Tuesday, April 22, 2014

AFWA Releases Two Resource Guides to Federal and NGO Climate Adaptation Programs

Fish and wildlife provide many important ecosystem and cultural services that support people, communities and economies across the country. Many observed changes in the global climate are impacting valuable natural resources. These impacts are expected to compound existing threats to fish and wildlife and their habitats, making it more difficult and costly for state fish and wildlife agencies to manage.

Climate change adaptation, defined as an adjustment in natural and/or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities and moderates negative impacts, is a new and rapidly expanding part of fish and wildlife conservation.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Climate Change Committee cited a need for a greater understanding of the available resources from federal agencies and natural resource conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities to which state fish and wildlife agency managers can refer for climate adaptation information and assistance.

As a result, the Association has released two, new publications–the Resource Guide to Federal Adaptation Climate Programs for State Fish & WildlifeAgencies and the Resource Guide to NGO Climate Adaptation Resources andTools for State Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Each guide summarizes available tools or resources and provides a brief description and link.  

The federal government has emphasized the importance of preparing fish and wildlife for future climate conditions as well as improving preparedness among human communities. For example, the Executive Order—Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, created a federal Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. It also created a State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, indicating that states will have an invaluable role in adaptation. State fish and wildlife agencies, having the major responsibility for fish and wildlife management, can lead the nation in facilitating fish and wildlife adaptation to novel climate and other conditions.

In addition, natural resource conservation NGOs and universities have made significant investments in climate adaptation planning and data management. This has led to a vast and growing system of resources that state fish and wildlife managers can use in conservation planning, including in the revision of State Wildlife Action Plans.

The goal of the NGO Resource Guide is to provide that understanding and to encourage state fish and wildlife managers to fully engage with NGOs on climate adaptation work on the state level. This guide is organized in a generalized framework for stepping through a planning process starting with resources that provide free access to data for download and visualization followed by resources for completing vulnerability assessments; adaptation frameworks and planning resources; and digital adaptation networks including forums for collaboration and communication on climate adaptation.

The specific implications of climate change on fish and wildlife are uncertain and vary on a regional and state basis. The resources and tools suggested throughout both guides can be combined with information from state climatologists and state-wide climate adaptation plans to support efforts to understand and respond to the anticipated impacts of a changing climate on fish and wildlife.

For more information about AFWA’s Climate Change focus area, go to http://www.fishwildlife.org/index.php?section=climate_change&activator=50

> Download the Resource Guide to Federal Adaptation Climate Programs for State Fish & WildlifeAgencies 

> Download the Resource Guide to NGO Climate Adaptation Resources andTools for State Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 30th is the Deadline to Apply for Cohort 9 of the National Conservation Leadership Institute

Today’s conservation leaders are starting to retire – who will fill their seats?

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) is calling for state fish and wildlife agencies, federal conservation agencies, Tribes, industry and non-governmental organizations in the natural resources community to nominate their “rising stars” or individuals with high potential for leveraging their leadership capacity to be considered for acceptance as a Fellow for Cohort 9 starting in Fall 2014.

Online applications for are due by April 30, 2014, and applicants must be nominated by their organization's chief executive.

The NCLI was created to train tomorrow’s conservation leaders in the latest leadership thinking and practice, and each Fellow will focus on a variety of issues, including a specific leadership challenge from each participant’s own agency or organization. Becoming an NCLI Fellow is a major step in career advancement and contributing to the future of conservation. 

Visit www.conservationleadership.org for further information on the nomination process. The NCLI was established by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agency’s Management Assistance Team. 

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The Management Assistance Team (MAT) is the Association's most unique and diverse program. Located at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV, MAT is a leadership development resource for the nation's fish and wildlife agencies. MAT is responsible for program development and administration of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

AFWA Urges President Obama to Improve Coordination with State Fish and Wildlife Agencies on the Administration’s Energy, Climate and Natural Resource Conservation Policies

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday asking him to pause and better integrate state fish and wildlife agency considerations into his Administration’s energy, climate and conservation initiatives and processes to avoid unintended consequence to the management of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources.

In the letter, AFWA extends its appreciation to the President for promoting the outdoor recreational economy and natural resource conservation, particularly America’s Great Outdoors and the administration’s Climate Action Plan.

However, the Association expresses concern over the need and desire for improved coordination with state agencies on several of the President’s priorities including Executive Order 13604 on Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects; the U.S. Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Assessment; the clean energy economy and similar initiatives. Through greater alignment, early in the planning process, state and federal agencies can ensure they do not work at cross-purposes, and that fish and wildlife resources are conserved in the Administration’s “All of the Above Energy Strategy.”

AFWA’s letter requests a meeting with the President’s senior advisors on energy, the environment and climate change to discuss perspectives and determine a collaborative path forward.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

AFWA Joins the Recreational Fishing and Boating Community in Calling on Congress to Revamp Marine Fisheries Management

Leaders map out path for federal marine fisheries conservation. 

Congress is currently revising the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, the law that governs our nation’s marine resources. Recreational saltwater anglers and the sportfishing and boating industries are intensifying efforts to ensure that their social, conservation and economic priorities are well represented in the legislative process.

Today, in a series of meetings on Capitol Hill, the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management co-chairs, Johnny Morris, founder and CEO, Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president, Maverick Boats, briefed members of Congress and media on the commission’s recommended changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The commission, composed of scientists, former agency administrators, environmentalists, industry representatives and economists, wants to ensure that saltwater recreational fishing becomes a priority of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

“Our commission offers a clear path to better stewardship of America’s marine fishery resources,” said Morris. “Today we ask Congress to join us on that path. We extend the invitation on behalf of all current anglers and future generations of anglers who will enjoy our nation’s resources for many years to come.”

Previewed in February during the 2014 Progressive Miami International Boat Show in Miami, Fla., A Vision for Managing America’s SaltwaterRecreational Fisheries outlines recreational fisheries management issues that need to be addressed in the Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization.

“This is the first time that the recreational fishing and boating community has set forth a comprehensive vision,” Deal said. “I’m honored to be a part of this effort and proud to help lead our collective industries in ensuring that Congress hears our voices.”
The economic impact of saltwater angling in the U.S. is considerable. In 2011, approximately 11 million Americans saltwater fished recreationally, spending $27 billion in pursuit of their sport. That activity generated more than $70 billion in economic output and sustained 450,000 jobs. Anglers contribute more than $1.5 billion annually to fisheries habitat and conservation via excise taxes, donations and license fees alone.

Throughout 2013, members of the blue ribbon commission met to deliberate and debate strategies to improve saltwater recreational fisheries management. A wide range of experts and other stakeholders, including economists, scientists, federal and state agency administrators, environmentalists, charter captains and individual recreational anglers, were invited to meet with the commission to provide information and advice on a variety of fisheries management issues. The report reflects their input.

“Our nation’s marine fisheries and their management needs vary widely from Alaska to Florida to coastal New England. Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act is important to the stateside toolbox for delivery of conservation- and recreation-based marine fisheries programs,” said Ron Regan, executive director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “We commend the Morris-Deal Report for its thoughtful groundwork in thinking through visionary improvements for the future, including stock rebuilding timelines.”

“We look forward to increasing state flexibility in meeting their marine fisheries conservation objectives through reauthorization of the Act.”

“The Magnuson-Stevens Act established a management system for commercial fisheries, which has made great strides in ending commercial overexploitation of our marine fisheries,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “However, for more than three decades it has focused primarily on commercial fishing. It’s time for Congress to do something for saltwater recreational fishing.”

A Vision for Managing America’s SaltwaterRecreational Fisheries identifies six key policies that would achieve the commission’s vision. Those recommendations primarily focus on the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

The recommendations include:
  • Establishing a national policy for recreational fishing
  • Adopting a revised approach to saltwater recreational fisheries management
  • Allocating marine fisheries for the greatest benefit to the nation
  • Creating reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines
  • Codifying a process for cooperative management
  • Managing for the forage base

"Congress should establish a national policy to promote saltwater recreational fishing,” said Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. “In addition, Congress must open the ‘rusted-shut’ door of marine fisheries allocation to achieve the greatest benefit to the nation.”

> Comment on this landmark report via Twitter #MarineVision2014.