Friday, March 27, 2015

10 National Conservation Needs Selected for the 2016 Cycle of the Multistate Conservation Grant Program

State fish and wildlife agency directors approved a slate of 10 National Conservation Needs for the 2016 Multistate Conservation Grant Program on March 13, 2015 during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Omaha, Nebraska.

NCN 1: Outdoor Heritage – Participation, Recruitment and Retention in Hunting, Fishing, Boating and Conservation-related Recreational Activities; Enhanced Relations among State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Related Industries

NCN 2: Strengthening the National Fish Habitat Partnership

NCN 3: The Management Assistance Team (MAT) or similar entity to increase leadership capacity and agency effectiveness within state fish and wildlife agencies and the conservation community through leadership and professional development initiatives, training, consulting, and support of the National Conservation Leadership Institute

NCN 4: Incorporating Fish and Wildlife Considerations into Energy Development Decisions

NCN 5: Preserve State Wildlife Agencies’ Authority to Manage Wildlife Resources and Promote Their Interest in the Implementation of International Treaties and Conventions

NCN 6: Policy and Legislative Advocacy – Implementing Goal 2 of AFWA’s Strategic Plan

NCN 7: Building Stakeholder Support for a 21st Century Model of Funding Fish & Wildlife

NCN 8: Develop, Maintain and Enhance State-led Conservation Land Use Pre-planning Tools

NCN 9: State Fish and Wildlife Agency Coordination and Administration

NCN 10: Management of the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (National Survey)

The MSCGP funding opportunity/letter of intent solicitation will be posted on March 30. 

Each year, up to $6 million is available to fund MSCGP projects. AFWA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) cooperatively administer the Multistate Conservation Grant Program.

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

Photo by George Andrejko
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

It's Nomination Time for the National Conservation Leadership Institute Cohort 10

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) is now accepting nominations for Cohort 10 from state fish and wildlife agencies and the conservation community nationwide. 

In today's rapidly evolving world, organizations face unprecedented challenges that demand professionals with extraordinary leadership skills. NCLI was designed by multiple conservation groups 10 years ago to address that demand. Today, numerous organizations realize the value of the program, sending employees year after year. 

Following the world-renowned principles of Adaptive Leadership™, NCLI helps high-achieving conservation professionals learn advanced, adaptive problem-solving skills; establish life-long, high-trust relationships across organizational boundaries; and foster meaningful dialogue among the diverse voices that collectively represent conservation in America.

As always, applicants to the NCLI must be nominated by their agency director. Nominations will be accepted through April 30, 2015. 

Agencies and organizations may submit up to three nominations to compete for one of 36 spaces in this world- class leadership development program. Final selection is highly competitive so begin your internal recruitment now. 

Please visit for further information on the nomination process.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The January Issue of The AFWA Strategist

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

New Regional Conservation Partnership Program Empowers State Agencies to Focus on Priority Species

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. 

This first application round for RCPP was highly competitive. Of approximately 600 pre-proposals, 231 projects were invited to submit full proposals. The 201 submitted full proposals requested about four times the available funding. NRCS is expected to announce another funding round with approximately $200 million available this spring.

> Read the full RCPP announcement

> Learn more about AFWA's Agricultural Conservation Focus Area

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Selects John Lord as Operations Director

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.

Lord holds an M.B.A. in non-profit management and marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in English Literature from Dickinson College.