to increase the pace and scale of wetland ecosystems, while improving hunting and fishing access in the headwaters of the Rio Grande.”

  • Montana

A land of intersections, the headwaters of the Missouri River and the mountain ranges that steeple southwestern Montana create a wildlife habitat confluence where westslope cutthroat, Arctic grayling, mule deer, elk, and greater sage-grouse have maintained solid footing. Multi-generational ranches interspersed with public land knit a quilt of agriculture and outdoor recreation. These precious pillars of wildlife and cultural value will receive a $9.98 million investment to bolster their longevity.

“We are pleased to see the BLM invest in restoration efforts in the Missouri Headwaters Landscape,” said Scott Laird, TRCP’s Montana field representative. “There have been significant changes to this landscape and its habitats with new threats and pressures on the horizon.  This area supports exceptional big game migration routes, critical sagebrush steppe habitat, and world class cold-water fisheries. Sportsmen and women should be encouraged with the prioritization of restoration for these BLM lands.”

  • Wyoming

While most anglers will be familiar with the Colorado River cutthroat, this native fish shares Muddy Creek with lesser-known species like the bluehead and flannelmouth suckers and roundtail chub. All these cold-water fish, along with the winter range and migratory corridors to the east of the creek, stand to benefit from the $10 million in fuels reduction, stream and wetland enhancement, and erosion control set to hit the ground here in the headwaters of the Colorado River basin.

“The BLM’s investment in the Muddy Creek Area is a win-win for Wyomingites. Habitat improvements will increase forage conditions for livestock grazers and big game populations, a critical step for recovering populations of pronghorn and mule deer that were devastated by the past winter,” said the TRCP’s Wyoming field manager, Josh Metten. “Local communities stand to benefit from jobs created by these boots on the ground projects, which also include wildfire mitigation and stream health improvements for native Colorado Cutthroat trout.”  

  • Idaho

The Upper Salmon River is a critical cold-water refuge for salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Here in these headwaters, the BLM manages over 3,000 miles of streams and river corridors that are also home to elk, mule deer, and greater sage-grouse. Working with local communities and Tribal partners, the BLM plans to invest $9.1 million to replace culverts, reduce fuels, address conifer encroachment, increase diversity of native grasses and forbs, and improve water quality that will benefit wildlife and local communities alike.

“BLM’s commitment of nearly $27 million to restore three landscapes across Idaho will benefit fish and wildlife,” said Rob Thornberry, TRCP’s Idaho field representative. “It will also benefit hunters and anglers and local economies in the areas where BLM lands will be actively restored. Everyone should see wins from this investment.”

Photo Credit: Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith

May 17, 2023

Plumer’s Senate Testimony Encourages Fish and Wildlife Focused Solutions to Water Management Challenges

Appearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, TRCP Chief Conservation Officer Christy Plumer encouraged lawmakers to make strategic investments and improve agency collaboration  

Yesterday, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership was honored by the invitation to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure on water management issues including drought and water conservation.

The TRCP is dedicated to ensuring the places Americans love to hunt and fish are conserved and the species upon which we depend as hunters and anglers are managed at sustainable levels. Therefore, water conservation and federal and state authorities related to water quantity and quality are core to our mission.

Chief Conservation Officer, Christy Plumer, touched on the growing water management challenges, particularly in the West, and the opportunity for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to advance nature-based solutions. As Congress heads toward consideration of the Water Resources Development Act of 2024, we are encouraging the Committee to invest in existing drought resilience programs including the Sustainable Rivers Program, Continuing Authority Program, and drought-specific WRDA 2022 provisions; strengthen technical assistance through the Silver Jackets Program and other community-based efforts; enhance cross-boundary partnerships; update the Corps’ benefit cost analysis to advance natural and nature-based infrastructure; and invest in recreational infrastructure through the LAKES Act (S. 1358). Click here to read Plumer’s written testimony.

We stand ready to work with the Subcommittee and full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Congress, and the Corps to advance these fish and wildlife focused solutions.

View Plumer’s Senate testimony here.

May 11, 2023

Six Major Investments in Conservation Announced This Spring

An influx of conservation funding will have an impact from our nation’s streams and migration corridors to imperiled grasslands and waterfowl habitats

After years of advocating for stronger funding of fish and wildlife habitat improvements, it’s an exciting time for sportsmen and sportswomen—these dollars are beginning to hit the ground and have an impact where we hunt and fish.

In 2021 and 2022, our community played a critical role in ensuring that once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s infrastructure and climate response also create more quality places to enjoy the outdoors. We pushed for projects that have layered benefits, including stronger fish and wildlife populations, better habitat connectivity, more climate resilience, and safeguards for communities that face increasingly intense flooding, drought, and wildfire.

Now, federal agencies are rolling out their plans to address top-priority projects using these and other funds. Here are six major investments that hunters and anglers should know about.

Gannon Castle/USFWS

More Than $13 Million for Migration Routes

Most recently, the deputy secretary of the Interior announced a plan detailing how $4 million in grants and $9.2 million in matching funds will power 13 projects that conserve key migration paths and other habitat important to pronghorns, elk, and mule deer across nine states. According to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which administers the grants, these projects will create new easements, improve 890 miles of fencing to encourage animal movement, improve management of 900,000+ acres of rangeland, treat 13,000 acres for invasive plants, and restore more than 200,000 acres of public, private, and tribal lands.


98 Forest Service Projects to Boost Access and Habitat

Earlier this month, the administration announced that $36 million would go to nearly 100 projects that improve water quality, roads, trails, bridges, and fish habitat on national forests and grasslands nationwide. The Forest Service’s Legacy Roads and Trails Program will distribute funds for habitat and access improvements in 51 national forests across 25 states. More detail on the specific projects can be found here.

USFWS Robert Keith

Strategic Distribution of Duck Stamp and NAWCA Funds

Beyond investments driven by recent infrastructure and climate legislation, funds have also been released for longstanding conservation programs that are well known with hunters. In April, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved more than $146 million to help conserve or restore 242,000 acres of wetlands and uplands. This includes $50.9 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants that will be matched by more than $73.4 million in partner funds. (Good to know: NAWCA has had a proven impact on waterfowl populations since 1989 and serves as the model for the new North American Grasslands Conservation Act, which would empower private landowners to improve native prairies and sagebrush habitat.) Another $21.7 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund—drawn primarily from the sale of Duck Stamps—will conserve and expand five national wildlife refuges across four states, enhancing public hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation access.

USFWS Katrina Liebich

39 Projects to Restore River Connectivity

In April, the Department of the Interior unveiled a $35-million investment for fish passage projects in 22 states that will address outdated or obsolete dams, culverts, levees, and other barriers fragmenting rivers and streams. It is one piece of a $3-billion commitment to improving aquatic habitat connectivity using funds authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. In a statement, the department described the locally led, collaborative development of each of the nearly 40 projects, nine of which will be implemented by Tribes. Atlantic salmon, American shad, Pacific salmon and steelhead, and other fish species will benefit.


Millions to Boost Irreplaceable Waterfowl Habitat

Interior also announced in March that it will invest $23 million in landscape-scale conservation and restoration in the Prairie Pothole Region as part of its plan for $120 million in new conservation funding authorized by legislation in 2022. This investment will prevent habitat loss in an area that supports more than half of North America’s waterfowl. DOI’s plan also includes $20 million for projects in the Lower Mississippi River Valley and $10 million for habitat restoration in the Upper Mississippi and Illinois River. Taken together, these three pots of funding signal a significant investment in the health of the river and the Central and Mississippi flyways. We covered this in more detail here.

Nearly $1B for Private Lands Habitat

The administration announced in mid-February that $850 million from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act will be distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help fund oversubscribed private land conservation programs at the Natural Resources Conservation Service. These dollars will benefit fish, wildlife, habitat connectivity, and hunting and fishing opportunities in rural America by supporting a diverse range of voluntary activities that also boost climate resilience, such as planting filter strips and grassed waterways, improving grazing management, and restoring wetlands. We covered this in more detail here.



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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