|Photo by George Andrejko|
Monday, February 23, 2015
Increased Opportunities for Public Outdoor Recreation Coming Thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today opened a new application period under the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), which harnesses the power of partnerships to create win-win opportunities for private landowners, science-based fish and wildlife conservation and the public.
The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the VPA-HIP with $40 million in total funding for state and tribal government programs to encourage owners and operators of privately held land to voluntarily make that land available for wildlife habitat improvements and public access for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies commends the leadership of Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Thad Cochran (MS) and Congressmen Frank Lucas (OK) and Collin Peterson (MA) for supporting funding this program.
By helping to increase access and opportunities for hunting and fishing, the VPA-HIP in turn also helps to generate financial resources for state agencies to manage fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest.
Hunters and anglers are the nation’s foremost funders of state-based conservation as a result of their purchases of licenses and specially taxed gear. America’s sportsmen and women also deliver a more than $200 billion economic impact to the U.S. economy, especially in many rural and local communities.
NRCS is accepting applications for this round of the VPA-HIP through April 24, 2015 and the agency anticipates that up to $20 million will be available for this important competitive block grant program. If all $20 million available in this round is allocated, it will be the last VPA-HIP funding opportunity under this Farm Bill—which expires September 30, 2018—unless Congress appropriates additional funds.
The full announcement from NRCS is available at
Monday, February 2, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The January issue of The AFWA Strategist is now available! Articles include brief updates on AFWA’s legislative priorities for the 114th Congress, our Legal Strategy, the Blue Ribbon Panel on America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, aquatic invasive species, AFWA’s survey concerning lynx, online leadership development courses from the Management Assistance Team and an invitation to participate in the 2015 Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in.
The AFWA Strategist highlights the top issues that AFWA is covering as the representative voice of state, provincial and territorial fish and wildlife agencies.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies applauds today’s $370 million funding announcement from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP was created by the 2014 Farm Bill to support partnership-driven, innovative conservation projects on farms, ranches and private forest land.
In this first RCPP announcement, 24 percent of funds – approximately $90 million – are going to projects that name fish and wildlife habitat as the primary resource concern. At least 13 state fish and wildlife agencies are contributing partners on at least 16 successful RCPP projects, totaling more than $65 million in Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funds. RCPP project partners are expected to leverage the USDA contribution with their own resources, bringing the total investment from today’s announcement close to $800 million.
State fish and wildlife agencies and their partners will be using RCPP project funds to address a variety of priority fish and wildlife species and habitats: from Arizona pronghorn antelope to Gopher Tortoise in Florida, to Cerulean Warblers in Appalachian states. The states and their partners will innovatively use RCPP funds to help agricultural producers sustainably manage forests, restore grasslands, improve water quality, protect farms and ranches and enhance irrigation efficiency, to name a few.
RCPP allows partners to decide which resource concerns to focus on, and where and how to target program funding. Partners from the 115 successful projects announced today will coordinate with the NRCS to deliver their projects, providing financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through voluntary programs to enhance conservation.
> Read the full RCPP announcement
> Learn more about AFWA's Agricultural Conservation Focus Area
Monday, December 8, 2014
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies welcomes John Lord as its new Director of Operations. In this role, Lord will focus on business and investment planning, budget and contract oversight, administrative policy, funding opportunities and more. He also will oversee AFWA’s office relocation to the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC in Spring 2015.
Lord brings more than 15 years of experience as an accomplished association administrator and a track record of successful financial management, operations, fundraising and staff leadership.
Most recently, he was the Division Director of Operations and Membership at the American Association of Family & Consumer Science, where he was responsible for all aspects of operations including facilities, finances, human resources, IT, accounting and membership services. Previously, he served as a Director of Managed Society Services with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand.
In his spare time, Lord volunteers for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, which is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing activities and outings.
“As a life-long fly fisherman and avid bird hunter, I am excited to be merging my passion for fish and wildlife conservation with my professional career path through this position at AFWA,” said Lord.