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June 26, 2024

Hunters and Anglers Cheer House Introduction of the Bipartisan ACE Reauthorization Act  

Lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill to boost funding and provide crucial enhancements to conservation programs benefiting fish and wildlife.

The America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Reauthorization Act of 2024 was introduced in the House on Friday June 21, 2024. The ACE Reauthorization Act is sponsored by Representatives Wittman (R-Va.), Kiggans (R- Va.), Dingell (D-Mich.), and Thompson (D-Calif.), and would reauthorize multiple programs that benefit hunting and angling including, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This reauthorization provides technical improvements and administrative streamlining to improve these programs. It also helps address threats like chronic wasting disease

Earlier this year in a bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate passed companion legislation, that paved the way for legislation to be introduced in the House.  

“The America’s Conservation Enhancement Reauthorization Act will benefit fish and wildlife while enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of hunters and anglers,” said Becky Humphries, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, “TRCP applauds Representatives Wittman, Kiggans, Dingell, and Thompson for their leadership on this important bipartisan legislation and we look forward to building on the success of these crucial conservation programs through increased funding levels that will benefit our sporting traditions for years to come.” 

The original ACE Act was passed in 2020 and sponsored by Representatives Wittman and Thompson. Many of its authorizations will expire in 2025, necessitating the passage of the ACE Reauthorization Act to ensure these vital conservation programs can continue to operate in good legal standing.  

The legislation is endorsed by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation, American Sportfishing Association, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the National Audubon Society. 

The TRCP looks forward to working with the House of Representatives to ensure that this essential legislation for hunters and anglers reflects the authorization increases in the Senate version and becomes law.  

TRCP works to maintain and strengthen the future of hunting and fishing by uniting and amplifying our partners’ voices in conserving and restoring wildlife populations and their habitat as challenges continue to evolve.   

Learn more about TRCP’s commitment to healthy habitat and clean water here. 

Photo: James Wicks

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TRCP Celebrates New Wildlife Management Areas in the Final Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests Plan

823,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas a positive step to limit disturbance of sensitive big game habitats and migratory routes

Recently, the U.S. Forest Service finalized a revised Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests Plan after nearly a decade of planning and public input.

The new GMUG Forests Plan sets the guidelines that Forest Service staff must follow when planning and managing for multiple uses across over 3 million acres of national forest in southwest Colorado. This new plan enables the Forest Service to utilize the most up to date science to inform multiple-use management decisions, such as wildlife habitat improvement projects, timber harvest, road and trail development, off road vehicle use, fire mitigation, wildfire response, and disease management.

“The TRCP joins Colorado’s hunters and anglers in thanking the Forest Service for establishing 823,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas and adding Rocky Mountain and Desert Bighorn sheep to the GMUG’s list of Species of Conservation Concern,” said Liz Rose, Colorado field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “These concrete management priorities will ensure the big game species that rely on the Forests are conserved.”

Within the new WMAs, Forest staff must consider wildlife habitat function and connectivity when making management decisions. In an attempt to minimize habitat loss and provide a minimum threshold of security habitat for big game and other wildlife, the final plan has set a cap on the total miles of Forest Service roads and trails that can be built within each WMA. Establishing a total route density limit for WMAs is valuable to influence future project-level decisions that prevent road and trail construction through the most sensitive habitats, ensuring that habitat connectivity and function remains at the forefront of management considerations.

“I’d like to personally thank TRCP members and supporters who attended public meetings and submitted comments to the USFS regarding the GMUG Forests Plan revision during the scoping period in 2017, on the draft plan in 2019, and during the objection period in 2023,” continued Rose. “Taking action and describing our collective values and priorities to federal agency staff is an integral part of the planning process.”

These WMAs also set a valuable precedent for other relevant forests within Colorado and the West on how to plan responsible, multiple-use management that conserves the most sensitive big game habitats.

“We encourage other Forests to build on lessons learned to establish productive WMAs elsewhere that will capitalize on the growing body of science related to minimizing disturbance to big game and maximizing habitat connectivity and function so herds remain healthy and stable,” concluded Rose.

Learn more about TRCP’s work in Colorado HERE.


The TRCP is your no-B.S. resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now.

Photo Credit: Ray F.

June 24, 2024

Hunters Cheer Bipartisan, Bicameral Introduction of Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act

Act would formalize migration conservation programs that provide financial and technical assistance to states, Tribes, and private landowners

Today, hunters and conservationists celebrated the bipartisan Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act, introduced in the Senate by Senator Padilla (D-Calif.) and in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Zinke (R-Mont.) and Beyer (D-Va.).

“Successful migration conservation requires collaboration between local, state, Tribal and federal governments, private landowners, and the NGO community,” said Becky Humphries, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This bill would authorize existing federal programs that support locally driven, collaborative conservation projects that restore and conserve the most important areas wildlife need to migrate and move to fulfill their lifecycle needs. TRCP thanks Senator Padilla, Representative Zinke, and Representative Beyer for introducing this critically important, bipartisan legislation.”

Migration corridor conservation has been a priority of elected officials and state, Tribal, and federal agencies for years, and this legislation provides Congress the opportunity to support collaborative partnerships, policies, and funding that advance the research and conservation of big game migration corridors and crucial seasonal habitats.

The Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act would formally authorize existing federal programs initiated by the Department of the Interior during the Trump Administration through Secretarial Order 18-3362, signed by Secretary Zinke, to conserve big game migration corridors. These programs have been supported and expanded by the Biden Administration but remain discretionary. Congressional action to formalize these discretionary programs guarantees that the work will persist regardless of future administration changes. This is important because state and Tribal wildlife agency annual budgets are unable to meet the full demand for resource management. The financial and technical assistance from these federal programs would help to bridge that gap.

The legislation would:

Establish the Wildlife Movement and Migration Corridor Program at the Department of the Interior, to be administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to fund projects that improve or conserve habitat quality in movement areas including habitat treatment projects, fence modification, and wildlife crossings.

Establish a State and Tribal Migration Research Program at the Department of the Interior to provide funds directly to state fish and wildlife agencies and Tribes for research that improves understanding of wildlife movement and migration routes.

Allow for funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners undertaking voluntary conservation projects that support wildlife movement and migration routes on their land.

Support the U.S. Geological Survey’s Corridor Mapping Team to provide technical assistance to states and Tribes to map priority routes.

“While this Act codifies programs established within the Department of the Interior for big game, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Transportation also have programs that contribute to migration corridor conservation,” said Madeleine West, Center for Public Lands director for the TRCP. “The legislation would direct DOI, USDA, and DOT to coordinate together, and with states and Tribes, to further migration corridor conservation.”

This past spring, West appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife where she encouraged lawmakers to make strategic investments in corridor research and conservation. Senator Padilla is Chair of the subcommittee. Support for wildlife corridor conservation has persisted across multiple presidential administrations and within state governments, both Republican and Democrat.

“We thank Senator Padilla and Representatives Zinke and Beyer for leading this legislation and supporting voluntary, cooperative conservation that will build on successful frameworks,” said Chuck Sykes, director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and president of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “State fish and wildlife agencies have developed conservation plans identifying and integrating wildlife movement and migration routes but need the funding to put these projects on the ground with their partners.”

“The Mule Deer Foundation applauds the introduction of this much needed legislation to ensure that conservation partners can continue to work with federal and state agencies in sustaining big game and other wildlife populations that move from place to place,” said Steve Belinda, Chief Conservation Officer for the Mule Deer Foundation. “This bill allows the partnership approach that is already happening to continue and provides essential funding to ensure future collaboration and management of wildlife and their habitat is successful.”

“The Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act is directly aligned with the mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and we thank Senator Padilla and Representatives Zinke and Beyer for introducing this bipartisan and bicameral legislation,” said Kyle Weaver, president and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “RMEF has successfully advocated in Washington D.C. to prioritize migratory areas through Interior Secretarial Order 3362, the Wildlife Highway Crossings Pilot Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and USDA’s Migratory Big Game Initiative. Generous contributions by RMEF members and partner organizations have allowed us to make these valuable habitat investments critical to conserving and improving elk and wildlife habitat. RMEF’s mapping work has accelerated through partnerships with U.S. Geological Survey researchers at the University of Wyoming and partnerships with state wildlife agencies and the federal land management agencies in the Interior and Agriculture Departments. Passage of Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act will send a clear message that Congress prioritizes big game migration and habitat enhancement now and in the future.”

Photo Credit: USFWS

June 21, 2024

TRCP to Engage in Forest Service Draft Environmental Impact Statement for National Old Growth Amendment

Organization encourages the U.S. Forest Service to support conservation that includes proactive forest management within nation’s old growth forests

Today, the U.S. Forest Service published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that will amend 122 land management plans across the National Forest System to direct future management of old growth forests. The national amendment aims to establish consistent management direction and develop adaptive management strategies that maintain and enhance old-growth forest conditions.

“Hunters and anglers have long been key stakeholders engaged in shaping management decisions across our nation’s 193-million-acre National Forest System,” said Michael O’Casey, deputy director of Forest Policy and Northwest Programs for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The sporting community understands the importance of forest diversity, including old forests, and TRCP is encouraged that the agency’s modified proposed action supports active stewardship which will ensure key forest management tools remain available.”

Resilient, functioning forest ecosystems provide clean air, water, viable plant and animal populations, carbon sequestration, and cultural values to society. Old growth stands are integral components of these ecosystems, and the hunting and fishing community also recognizes the importance of supporting young and middle-aged stands to sustain wildlife habitat.

Forests are dynamic, evolving landscapes, requiring adaptive management across varied ages and stages to thrive. The Forest Service’s proposed action on old growth demonstrates that the agency recognizes active restoration is critical to maintaining older forests in many places on the landscape.

“Proactive stewardship activities like controlled burns, mechanical thinning, and stewardship contracting help to maintain and restore forest health by mitigating the risk of severe wildfires, disease outbreaks, and insect infestations, which are the leading threats to forest health today,” continued O’Casey. “Forest stewardship also supports mill infrastructure and forest industry jobs, components that are necessary to increase the pace and scale of needed restoration projects across the country.”

Over the next 90 days, the TRCP will work closely with our partners and engage our members to provide detailed comments that ensure a final policy will benefit the health and resilience of our forests.

Learn more about TRCP’s recent work on our nation’s forests HERE.

Photo Credit: Jack Lander

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New Video Highlights Why Investments in Arizona’s Sky Islands Will Benefit Hunters for Generations

TRCP’s new video explains how BIL and IRA investments in Arizona’s Sky Islands will benefit hunters for generations.

With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act presenting a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the restoration and renewal of our nation’s public lands, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is sharing a short video, the final video of a three-part series, highlighting the benefits of these critical investments to hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationalists in Arizona’s Sky Islands landscape.

The hunting and fishing-focused conservation nonprofit has posted the video (embedded below) to their YouTube Channel to ensure that hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationalists are aware of the significant benefits to fish, wildlife, and habitat.

Arizona’s mountainous Sky Islands, often rising over 6,000 feet above the surrounding Sonoran desert grasslands, boast extraordinarily diverse ecosystems that are seldom found in other parts of the West. This unique landscape harbors a distinctive mix of game species such as pronghorn, mule deer, and numerous species of quail, offering incredible, year-round hunting opportunities across the southern part of the state. Through a $9.59 million investment, complemented by $2.3 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the BLM is working to restore Sonoran grassland habitat, protect crucial migration corridors, and improve hunting opportunities for present and future generations of Americans.  

“We are thrilled to highlight how these investments are accelerating the restoration and resilience of this iconic landscape, while improving hunting opportunities for present and future generations,” said Christian Fauser, TRCP’s western water policy associate. “The BLM has needed these resources for a long time, and this is a huge win for public land conservation.”  

At the heart of the video is the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, where dedicated professionals are spearheading efforts to breathe new life into the region’s soaring landscapes. Featuring commentary from BLM’s Gila District staff as well as representatives from the Arizona Antelope Foundation and Arizona Fish and Game, the video emphasizes the critical role these investments play in safeguarding habitat for wildlife and ensuring recreational opportunities for the next generations of hunters and anglers.   

Watch the video HERE 


The TRCP is your resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now

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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