Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dove Hunter Survey Results Provide Valuable Insights to Help State, Federal Natural Resources Managers Sustain Dove Hunting for the Long Term

Results from a first-of-its-kind survey of the nation’s mourning dove hunters were released today by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), National Flyway Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The survey, in which more than 12,000 dove hunters from around the country participated, will provide wildlife and natural resources managers with information to help them effectively manage and conserve this migratory bird species into the future.

“Hunters opinions and preferences are an important consideration in how state fish and wildlife agencies, the Service, the Flyway Councils and our conservation and sportsmen group partners sustain resources and continue to provide quality hunting opportunities,” said Dan Forster, AFWA President and Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Director. “We collaborated on the National Dove Hunter Survey so that we can see the big picture and understand who is today’s dove hunter.”

The survey provides demographic data and information on hunter behavior and attitudes on a variety of topics, including where and how often they hunt, hindrances to them engaging in their sport, and where they get their trusted information on this and related issues.

The survey also explored dove hunters’ opinions and attitudes towards lead ammunition and the perceived impacts of spent lead on wildlife. The survey questions and collection of responses on this issue does not mean that non-toxic shot will be required to hunt doves in the future.

“As wildlife managers, we saw this unique opportunity to conduct a comprehensive national survey in order to gain perspectives of dove hunters versus the piecemeal regional efforts conducted in the past,” said Ron Anglin, Chair of the National Flyway Council.  “Since doves are managed at both the regional and national levels, we now can look to this survey to provide us with hunter attitudes and opinions on the issues managers must consider.”

“Hunters are key partners in conservation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “For generations, hunters, recreational shooters and anglers have been – and continue to be – the primary funders of wildlife and sportfish conservation in the U.S. through their purchases of specially taxed gear and hunting and fishing licenses. Understanding their perspectives on the many facets of their sport is critical, and I am grateful to all who voluntarily took part in this survey to help us in that regard.”

The report is just a first step in the all-important process of review and discussion among stakeholders about what the survey results reveal and how they can be used to inform future decisions about dove hunting and resource management in the United States. Rigorous statistical analysis and modeling of the results will follow to provide additional understanding.

Hunting has an $86.9 billion impact on the national economy and generates approximately $11.8 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues. Thanks to hunting and sport-shooting purchases, state fish and wildlife agencies have been able to provide hunter education to more than 24 million people, build hundreds of public shooting ranges, develop walk-in hunting access programs, educate youth in schools about the conservation of fish and wildlife, and deliver outdoor skills training to millions of Americans of all ages.

Mourning doves are one of the most abundant and widely distributed game birds in the country, with hunting seasons established in 40 of the lower 48 states. Doves can be poisoned by consuming spent lead shot, but despite anecdotal evidence, researchers do not yet know if there is a population-level effect.

Key Findings from the National Dove Hunter Survey:

  • Dove hunters are typically white males, 45 years of age and older and are well-educated with higher-than-average incomes.
  • Dove hunters responding to the survey said that the top hindrances to their participation in dove hunting are financial—the cost of gasoline, the cost of shotshells, the cost of other dove hunting gear and the cost of hunting permits. 
  • Dove hunters mostly harvest fewer than 30 birds per season and hunt on private land. They typically travel 50 miles or more to get their hunting spots.
  • Dove hunters responding to the survey aren’t sure about the impacts of spent lead shot on dove health and believe they don’t have enough scientific information about its potential effects. They are concerned that hunter participation could be impacted if non-lead shot were to be required at some point in the future. 

The full survey results, survey FAQS and more information about dove hunting, can be found at www.fishwildlife.org using the link on the home page or via http://bit.ly/DoveHunterSurvey.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies—the organization that represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies—promotes sound resource management and conservation, and speaks on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at www.fishwildlife.org, on Facebook /FishWildlifeAgencies and on Twitter @fishwildlife. #LoveHuntDove

The National Flyway Council – Works with the USFWS and other partners to insure the full participation of the states in national bird conservation and management including the formulation of regulations. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels:

Press Contacts:
Laura MacLean, AFWA, (202) 624-7744 (o), (202) 253-0319 (c), lmaclean@fishwildlife.org
Ron Anglin, NFC, (503) 947-6312, ronald.e.anglin@state.or.us
Gavin Shire, FWS, (703) 358-2649, gavin_shire@fws.gov

Monday, June 9, 2014

Registration is OPEN for AFWA's 2014 Annual Meeting

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies 104th Annual Meeting
September 21 - 25, 2014
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch
St. Louis, Missouri

Please join us for the 104th AFWA Annual Meeting - where North America's fish and wildlife leaders drive the future of natural resource conservation!

Highlights of our event include collaborative committee and working group meetings, thought-provoking Plenary Session, recognition of outstanding achievements at the Awards Banquet, Canada Night Welcome and Reception, and plenty of social and networking opportunities. Click here to review the preliminary schedule of events. 

Full conference registration: $425 (now - 8/15)
Includes all sessions, committee meetings, refreshment breaks, Canada Night Welcome and Reception, and a ticket to the Association's Annual Awards Banquet. [more info]

Bringing a guest? We've planned some activities for them to enjoy! Pre-registration is required. Visit the Guest Activities page on the conference website for more information.

The request for related meetings form should be used by Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies committees and working groups, universities, organizations, agencies, and others interested in holding a meeting or social function in association with the conference. Please note: space is limited. Click here to download the Related Meetings Request Form. 

Overnight accommodations are available at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch to AFWA Annual Meeting participants at a discounted rate of $135 /night plus applicable state and local taxes. A limited number of rooms are also available at the prevailing 2014 federal per diem rate for those who are eligible. Reservations must be made by September 6, 2014.

Reservations can be made by calling 1-888-421-1442. Please mention the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies / AFWA Annual Meeting to receive the discounted rate.

For more information about the Hyatt Regency at The Arch, please visit www.stlouisarch.hyatt.com.

Each year, the Association honors individuals and organizations for their exemplary commitment to conservation stewardship through our prestigious Annual Awards program. The nomination period for our 2014 Awards is open now through June 27th! Learn how to make a nomination.

See you in St. Louis!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Gina Main Promoted to Director of Professional Development at the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and Executive Director of the National Conservation Leadership Institute

WASHINGTON, DC - The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) is pleased to announce that Gina Main has been selected as our new Professional Development Director and will serve as the Executive Director of the National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI).

Main’s promotion is a newly re-defined position within the Association to oversee AFWA’s Management Assistance Team (MAT) and direct world-class-quality professional development programs in support of state fish and wildlife agency management, leadership and other programmatic needs. She will also be responsible for providing senior leadership guidance and continuous improvement to the NCLI to prepare the next generations of extraordinary leaders in natural resource conservation.

“I am truly delighted that Gina is moving into this senior leadership position,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “I have complete confidence that Gina will serve the Association, the Management Assistance Team and our state members with great energy and professionalism.”

Main has been with the NCLI and MAT for more than nine years, and has served as NCLI Director of Operations and as a MAT Project Leader for three years. Her dedication to the NCLI has been an integral part of the success of the Institute since its inception.       

“The NCLI Board is excited about our continued professional relationship with Gina in her new position,” said Steve Williams, NCLI Board Chair and President of the Wildlife Management Institute. “I know Gina will bring her program knowledge and people skills to enhance the excellent reputation of the NCLI program as its new Executive Director.”

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the Association and the National Conservation Leadership Institute in this new capacity,” said Main. “I believe the work of the Management Assistance Team and the NCLI is playing an instrumental part in developing leadership within our conservation community, and will continue to do so in the future. I look forward to contributing to their continued growth and success.”  

Main holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University.

> Follow the NCLI on Facebook/TheNCLIpage and on Twitter @_NCLI

> Follow the MAT team on Facebook/TheMATteam and on Twitter @TheMATteam.

 The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies—the organization that represents North America's fish and wildlife agencies—promotes sound management and conservation, and speaks with a collective voice on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at www.fishwildlife.org.

The Management Assistance Team (MAT) (www.matteam.org) is a small, high-performing team within the Association that is charged with developing and delivering professional development training opportunities to AFWA members. MAT products and services concentrate on the agency administration or the “people part” of the conservation equation, specifically in the areas of leadership and organizational development. MAT is responsible for program development and administration of the National Conservation Leadership Institute. 

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) (www.conservationleadership.org) is conservation’s premier world-class experience for developing tomorrow’s natural resource management leaders. Internationally acclaimed instructors from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and other renowned leadership experts help deliver the incomparable program during each cohort’s two residencies.

Monday, May 12, 2014

State & Tribal Wildlife Grants Program Receives Boost of Support from 170 Members of Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Ben Cardin (MD) and Mike Crapo (ID) and Congressmen Don Young (AK), Michael Grimm (NY), Mike Thompson (CA) and Ron Kind (WI) were joined by 163 of their fellow Members of Congress on a “Dear Colleague” sign-on letter to Interior appropriators in support of FY15 funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program. 

In both letters, Members urged their Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related agencies to provide the most investment possible for the program, which is the nation’s CORE source of funding for preventing fish and wildlife from becoming endangered.

“Choosing to protect our wildlife and natural resources is good for our environment and our economy. Consistent funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program will further protect more than 12,000 at-risk fish and wildlife species while avoiding costly and often controversial interventions that would be needed if we were forced to add more species to the endangered species list,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “The imminent de-listing, due to sufficient recovery, of the once endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel is a testament to the success of this program.”

“In my home state of Alaska, which I would argue is home to the most pristine wildlife in the country, we understand the critical importance of protecting our wildlife for future generations,” said Congressman Don Young. “I firmly believe the most appropriate and efficient way for populations to flourish and avoid the endangered species list is through a willingness to work together on all levels. The State and Tribal Wildlife Grant program plays a significant role in bringing together states and the federal government to accomplish the important goal of effectively managing our fish and wildlife resources. We know all too well the negative impacts associated with listing any one of our nation’s species, including the detriment to local economies, homeowners, conservationists and sportsmen alike, which is why I proudly support the work of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant program and continue to ensure funding levels remain intact from proposed cuts in the President’s FY15 budget.”

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program has successfully prevented new endangered species listings. The program is used to support data collection that is important to ensure endangered species listings are science-based and provides states with resources to put voluntary on-the-ground conservation measures in place. Without sufficient funding for this program, more species will be added to the federal endangered species list requiring expensive interventions and resulting in increased uncertainty for businesses. 

State Wildlife Grants are vital to fish and wildlife agencies in every state, territory and the District of Columbia to support the implementation and revision of State Wildlife Action Plans that were developed to conserve more than 12,000 species known to be at-risk.  The program has the support of the 6,400 organizations that make up the “Teaming With Wildlife” coalition and directly impacts the 90 million individuals who participate in wildlife-related recreation and spend $145 billion on their outdoor pursuits annually.

The number of Members signing on was up for both “Dear Colleague” letters this year.  The U.S. Senate letter included 31 democrats, 8 republicans and 2 independents and the U.S. House of Representatives letter included 112 democrats and 17 republicans. Outreach by state agency staff and Teaming With Wildlife coalition partners to Members was key to the success of the letters. 


Senate Members Who Signed the FY15 Dear Colleague Letter Supporting State & Tribal Wildlife Grants
Barbara Boxer (CA), Chris Murphy (CT), Thomas Carper (DE), Johnny Isakson (GA), 
Mazie Hirono (HI), Brian Schatz (HI), Chuck Grassley (IA), Mike Crapo (ID), 
James Risch (ID), Dick Durbin (IL), Edward Markey (MA), Ben Cardin (MD), 
Angus King (ME), Carl Levin (MI), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Amy Klobuchar (MN), 
John Walsh (MT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Robert Menendez (NJ), Cory Booker (NJ), 
Martin Heinrich (NM), Charles Schumer (NY), James Inhofe (OK), Bob Casey (PA), 
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Tim Johnson (SD), Tim Kaine (VA), Patrick Leahy (VT), 
Maria Cantwell (WA) and Tammy Baldwin (WI)

House Members Who Signed the FY15 Dear Colleague Letter Supporting State & Tribal Wildlife Grants

Don Young (AK), Paul Grijalva (AZ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Mike Thompson (CA), 
Lois Capps (CA), Jerry McNerney (CA), Henry Waxman (CA), Barbara Lee (CA), 
Sam Farr (CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), Tony Cardenas (CA), Jared Huffman (CA), 
Raul Ruiz (CA), Jim Costa (CA), Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA), Rosa DeLauro (CT), 
Joe Courtney (CT), Alcee Hastings (FL), Corrine Brown (FL), Frederica Wilson (FL), 
David Scott (GA), Hank Johnson (GA), John Lewis (GA), Colleen Hanabusa (HI), 
Daniel Lipinski (IL), Jan Schakowsky (IL), John Yarmuth (KY), Stephen Lynch (MA), 
John Sarbanes (MD), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD), Elijah Cummings (MD), John Delaney (MD), 
Michael Michaud (ME), John Dingell (MI), Dan Kildee (MI), Gary Peters (MI), 
Collin Peterson (MN), Keith Ellison (MN), Emanuel Cleaver (MO), Mike McIntyre (NC), 
Lee Terry (NE), Jeff Fortenberry (NE), Adrian Smith (NE), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), 
Ann Kuster (NH), Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ), Albio Sires (NJ), Chris Smith (NJ), 
Jon Runyan (NJ), Steve Pearce (NM), Gregorio Sablan (NM), Dina Titus (NV),
Jerrold Nadler (NY), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Carolyn McCarthy (NY), Paul Tonko (NY), 
Michael Grimm (NY), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Jim Gerlach (PA), Allyson Schwartz (PA), 
Matt Cartwright (PA), Robert Brady (PA), Jim Langevin (RI), David Cicilline (RI), 
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Robert C. Scott (VA), Gerald Connolly (VA), Jim McDermott (WA), 
Suzan DelBene (WA), Derek Kilmer (WA), Ron Kind (WI) and Gwen Moore (WI).