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April 9, 2024

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April 1, 2024

Hunters Celebrate Idaho’s Effort to Improve Highway Safety and Assure Deer, Elk Sustainability 

The Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass was built specifically to foster highway safety and accommodate wildlife 

To the naked eye, Idaho State Highway 21 between Mile Post 19 and Mile Post 20 is a non-descript bend on a main route between Idaho’s largest city, Boise, and the state’s copious public lands and its high-country, wild heart.  

To the Idaho Transportation Department and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, however, that stretch of highway is the epicenter of ITD’s mission to provide safe passage for travelers and IDFG’s mission to preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage Idaho’s wildlife resources for Idaho’s citizens.  

It is there, at exactly mile 19.32, that transportation officials constructed the Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass. The first of its kind in Idaho, the overpass is a bridge built specifically to foster highway safety and accommodate wildlife. The overpass opened in November 2023, and based on photos from its first winter, it has been a roaring success. 

Once animals become more acclimated to the structure, transportation officials believe the bridge will reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in this area by up to 80 percent. 

This project is a win-win supported by a broad-based coalition of supporters including ITD, IDFG, the City of Boise, the Boise National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local businesses, non-government organizations, and a variety of interested citizens. The $7-million project was primarily funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s 2017 Idaho Federal Lands Access Program grant, and hunters contributed matching funds to the project through Pittman-Robertson money. 

The wildlife crossing improves motorist safety by reducing risks of wildlife-vehicle collisions. In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 158 people were killed and more than 10,000 injured in car crashes involving wildlife across the country. According to State Farm Insurance, there were more than 1.8 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. The average cost from July 2016 to June 2017 was $4,179 per claim. Damage costs have only risen in the last seven years. 

An 80 percent reduction in wildlife-vehicle collisions is a major victory on a highway that will only grow busier as Idaho’s population continues to grow. 

The wildlife crossing directly benefits the Boise River mule deer and elk herds and the hunters who chase them. Roughly 8,000 to 9,000 mule deer and 1,800 to 2,400 elk cross State Highway 21 twice annually to move between high country summer ranges and the winter range on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and nearby public lands that surround Lucky Peak Reservoir. 

Conserving these migration corridors, which include stop-over areas and crucial winter ranges, is essential to the long-term viability of wildlife populations and the economies that survive on these resources. Accessing seasonal ranges is vital for the existence of sustainably-managed populations of big game animals.  

The Cervidae Peak Wildlife Overpass is a key piece of infrastructure ensuring that future, and a prime example of positive collaboration between federal, state, and private conservation efforts. 

Learn more about TRCP’s work in the Pacific Northwest HERE. 

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New Video Explains Why Some PA Trout Streams Lack Full Protections

TRCP’s short production explains how the state’s best waters receive necessary safeguards, but also why a growing list awaits full protections

With Pennsylvania’s 2024 trout fishing season opener slated for this Saturday, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is sharing a short explainer video that highlights the problem of a growing backlog of streams that have been recommended for additional environmental designations, but have not yet received them.

The hunting and angling-focused conservation nonprofit will post the video (embedded below) on social media channels in its entirety on April 6, the Pennsylvania trout fishing opener, to ensure that anglers are aware of the issue.

Some trout streams that the state’s Fish and Boat Commission have designated as Wild Trout or Class A streams, and recommended for full protection to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection years ago, still haven’t received these safeguards. Thus there is a growing backlog of streams awaiting designation at the department. TRCP’s video will ensure that anglers are aware of the problem and urge officials to resolve the bottleneck in the process by describing it in an easy-to-understand structure.

“We want to ensure that everyday anglers are aware of how Pennsylvania’s streams and trout fishing opportunities are safeguarded, and how they can take actions to help protect their favorite waters,” said Alexandra Kozak, Pennsylvania field manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This is a somewhat complicated process, but with a single issue preventing the realization of full protections for many streams.”

In Pennsylvania, as in other states, TRCP works to build coalitions from the sporting and conservation communities to identify and work toward shared policy goals around conserving habitat and funding conservation programs. The organization seeks to advance public policy in the state’s General Assembly through strategic campaigns, grassroots organizing, and scientific research. This is accomplished by maintaining relationships with the Governor’s office, state agencies, hunting and fishing organizations, and regional and local businesses that help champion a hunting, fishing, and conservation-focused agenda.

Top issues TRCP focuses on in Pennsylvania include securing water quality protections for the state’s trout streams and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, ensuring legislative support for the outdoor recreation economy, defending hunter and angler access, and promoting the benefits of state-level conservation funding.

To learn more about TRCP’s conservation efforts in Pennsylvania, visit the organization’s webpage dedicated to state issues at trcp.org/pa.

You can also send DEP a message to clear the streams backlog through our simple comment form.

Banner Image Credit: Noah Davis

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March 27, 2024

In the Arena: Lindsay Agness

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation.

Lindsay Agness

Hometown: Honeoye Falls, New York
Occupation: Retired. Previously an IT Director for Eastman Kodak Co. and Project Director for a local health care system.
Conservation credentials: VP of Youth Education, New York State Council Trout Unlimited; Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers program volunteer; Girls Scouts STREAM Girls Program volunteer; New York State Fishing Guide.

Lindsay Agness is an angler, conservationist, and passionate outdoor educator. Introduced to the outdoors by her grandparents, Agness has effectively used her passion for fly fishing to engage youth, teens, and college students on the importance of conservation and stream health to ensure that the joy of fishing carries on for future generations. Agness was inducted into the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame in 2022 for her fisheries and conservation focused volunteer work.

Here is her story.

I was blessed to be born into a hunting and fishing family.  My grandparents were born in Germany in 1902 and then came to the U.S. They introduced me to the outdoors— we had a lot of woods to run and play in.  My grandfather, an avid deer hunter and fisherman, owned a summer cottage on Honeoye Lake in upstate New York, and he and my grandmother taught me about fishing there. My grandmother was a great role model for me, and she is the one who taught me to love the outdoors.

Today, my favorite place to fish is in the hills of Potter County, Pennsylvania in the Susquehannock State Forest area for wild brook trout. These small mountain streams are so pristine, and the mountains are fun to explore. The wild book trout there are so beautiful. I can spend hours fishing and just get lost in nature. There is little cell phone reception, so you are completely off the grid and the evening hatches are unbelievably spectacular!

My most memorable outdoor adventure was fishing for arctic char in Bristol Bay, Alaska. I did a trip with The Lodge at 58 North and guides Kate and Justin Crump.  We started each day with an early morning fly-out on a float plan to the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge and fished in gorgeous scenery for beautiful arctic char. It is my favorite fishing memory and the excitement of that day is still with me.

Where I live in New York, the biggest conservation challenge is low water levels and higher than normal water temperatures. They are stressing out our trout species. These challenging conditions, over extended periods of time, can be lethal for our brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. I believe that the survival of these species is critical, and it will ensure that future generations enjoy the sport of fly fishing. Our fisheries cannot take care of themselves, and I believe that our actions can speak for the trout. We need to champion our local watersheds for future generations.

I currently serve as the Vice President for Youth Education on the New York State Council for Trout Unlimited.  As a volunteer, I work with youth, teens, and college clubs to teach about conservation, stream health, fishing and how to be stream ambassadors through a variety of initiatives. Our youth and teens need to be engaged and exposed to the joy of the outdoors and nature — and I believe that these experiences also improve their physical and mental health.

Through the Stream Explorer programs like Trout in the Classroom, which put aquariums in schools to raise trout for release into local streams, we have partnered with over 272 schools in New York, educating over 21,828 students on cold water conservation.  We also help educate teens through Girls Scouts STREAM Girls programs and the Scouts BSA merit badge — teaching the basics of stream ecology, stream science and fly fishing. Additionally, we engage with the local college fishing clubs across 10 college campuses in New York through the Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers programs, fostering the involvement of students in local conservation work near their college campuses.

Conservation is a huge part of my outdoor life.  I love fly fishing for trout and being an ambassador for my local waters is essential to the efforts of maintaining a healthy population of fish. I am steadfastly committed to keeping our local streams and trails litter free and supporting our local Trout Unlimited chapter in tree planting and stream conservation work.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org


Hunters and anglers have always been the unsung heroes of conservation in America, quietly paying it forward every time we buy a license, a box of ammo, or a tank of boat fuel. We know you’re not satisfied with simply going hunting or fishing and then going home—so go the extra distance.

Click here and help us wake the woods by taking action on the conservation issues that matter right now.

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March 25, 2024

Wyoming Conservation Wins from the 2024 Legislative Session 

The Kelly Parcel, HB 60, and elk were in the spotlight

We’ve made it through the tumultuous 2024 Wyoming legislative session. Thanks to the efforts of Wyoming sportspeople, we can count several wins for wildlife and the future of our great state!

The Kelly Parcel PASSED!

One section of the Governor’s budget that gained special attention was the sale of the Kelly Parcel to Grand Teton National Park for $100 million – a windfall for public education and wildlife. This parcel of state trust land contains valuable big game habitat and migration routes, including the famous Path of the Pronghorn, which is why the TRCP and a coalition of nine sportsmen’s groups submitted a letter of support for conveyance.

Our voices were heard, and an amendment to retain hunting and grazing on the Kelly Parcel in perpetuity was also added. More work is needed to finalize the conservation of this important parcel, but we’ve passed a major hurdle!

The TRCP thanks the lawmakers who advocated for conserving the Kelly Parcel, our members for their public testimony and written comments, and our partner organizations for their work on this issue.

Invasive Grasses Funding PASSED!

The Governor’s budget also includes a $9 million allocation for battling the spread of invasive grasses, such as cheatgrass, which degrades habitat and threatens big game winter range.

Large Projects Funding PASSED!

This annual legislation authorizes the Wildlife Trust to allocate matching funds to leverage important conservation projects across the state. This year’s projects include a $2.9 million fish passage project in the Greybull River drainage and over $7.5 million for several habitat enhancement projects for mule deer, elk, moose, and antelope.

HB0067 Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Trust Fund Administration-2. PASSED!

House Bill 67 sets up a board to allocate funds sitting in the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Trust Fund established in 2023. This bill will help fund small outdoor recreation infrastructure projects such as shooting ranges, boat ramps, and trails in communities throughout Wyoming.

HB 60 – Excess Wildlife Damage Amendments DEAD

House Bill 60—Elk Population Damage Amendments—was a highly controversial bill that could have had major impacts to the sportspeople-funded budget of WGFD without solving the elk overpopulation issues it sought to address. It would have also disincentivized the partnerships we need between the department, landowners, and sportspeople to find durable solutions.

The TRCP recognizes that wildlife damage can be a significant issue for landowners, and we look forward to sitting down with all parties to find a Wyoming solution to this issue.

Thanks for Entering the Arena of Conservation!

While this session delivered wins for the outstanding wildlife values of the Kelly Parcel and funding for important conservation projects across the state, we were also faced with threats to publicly held wildlife. We thank our dedicated supporters for entering the arena of conservation and advocating for our issues. Wyoming is a small town with a very long street, and your voice makes a difference.

Photo Credit: Josh Metten

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.

Learn More

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