Friday, December 5, 2008

Land the Cover Photo Contest - 2008 Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Report

Attention state, provincial and territorial fish and wildlife agencies... We know you’ve taken some incredible photos of fish, wildlife and habitats for your magazine and other publications. You are invited to enter your best shots and your image could land the cover of the 2008 Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Report! The winning photo will get some nice distribution to other agencies, conservation organizations and more (and bragging rights).

Deadline to enter the Land the Cover Photo Contest is January 9, 2009. Any photograph reproduced in the report will include a photographer credit. Photos may also be showcased in other Association publications and on our soon-to-be redesigned website at Of course, you retain the rights to your photograph; however, by entering the contest, you grant the Association use of the image. Digital images must be a resolution of at least 300 dpi and 8” x 10.” To look at previous Annual Report covers, visit

Email entries to Laura MacLean at

Alternatively, you can mail a CD to:
Attn: Laura MacLean
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
444 North Capitol St, NW
Suite 725
Washington, DC 20001

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fish and Wildlife Conservation National Agenda Sent to President-elect Obama

America’s fish and wildlife belong to all of us as a public trust. For more than a century, state fish and wildlife agencies have upheld the primary responsibility for conserving and preventing the exploitation of natural resources on public and private lands and waters within their borders.

To sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations and provide opportunities for all to connect with nature, state agencies continue to advance what is known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, a systematic arrangement of policies and laws to restore and safeguard species and habitats through sound science and active management at the local level via state agency programs. Hunting and angling are the cornerstones of the North American Model with sportsmen and women serving as the foremost funders for conservation efforts through their license and equipment purchases.

However, every state agency today is dealing with rising public demands for resources; the impacts of urban sprawl, habitat loss and other emerging issues like climate change; shrinking hunter and angler constituencies and revenue base; and mounting costs. This shifting environment is a threat to the overall management system, fish and wildlife and the people who value nature. Increasingly, conservation success requires more effective cooperation between state agencies and federal natural resource and land management agencies.

With President-elect Obama's administration, come new opportunities to further support the North American Model through new federal conservation policies that are responsive to today’s challenges while bolstering state and federal agency funding to meet those challenges.

Recently, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies sent to President-elect Obama a letter, two-page overview entitled “Furthering Conservation in the Public Trust: A National Fish and Wildlife Agenda” and a collection of policy analysis white papers for his transition staff’s use. In the documents, the Association sets forward conservation priorities to help safeguard our nation's rich fish and wildlife legacy and ensure all have opportunities to enjoy the benefits of our great outdoors.

The documents can be downloaded at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Lauds President-Elect Obama’s Commitment to Addressing Climate Change

“We are appreciative of President-elect Obama’s commitment to taking firm leadership in addressing climate change and its effects on our nation, our economy and our natural resources,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), in response to President-elect Obama’s remarks before a Bi-Partisan Governors Climate Summit today in Los Angeles.

Just a few days earlier, in a letter to President-elect Obama transmitting the Association’s transition recommendations, AFWA President, Rex Amack, and Matt Hogan observed, “We also strongly affiliate ourselves with your commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dedicating a portion of revenues accrued from the auction of carbon credits through a cap and trade protocol to remediate the effects of climate change on fish, wildlife and their habitats.”

“We look forward to working with the Obama Administration to forge a strong state-federal relationship to address what will likely be the most pervasive effect on fish and wildlife in recent history,” concluded Hogan.

To view the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies' recommendations to President-elect Barack Obama “Furthering Conservation in the Public Interest: A National Fish and Wildlife Agenda” go to

# # #

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 unified voice on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Save the Date for the 2009 Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in Day

The 2009 Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in Day will take place February 24-25, 2009 in Washington, D.C. This will be the 8th year for the event.

The Fly-in Day is used by states and their Teaming With Wildlife coalitions to advocate for continued funding of the State Wildlife Grants program and dedicated funding to support State Wildlife Action Plan implementation. Changes in the administration, a new Congress and a growing budget deficit will likely make advocacy for wildlife funding more difficult but more important than ever.

Event details and registration information are available at Last year, more than 150 individuals from 43 states participated in the Fly-in Day.

If you have questions, contact Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2009 National Fish Habitat Annual Awards Guidelines and Nomination Form

The National Fish Habitat Annual Awards honor exceptional individuals or partner entities who have demonstrated a commitment to fish habitat conservation, science or education. The awards celebrate those who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication, innovation or excellence in aquatic resource conservation. National Fish Habitat Awardees show how individuals can and do make a difference.

The awards are presented annually on the basis of nominations submitted by Fish Habitat Partnerships and the hundreds of organizations that make up the Partners Coalition. From among the nominations submitted by Partnerships and the Coalition, the National Fish Habitat Board selects several of the most meritorious for these nationally recognized awards. Honorable mentions may be made. Deadline to apply is January 16, 2009.

Award Categories
> Exceptional Vision in support of Fish Habitat Conservation
> Extraordinary Action in support of Fish Habitat Conservation
> Scientific Achievement in support of Fish Habitat Conservation
> Outreach and Educational Achievement in support of Fish Habitat Conservation

NFHAP Awards Submission Guidelines

NFHAP Awards Nomination Form

Monday, November 3, 2008

Registration Opens for 2009 Winter Term of MAT Online Leadership Course

Registration is now open for the Winter Term of The Management Assistance Team’s (MAT) online leadership development courses through December 19, 2008. The courses are designed by fish and wildlife agency professionals for fish and wildlife agency professionals using a state-of-the-art, instructor-led approach.

MAT is offering six courses that will begin on January 12, 2009. If you have not taken a MAT online course before, there is a short Student Online Tutorial that will be available on January 5, 2009.

Online courses offered during the 2009 Winter Term:

> Creative and Critical Thinking
> Going from Good to Great
> Secrets of Agency Assessment and Development
> Power
> Visionary Leadership
> The Adaptive Leader

The courses require that participants have reliable Internet access and basic computer skills to visit websites, create MS Word documents and use email. The courses are challenging and require about five (5) hours of work each week and are either four or six-week courses. The cost is $48 plus materials for four-week offerings and $60 plus materials for six-week offerings. Note, the last day to drop a course without being charged is January 16, 2009.

Courses are available to employees of state fish and wildlife agencies or the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as other AFWA member organizations, when space is available. Registration is limited to 15 participants per course and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. All participants receive a Course Certificate upon successful completion of the course (a certificate can also be sent for your personnel file on request).

To review course offerings and course descriptions and to register go to

The Management Assistance Team is a program of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's Happening on Williams Run - 10 "Waters to Watch"

The Williams Run stream restoration project, under the guidance of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, is underway in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Thanks to the combined actions of concerned community groups, non-profit organizations, local watershed groups and state and federal agencies, these waters are being improved by planting stream-side vegetation, removing impediments blocking fish habitat and protecting waterways from the effects of industrial processes, specifically AMD or Acid Mine Drainage. Williams Run was selected as one of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan’s “10 Waters to Watch” for 2008.

Williams Run represents waterways across the country that are improving through the conservation efforts of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

Aquatic habitat in Williams Run has been severely damaged since coal mining activities produced acid mine drainage in the stream. Water conditions were degraded with a very low pH, no alkalinity, and both iron and aluminum present. This point-source pollution left the stream uninhabitable for brook trout and other aquatic life. Williams Run is currently listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s 303d list of impaired streams. With funding provided through the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, the South Sandy Creek Watershed Association is working with a host of other public and private partners to bring Williams Run back to life. For more details on the Williams Run restoration project, view the summary below

Williams Run Project Summary (PDF)

SOURCE: National Fish Habitat Action Plan

Take Pride in America Strengthens Public Lands Stewardship

Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, signed an order yesterday extending the authorization of Take Pride in America within the Department of the Interior through the year 2010. The program, designed to encourage volunteerism on public lands, had been set to expire on November 1, 2008.

The secretarial order further solidifies three strategic Take Pride in America priorities: engaging youth in service, promoting voluntourism and supporting beautification as an economic development strategy.

Secretary Kempthorne signed the order at a ceremony recognizing the volunteer efforts of students from Hyattsville Elementary in Hyattsville, Md., and others from across the country.

“These young people know what it’s like to feel pride in a job well done and just as important, they were outdoors the whole time,” said Secretary Kempthorne of the students from Hyattsville Elementary, a Take Pride in America school. The students recently participated in “Gorgeous Prince George’s Day,” beautifying their school grounds.

Scott Wilson of Big Sky, Mont., who also attended the signing ceremony, recently voluntoured along the Appalachian Trail. While hiking a distance of 2,175 miles, Wilson collected nearly 3,000 scraps of litter, and at times, carried the garbage up to 50 miles before finding a trash receptacle where he could dispose of it properly. Voluntourism is a concept that combines volunteer service into a vacation.

“Scott’s ‘Leave No Trace’ efforts improved more than 2,000 miles of trail, and enriched the experience for those hikers who followed. I am proud to recognize Scott’s meaningful voluntourism,” Kempthorne said.

Two volunteers from Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park were also recognized at the ceremony for calling attention to a pending breach in the canal’s towpath while on bike patrol. Thanks to Barbara Brown and Jane Collins, the area was properly cordoned off just a day before flood waters caused a 100-foot section to crumble, sending water 60 feet below into the Potomac River.

“Here’s an example where volunteers were the eyes and ears of park staff. It just shows how vital volunteers are to our public lands,” Kempthorne said.

Take Pride in America® is a national partnership program authorized by Congress and administered within the Department of the Interior to promote the appreciation and stewardship of public lands, including parks, forests, historic sites, and schools. Take Pride is active in all fifty states, has partnerships with public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and features Clint Eastwood as national spokesman. Citizen stewards know and count on Take Pride for the most comprehensive online portal of public lands volunteer opportunities ( and for showcasing the most outstanding public lands stewardship activities through the annual national award ceremony.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Go Fishington

Today, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) announced an exciting new online community that complements the national Take Me Fishing™ campaign and connects boaters and anglers like never before. It’s Fishington – The Fishing & Boating Capital of the Internet.

Fishington is similar to your favorite social networking platforms on MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, but specifically tailored for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Being part of this community allows members to:

• Create a profile
• Find and add friends
• Create and join groups
• Create and post comments on message boards
• Add and organize photos and videos
• Save favorite hotspots from Fishington's interactive map tool
• Control privacy settings

Agencies, organizations and businesses maintaining a profile have the ability to:
• Connect with other local businesses, clubs and individuals
• Map their location and related bodies of water
• Gather feedback, photos and videos
• Build fans of their facility
• Understand and recruit new members or customers
• Generate increased traffic to their Web sites
• Spark interest in their programs and products
• Invite discussion about their programs or products

Fishington is directly linked to all of the great content that’s on, including the 12,000 places to boat and fish. Businesses and facilities that currently exist in the database will already have a profile on Fishington. Stakeholders can request ownership of these profiles if they’re interested in moderating the content. RBFF will review all requests and grant permission to the appropriate contacts.

Fishington can be found in the “Community” section on or at Anyone who is 18 years or older can join. RBFF encourages everyone to help spread the word by including information in their newsletters and on their web sites. Web banners are currently in development and will be announced in the next few weeks when they’re available. The very latest news and information about Fishington can be found on

Create a profile today. Add friends. Add your business or organization and help populate Fishington with boating and fishing information for everyone. Please e-mail with thoughts or comments. RBFF's goal is to grow the boating and fishing community and you can play a huge part by participating.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Joins Federal and Nonprofit Conservation Leaders to Urge Children to “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!”

BALTIMORE, MD -– Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, and Deputy Commanding General of the US Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. Don T. Riley yesterday announced a “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!” campaign to reconnect children with nature. The event, held at the start of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Congress and Exposition at the Hilton Baltimore.

The new campaign, described at the website, encourages children and their educators and families to experience nature firsthand. Federal leaders from eight agencies and bureaus said that “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!” will provide more information for America’s young people about opportunities to get outdoors on our national parks, forests, refuges, other public lands and waterways.

“We greatly appreciate this forum provided by NRPA because there is a crisis in America in which our kids are increasingly disconnected from nature,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “We must get children off the couch and outdoors. We must get them to turn off the computers and televisions and turn on to the power of wild places and wild creatures to lift them up – to rejuvenate body, soul and spirit.”

“We want every child in America to experience the great outdoors, whether it is in a remote mountain wilderness or a city park,” said Secretary Schafer. “Children react positively to nature. Working together, the federal agencies can help families foster their curiosity about nature and develop a deeper appreciation of precious natural resources.”

The “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!” initiative, supported by an interagency Pledge of Cooperation, will unite federal land opportunities under one comprehensive platform and encourage the participation of non-profit land partners to develop a seamless portal for information on destinations, programs, special events and opportunities for educational adventures throughout the year.

The group will promote, and in some cases expand upon, the vast resources and programs that already exist within the Federal land management agencies including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

NRPA and other national nonprofit groups pledged to support the campaign today. The groups include American Forests, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the City Park Alliance, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation, the National Association of State Park Directors, the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Wildlife Federation.

"Through the spirit of partnerships, collectively we are poised to greatly impact the lives of children and teens. By re-engaging youth in nature, recreation and play, we've helped the next generation discover the rewards of more fulfilling, healthy lifestyles," said NRPA CEO Tulipane.

“The greatest benefit of this initiative is to foster a love of America’s lands and waters in today’s youth because they will be tomorrow’s caretakers of this nation’s cultural and natural resources,” said Maj. Gen. Riley. “That love will grow into awareness of the health and environmental benefits associated with those personal connections with nature.”

For more information on the new program, go to The website provides lists of places for all sorts of outdoor activities from biking to wildlife viewing, links to agency websites for youth, games and other useful materials.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior

Friday, October 10, 2008

National Conservation Leadership Institute Cohort #3 Begins 11-day Residency

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV -- Thirty-three “rising stars” in conservation began their 11-day, highly interactive residency at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) on Monday, October 6 as the third cohort of National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) Fellows. During their stay, the Fellows will explore adaptive leadership concepts such as distinguishing leadership and authority; the power and purpose of working together; conflict; Emotional Intelligence (EQ); leading in chaos; courage; trust; understanding externals and more.

After returning home, Fellows will work for five months on individual leadership projects focused on a challenge facing their organizations, and the program culminates in the Spring with a long-weekend session at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.

NCLI Fellows have become widely regarded as future senior leaders who will help to build a conservation legacy for the next generation. Since 2006, more than 100 individuals have participated in the Institute, selected from state agencies, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and companies working in the natural resources industry.

For information, visit

Photos from the Cohort's first days at NCTC

Michigan Natural Resources Commission Approves Deer Baiting and Feeding Ban for Lower Peninsula

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission on Thursday, Oct. 9 voted unanimously to approve a permanent ban on deer and elk baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director, Rebecca Humphries, issued an interim order placing an immediate ban on baiting and feeding on Aug. 26, after a captive deer from a privately owned facility tested positive for chronic wasting disease. Humphries’ order, as prescribed by the state’s CWD emergency response plan adopted in 2002, would have expired Feb. 26, 2009, but the NRC action removes the expiration date and makes the ban permanent.

Additionally, the NRC approved orders that require hunters who take a deer in the nine townships that comprise the CWD Surveillance Zone in northern Kent County to come to a DNR deer check station. The orders also regulate the movement of carcasses from the Surveillance Zone and give replacement kill tags to any hunter who presents a deer at a check station that shows signs of CWD.

The NRC action is just the latest effort in a campaign designed to prevent the spread of CWD, an always fatal neurological disease of deer, elk and moose.

Since Sept. 1, DNR conservation officers have issued 102 tickets for illegal deer and elk baiting in the Lower Peninsula.

“There has been talk that we weren’t going to be able to enforce this baiting ban in the Lower Peninsula, but the number of tickets we have issued so far shows that we are very serious about enforcement of the ban,” said Humphries. “Our primary goal is to protect the health of our wild white-tailed deer and elk populations. Stopping CWD from becoming established in our wild deer and elk is our top priority.”

“We appreciate the hunters who have abided by the ban and are no longer baiting,” Humphries added. “Protecting the resource -- white-tailed deer and elk -- should be everyone’s priority.”

The DNR’s Law Enforcement Division reported that in a period from Sept. 22 to Oct. 5, 34.6 percent of the calls to the Report All Poaching(RAP) hotline concerned illegal baiting. Last year during a similar time frame, baiting complaints made up only 11.3 percent of the RAP hotline calls. While there was no baiting and feeding ban in 2007, the complaints last year would have related to over-baiting or baiting in the Bovine Tuberculosis zone in northeast Lower Michigan.

“We are encouraged that sportsmen and women are taking part in this initiative,” Humphries said. “We appreciate them taking the health of our deer herd as seriously as we do.”

Since the CWD-positive deer was discovered, the DNR has tested 1,095 deer statewide; of those, 964 tested negative with the remaining 131 tests are pending.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.

SOURCE: Michigan DNR

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dam Removed with a Bang

On October 1, the NOAA Restoration Center, the California Department of Fish and Game and other partners removed the Whites Gulch Dam using powerful explosives, and the removal was captured on video. The video is now available online.

The Whites Gulch River was once home to such a large population of salmon that citizens claimed they could walk across the river on their backs. But in the late 1800s, a dam was built on the river that blocked salmon from reaching their upstream spawning habitat, and populations are dwindling.

The removal of this and another nearby dam, in combination with the removal of a barrier downstream later this year, will open up 1.5 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for spring Chinook salmon and threatened coho salmon and steelhead trout. The project will provide benefits to native riverine fish and wildlife, and improve safety for nearby communities.

To view the video of the removal, click here.

SOURCE: NOAA Restoration Center

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008 White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy Underway

RENO, Nev. -- Today, marked the first full day of the 2008 White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy in Reno, Nevada. Prompted by Presidential Executive Order #13443, the Conference is bringing together leaders in the wildlife community, including more than 30 representatives from state fish and wildlife agencies, to develop a national direction and strategy for hunting and conservation.

The Conference is a culmination of a year’s work drafting a 10-year Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan aimed at perpetuating and strengthening the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Within this framework, working groups made up of a broad group of interests are discussing wildlife management and coordination at the state, tribal and federal levels; habitat conservation issues including energy development and climate change; funding for wildlife conservation; and perpetuating hunter traditions. The end result of the Conference will be an action plan to drive wildlife conservation forward over the next decade, the first national wildlife policy plan in more than 30 years.

The conference ends on Friday, October 3. For more information, visit or

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Association Bestows Annual Awards for Exemplary Leadership in Conservation

WASHINGTON — The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honored 10 individuals and two entities for their outstanding and longstanding commitment to conservation stewardship at the Association’s Annual Awards Ceremony held on September 10, 2008 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

2008 Annual Awards Recipients:

Seth Gordon Award:
John Cooper

The Seth Gordon Award is the Association’s highest honor and is conferred on individuals who have worked steadfastly and effectively for the best use of North American Natural Resources in the public trust and for their contributions to the programs of the Association. This award was established in honor of Seth Gordon who had one of the longest, continuous careers in fish and wildlife conservation in honor of his 50 years of service to the Association representing state agencies and as a member of Association staff.

John Cooper’s incredibly diverse wildlife career has spanned nearly 40 years encompassing law enforcement as an agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, tournament fishing, outreach through popular outdoor magazines and state conservation and environmental policy as his state’s member of the Governor’s Cabinet. He is also a Vietnam veteran.

Cooper chaired the Association’s Law Enforcement and Executive Committees and served as the 2005-2006 President. In addition to all of these duties, he has been actively engaged in various North American Conservation Initiatives and has been chair or co-chair of the Adaptive Harvest Management Group working on improving science-based waterfowl harvest regulations; the North American Wetlands Council; the Governing Board of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan; and chair of the Law Enforcement and Habitat Committee of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Although now retired, Cooper continues to be an active force promoting conservation efforts.

“Few people in the professional wildlife conservation community have brought as many attributes and contributed as much to the cause of conservation,” said Wayne MacCallum, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Director and Chair of the Association’s Awards Committee.

Cooper’s vision, leadership, personal and professional integrity, passion, persistence good humor, and willingness to tackle rather than side step challenges stands as a model for public agency conservation administrators of the 21st century.

Ernest Thompson Seton Award:
Group: Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee
Individual: Dr. Christopher Servheen, Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Ernest Thompson Seton Award was established to bring public attention to the need for and benefits of scientific wildlife management and to recognize the agency has taken a strong position in support of the integrity of its professional program and its individual team leader. Wildlife illustrator, author and co-founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Seton was considered one of America’s most influential conservationists, dedicating his life to educating people about nature and instilling a deeper understanding of the natural world.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) is a consortium of the public resource agencies composed of representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Geological Survey, the state wildlife agencies of Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming and the Canadian Wildlife Service.

It was formed in 1983 to help drive the effort to recover and restore grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states through interagency coordination of policy, planning management and research. Over the past 26 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, Dr. Chris Servheen, has worked tirelessly to achieve grizzly bear conservation in the U.S. and Canada.

“Dr. Servheen has played a central role in overseeing and coordinating the cooperative conservation effort that brought grizzly bears from nearly disappearing to the point that they no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act in the greater Yellowstone area,” said MacCallum. “This collaborative agency effort to increase our grizzly bear population represents one of North America’s most compelling restoration successes since inception of the Endangered Species Act.”

Mark J. Reeff Memorial Award:
Stephanie M. Carman, Aquatic Species Recovery Coordinator, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

The Mark J. Reeff Memorial Award recognizes young professionals under the age of 35, who have distinguished themselves by outstanding commitment to wildlife management, willingly accepted more difficult challenges and inspired others to do the same. Reeff served as the Association’s Resource Director before his passing in 1997 at the age of 41.

Five years ago, when recent college graduate, Stephanie Carman, was hired by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in the newly established position of Aquatic Species Recovery Coordinator, she was faced with navigating two very controversial issues – water and protected species. Her primary responsibilities were to engage a broad range of interests to draft recovery plans for species listed as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ by the state; obtain State Game Commission approval of each plan; and then, with various agency and private partners, implement conservation measures identified in the plans.

Through dogged determination, ingenuity, intellect and perseverance, she developed the process and content model for the plan development and was deeply involved in the development of the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy for New Mexico and the catalyst for reactivation of the White Sands Conservation Team resulting in resumption of monitoring of this species whose entire range lies within the boundaries of the military reservation."

As the Department's first Aquatic Species Recovery Coordinator, Ms. Carman showed determination and ingenuity, forging strong professional relationships while becoming versed in often complicated state, federal and tribal laws and regulations," Department Director, Bruce Thompson said. "Her first recovery plan became a template for others to come, and in fewer than five years she gained widespread respect among diverse interest groups and agencies."

National Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award:
Longino Ranch, Florida

The National Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award honors an individual- or family-run farm, ranch or forest operation that has incorporated proactive conservation and environmental protection measures in the management of their land.

The Longino Ranch in Sarasota County, Florida encompasses approximately 8,000 acres with a cow/calf herd of 1,700 head. The Longino family has an impressive record of accomplishment in operating its ranch in an environmentally sound manner. Since the 1970s, the ranch has participated in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) deer management program with use of antlerless deer tags and acquisition of biological data of all harvested deer. It continuously has been enrolled in the state’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Landowner Assistance grant programs since the 1990s and has included nearly 2,700 acres in a rotational roller chopping and winter/summer-prescribed burning program that is producing measurable and significant results in perpetuating the native rangeland community.

In 2002, the family created a wetland conservation bank on the ranch, which is cited by various Florida agencies as a model for successful wetland restoration. This year, more than 1,100 acres of the ranch was approved as a gopher tortoise recipient site and a conservation easement assures that the habitat will remain protected and ranch timber harvest and other practices will be done in manner that maintains and improves the habitat for the species. The family happily provides educational tours to schools, government officials and various civic groups.

“The Longino family has led the way for more than 50 years in balancing the needs of the land with the needs of a business,” said Tim Breult, the FWC’s director of the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. “They have been active partners in finding ways to effectively farm the land while protecting it for future generations.”

Conservation Law Enforcement Award:
Jeff Finn, Conservation Officer, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Division

The Conservation Law Enforcement Award recognizes outstanding achievements in fish and wildlife resource enforcement by an individual, a unit, bureau of a division or a combination, to enhance the professionalism and significant advancement of conservation law enforcement efforts.

Conservation Officer, Jeff Finn, is a 24-year veteran and the Kentucky 2008 Officer of the Year for his outstanding work in law enforcement especially in the conviction of poachers and for public relations in addressing civic groups, schools and sportsmen’s clubs.

In 2000, Officer Finn established an Internet Crimes Unit and works closely with online providers and other federal and state fish and wildlife agencies in the U.S. and Canada to collect information and prosecute individuals engaged in illegal trade of wildlife. He also provides Internet investigation instruction to the Southeastern Association of Wildlife Investigators Academy and was one of the founding members of the Kentucky Conservation Officers Association, serving as Treasurer and on its Executive Committee.

According to his award nominators, “Jeff Finn epitomizes the commitment, dedication and professionalism that is necessary to be an effective ‘Game Warden.’ While maintaining the traditional values of being a warden, Officer Finn readily embraces change and seeks way to improve the ability of our officers to more effectively and efficiently carry out their mission. He has a progressive attitude and a willingness to move beyond his comfort zone for the benefit of this department and its officers.”

Special Recognition Awards:
Each year, the Association recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves with an outstanding commitment to the work of the Association.

H. Dale Hall
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Dale Hall is a professional’s professional, starting as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wetlands biologist in the Lower Mississippi Valley and spanning more than 30 years. Since his appointment as USFWS Director in 2005, he has continued to emphasize the benefits of collaboration among the Service, states, tribes, landowners and other conservation partners in confronting this century’s conservation issues including the emerging challenges posed by climate change, water management and generations of children who are becoming disconnected from nature.

George Vandel
Assistant Director, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Division of Wildlife
George Vandel has been an unwavering advocate for the conservation of waterfowl and other migratory birds. A member of the Association’s Waterfowl Working Group and Migratory Bird Conservation Committee, he is actively involved in the implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and has been a charter member and Chair of the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Management Board and Chair of the Central Flyway. Vandel also has been a strong voice on behalf of landscape-scale habitat management working to encourage state and federal programs designed to engage broad partnerships that include private land owners in migratory bird conservation.

Dave Nomsen
Vice President of Government Affairs, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Dave Nomsen was a key voice for the fish and wildlife conservation community in the recent reauthorization of the Farm Bill, providing crucial guidance during the two plus years of policy development leading up to and concluding in the Farm Bill in his role with the American Wildlife Conservation Partners and as co-chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Agriculture and Wildlife Working Group. Nomsen is also a member of the North American Wetlands Council, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, responsible for making recommendations about the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) to the Congressional Migratory Bird Commission, and has been a strong advocate for Congressional funding support for NAWCA .

Lawrence M. Riley
Coordinator of the Wildlife Management Division, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Vice-chair of the Association’s Invasive Species Committee, Larry Riley has demonstrated a high level of expertise on all manner of invasive species issues over the years, which requires the application of significant scientific, professional expertise and people skills. During the past year, Riley testified twice at Congressional hearings, drafting and presenting the Association’s positions and perspectives on non-native invasive and injurious species and threat to native fish, wildlife and their habitats. Both times, he handled the issue on short notice, which necessitated working outside of his normal work day and juggling his many agency obligations.

Angela Nelson
Executive Assistant, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
For many years, Angela Nelson has put in a tremendous effort on the Association’s behalf, and has made great contributions to its success. She knows how the organization works better than anyone, and keeps things moving ahead effectively and efficiently. Skill, dedication and a customer-focused attitude are the hallmarks of her career combined with her ever-ready smile and warmth to all who visit the office, call or attend meetings.

Fallen Heroes
Michelle Lawless
Investigator, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

This is the first year for the Association to pay special tribute to those wildlife professionals, Fallen Heroes, who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties to enforce conservation laws and regulations and manage fish and wildlife resources in the past year. The names of the Fallen Heroes will be inscribed on a plaque and permanently displayed in the Association’s Washington, DC office.

2008: Michelle Lawless, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Investigator, who was killed in an ATV accident on patrol for poachers on October 27, 2007.

The nominating period for the 2009 Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Annual Awards will open in spring 2009. The next Annual Meeting will be held September 13-18, 2009 in Austin, Texas.

Photos of the Awards recipients
Previous Awards recipients

Monday, September 29, 2008

Registration Open for 2009 North American Conservation Education Conference

2009 North American Conservation Education Conference:
Taking Conservation Education to the Next Level

January 26-29, 2009
C. A. Vines 4-H Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

In 2004, conservation education professionals from across the nation met in Shepherdstown, WV for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Summit on Conservation Education. More than 35 state fish and wildlife agencies along with several federal agencies and non-governmental organizations participated in this historic event, which initiated the North American Conservation Education Strategy.

The 2009 North American Conservation Education Conference is the long-awaited sequel. This conference will enable conservation educators to discover the pieces of the strategy that are now in place and how the strategy can empower participants to become more proficient in their various areas of conservation education. Participants also will become more aware of national trends and latest quality conservation education materials.

The conference location near Little Rock will provide the backdrop for professional development and collaboration through a mixture of seminars, keynote speakers and work sessions. This conference will provide the opportunity to help determine the future direction of the North American CE Strategy.

The event will kick-off with dinner and an evening program on Monday, January 26. Tuesday through Wednesday will feature a mixture of sessions and discussion topped off by a Southern BBQ hosted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The conference will conclude at noon Thursday.

Conference registration is $295 for double occupancy and $325 for single occupancy, which covers all meals and lodging. In addition, Arkansas Game and Fish will shuttle attendees to and from the airport. Click here to download a Registration Form.

The Association is providing funding for travel scholarships through support of the North American Conservation Education Strategy. In order to encourage participation from all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies, the Association will reimburse one representative per state agency up to $500 for airline travel or mileage using the federal government rate. Click to download a scholarship form.

The conference committee is finalizing the agenda, which will be complete shortly.

For more information, contact any of the 2009 Conservation Education Planning Committee:

Kevin Frailey, Conference Chair, Michigan DNR,

Lucy Moreland, Registrar and host agency, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,

Kurt Cunningham, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks,

Jennifer Dennison, Ohio DNR,

Warren Gartner, Indiana, DNR,

Gregg Losinski, Idaho Fish and Game,
For the most up-to-date information, visit the 2009 North American Conservation Education Conference website.

Turning the Tide on Recreational Fishing on Federal Lands

On September 26, President George W. Bush signed an amendment to the 1995 Executive Order on recreational fishing to ensure that federal agencies maintain responsible recreational fishing on federal lands and waters, including marine protected areas.

"Our nation's sportsmen and women are among our foremost conservationists. I was pleased to amend Executive Order 12962 to recognize the value of recreational fishing as a sustainable activity in federal waters," said President Bush.

Over the past two years, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the Center for Coastal Conservation and its members, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Shimano American Corporation united efforts to secure the recreational fishing and boating access amendment.

“We applaud the President for taking this unprecedented step which recognizes that anglers and boaters play a significant and critical role in this country’s successful conservation model which is the envy of the world,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “As a recreational angler and boater himself, the President clearly understands that sportsmen and women are conservationists first and foremost and that recreational fishing is an essential component of the nation’s heritage.”

"This is a major victory for sportsmen and we commend the President," said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF). "CSF has been particularly concerned about the spawn of no fishing provisions in marine protected areas that lock recreational anglers out of prime fishing areas."

"We appreciate the leadership President Bush has shown by his recognition of recreational fishing as an environmentally sustainable activity on federal waters, including marine protected areas. This is a progressive declaration which will benefit millions of anglers today and in the future," stated Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano American Corporation.

“The President’s action established a legacy for recreational fishing by securing access to fishing and boating, the lifeblood of the American model of fisheries management and conservation,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Every time American anglers buy fishing licenses or sportfishing equipment, an investment is made in fishing’s future. This highly successful user-pay system for fishery management depends on access to the resource.”

Source: American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

Friday, September 26, 2008

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Celebrates Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 27

37th annual celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day recognizes conservation success funded by hunters and anglers
WASHINGTON – State fish and wildlife agencies nationwide will host National Hunting and Fishing Day events on Saturday, Sept. 27 to connect the public with nature and raise awareness of the American system of sportsmen-funded conservation.

Within the U.S., state fish and wildlife management is funded primarily through the purchase of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and through federal excise taxes collected from the sale of hunting, target shooting, and fishing equipment and motor boat fuels. Today, nearly all state agencies receive the bulk of their total operating and program budgets from these sources to manage healthy fish and wildlife resources. Without a dedicated funding source and few other funding options for fish and wildlife agencies, hunters, boaters, anglers and trappers continue to be the primary support for state-by-state conservation efforts.

Through the American System of Conservation Funding through license revenue and excise taxes, more than $1.7 billion dollars is entrusted to state agencies annually for fisheries and wildlife restoration and management; hunter, angler and boater access; as well as for hunter and boater safety education.

“America’s fish and wildlife belong to all of us as a public trust, and we rely on state agencies to ensure healthy populations and provide opportunities for people to connect with nature,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “However, every state fish and wildlife agency today is facing constant and increasing resource demands; the impact of urbanization, habitat loss, and other emerging issues; shrinking hunter and angler constituencies, and revenue base; and rising costs. This challenging environment is a threat to the system, fish and wildlife species and the people who value them.”

Wildlife-based activities, such as hunting, fishing, viewing and photography provide people with millions of days of outdoor recreation each year and generate billions of dollars for the economy. According a 2006 National Survey of Hunting Fish and Wildlife-Related Recreation, more than 87 million Americans spent more than $120 billion dollars in 2006 on wildlife-related activities. These activities support close to 3 million jobs in the U.S.

“On National Hunting and Fishing Day, I encourage everyone who appreciates the outdoors to participate in a state-sponsored event and recognize the significant contributions hunters and anglers have made to support the overall conservation of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources,” said Hogan.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created to commemorate conservation successes funded by hunters and anglers, which benefits all who enjoy wildlife and wild places. The annual celebration, led by Wonders of Wildlife, the nation’s only hunting- and fishing-focused museum, promotes and builds public support for outdoor lifestyles. National Hunting and Fishing Day is observed on the fourth Saturday of every September.

For more information about National Hunting and Fishing Day or to find a list of state-sponsored events, visit

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Landmark Fish Habitat Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

Yesterday, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), and George Voinovich (R-OH) introduced the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act of 2008, a comprehensive strategy to allocate conservation dollars for effective restoration of our national waterways.

“The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, which I introduced along with Senators Bond, Clinton, and Voinovich, will revolutionize how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approaches fish habitat conservation. With 40 percent of our fish populations in decline and half of our waters impaired, the current fragmented approach to fish habitat protection and preservation has clearly not worked." said Lieberman. "This bill encourages collaborative regional conservation efforts that bring together federal government agencies, state and local governments, conservation groups, fishing industry groups, and businesses. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to enact this critical legislation to help restore fishstocks across the country.”

The legislation was spearheaded by numerous leading environmental organizations including the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, the American Sportfishing Association, The Nature Conservancy, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and Trout Unlimited, all of which share a common interest in the success of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

Currently, our nation’s efforts to address threats to fish species are fragmented, and not comprehensive enough to reverse this downward trend. Earlier this month, the American Fisheries Society's Endangered Species Committee (ESC), a U.S. Geological Survey-led team of scientists, conducted a detailed evaluation of the health of our nation’s freshwater fishes. In examining the status of continental freshwater and diadromous (migrating between rivers and oceans) fish, the ESC determined that nearly 40 percent of fish species in North American streams, rivers and lakes are now imperiled. This dramatic increase in the number of imperiled fish since the last report 20 years ago calls for the urgent action provided in the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act of 2008.

Under this legislation, federal and state governments, the recreational and commercial fishing industries, the conservation community, and businesses will work together to collectively to conserve and protect aquatic habitats using science-based conservation approaches. The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act directs critical new resources toward the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people. This legislation leverages federal, state, and private funds to build regional partnerships aimed at addressing the nation’s biggest fisheries problems.

To date, the National Fish Habitat Action Plan’s progress has included:
• Establishment of six fish habitat partnerships including:o Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnershipo Eastern Brook Trout Joint Ventureo Western Native Trout Initiativeo Midwest Driftless Area Restoration Effort o Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnershipo Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership
• Allocated approximately $11 Million towards:o On the ground restoration projects through fish habitat partnershipso A National Fish Habitat Assessment – due in 2010
This legislation is expected to improve not only important fish habitat, but also the overall health of vital waterways throughout the United States.

“I would first like to express my sincere gratitude to the sponsors of the bill and their commitment to improving the quality of life in this country,” said Kelly Hepler, of the Alaska Fish and Game Department and Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “The waterways in our country are the true lifeblood of our nation and the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act will not only provide additional fishing opportunities and public access to these waterways but will also improve the health of the water and therefore the health of our families.”

“This is a landmark bill that, if passed, would show our country is moving in the right direction to protect freshwater and aquatic ecosystems,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “With recent studies showing that fish species are in serious decline, we are in dire need of implementing a nationwide, comprehensive program to protect fish habitat. We need to act swiftly on this important legislation.”

“The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act will provide new money for fish habitat conservation in this country,” said American Sportfishing Association Vice President, Gordon Robertson. “It represents a ground-up approach to fishery conservation and is complimentary to the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Act. By improving the nation’s fishery resources, the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act will also provide more recreational fishing opportunities for America’s 40 million anglers.”

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan board and staff appreciate the leadership and commitment of Senators Lieberman, Bond, Clinton and Voinovich along with their many colleagues who we hope will support this unprecedented legislation.

For more information, visit

Monday, September 15, 2008

Registration Open: 2008 Colorado River Basin Science and Resource Management Symposium

2008 Colorado River Basin Science and Resource Management Symposium
Coming Together: Coordination of Science and Restoration Activities for the Colorado River Ecosystem

November 18-20, 2008
Doubletree Resort Hotel
5401 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ

The 2008 Colorado River Basin Science and Resource Management Symposium will focus to a large extent on the management and protection of desert fishes. The symposium will promote the exchange of information on research and management activities related to the restoration of the Colorado River and its major tributaries from the headwaters to the U.S.-Mexico border. This basinwide symposium will provide scientists, stakeholders, land and resource managers, and decision makers the opportunity to learn about these various programs and exchange ideas and data enhancing the effectiveness of these programs.This 2-1/2 day symposium will feature plenary sessions as well as concurrent technical sessions, vendors, and poster sessions.

Plenary and Technical Session Topics Include:
Status and trends of aquatic resources, including native and nonnative fishes
Climate change and long-term drought: how will it affect restoration efforts?
Adaptive management and collaborative management decision making
Instream flow management and protection (including dam operations and reservoirs)
Nonnative fish management and restoration
Integrating recreational fisheries with native fish conservation
Monitoring program design and effectiveness
Native fish propagation, stocking genetic management
Sediment conservation and management
Societal values and Native American perspectives
Riparian habitat monitoring and restoration

A limited number of rooms are available at the special rate of $102, plus tax, per night if you book your hotel reservation before September 30. Reserve a room by calling 480-947-5400 (Be sure to mention the symposium or Water Education Foundation) or visiting

Abstract Deadline September 22: For information on abstract format, including a sample, visit orcontact Ted Melis, 928-556-7282 or

Symposium and Registration Information: For additional information or to register, please visit

Conference cosponsors: U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center; Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program; Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program; Bureau of Reclamation; National Park Service; Colorado River Fish and Wildlife Council; Water Education Foundation; and San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation

Thursday, September 4, 2008

House to Vote on No Child Left Inside Act

Please ask your representative to support environmental education. The House of Representatives will vote on the No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 next week – either Tuesday, September 9 or Wednesday, September 10.

You can email your representative via by clicking on “Contact Your Congressperson” and filling out the short form. If you want to place a phone call to your representative’s office, click here for their phone number.

The No Child Left Inside Coalition is growing every day and now has 700 member organizations, including the Association of Fish and Wildlfie Agencies, representing more than 40 million people who understand the value of environmental education.

For more information about the NCLI Act and the Coalition, visit

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

RBFF to Release Preliminary Results from State Direct Mail Marketing Program at Association's Annual Meeting

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today announced it will share preliminary results from the organization's State Direct Mail Marketing Program at the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Annual Meeting being held Sept. 7-11, 2008 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

"Since we introduced the Direct Mail Marketing Program last year at the Association, we wanted to reveal the initial program results here this year," said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson. "We are pleased with the overall response rate and licenses sold so far. And as the program expands to new state partners, we will continue to increase funds for critical management and conservation efforts."

On Tues., Sept. 9 at an RBFF-hosted breakfast, Peterson and RBFF State Initiatives Director Stephanie Hussey will reveal the direct mail response rates from at least four participating states and update state agencies on the national lapsed angler recruitment and retention program. They will also discuss plans to sign on new state partners in the upcoming year.

Launched in March 2008 with 30 state fish and wildlife agencies, RBFF's Direct Mail Marketing Program aims to recruit and retain lapsed anglers and generate awareness of the connection between fishing license sales and conservation efforts. The Direct Mail Marketing Kit includes direct mail templates, instructions to implement a direct mail campaign and marketing assistance from RBFF. All results from the State Direct Mail Marketing Program will be shared in future RBFF communications. If you'd like to set up a one-on-one meeting or interview at the Annual Meeting, email Stephanie Hussey or call her at (703) 778-5152.

About RBFF: RBFF is a nonprofit organization established in 1998 to increase participation in recreational angling and boating. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers' Legacy™.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Western Native Trout Initiative Announces New Steering Committee and Grant Appropriation Approvals

In two separate actions at the July meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Native Trout Initiative received endorsement for a new Steering Committee to guide the organizations’ implementation of efforts to improve the status of 15 species of western native trout; and approved six grants totaling $200,000 to a variety of states and organizations.

“For the past two years, the Western Native Trout Initiative has worked to develop a new approach to expanding the work being done to protect various species of cutthroat and other native trout across the West,” said Robin Knox, Initiative Coordinator.

“The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI), has partnered with 12 western state and five federal fishery management agencies in an evaluation and planning effort that describes what needs to be done to help the fish. The new Steering Committee will act as a board of directors to prioritize future Initiative expenditures and grants received from National Fish Habitat Action Plan federal funding. Over the past two years, over 30 projects have been initiated by this effort. The Steering Committee has a broad scope, and representation from a variety of fishery conservation interests to help us choose what are the most important enhancement projects to be completed in the next several years,” Knox said.

The structure of the Steering Committee is as follows:
Chair – Mike Stone – Wyoming
Rich Haskins NV – Great Basin States
Craig Burley WA – Northwest States
Roger Wilson UT – Intermountain States
Julie Meka AZ – Southwest States
Christopher Estes - Alaska
Charles Corrarino OR – At Large
Mike Sloane NM – At Large
Lisa Heki – US FWS
Tom Mendenhall – BLM (until Fall when he will assign Tyler Abbot)
Dan Duffield – US FS
NGO – Warren Colyer - Trout Unlimited

The Initiative is seeking representation as well from the Native American community and western Canadian Provinces, as these two groups have an interest in western trout management in connected waters as well.

WNTI Project Appropriation Details
The Western Native Trout Initiative is pleased to announce the awarding of funding to six western native trout projects that will advance knowledge about the several species and aid in the planning for future conservation efforts. The awards are as follows:

1. $28,500. – Redband Trout Status review and assessment. Multiple western state and federal fishery managers will develop the first ever status review for this obscure fish species. Total project cost - $36,150. Recipient – Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game.

2. $75,132. – State of Washington Redband Trout status and distribution Study. The State of Washington, as part of the Region-wide Redband Trout review will assess the statewide status of the species. Total project cost - $84,667. Recipient – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

3. $30,000. - Westslope Cutthroat Trout Status Review and database update. Four western states and 2 federal agencies will participate in this important review of changes in the status of Westslope cutthroat trout. Total project cost - $110,000. Recipient - Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game.

4. $39,255. – Coastal Cutthroat Trout Distribution and Status Review. This project will provide much needed information on the status of Coastal cutthroat trout to help determine what are the greatest conservation needs for the fish. Total project cost - $108,091. Recipient – Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

5. $7500. - California Golden Trout Population Sampling. California Trout Unlimited plays an important role in helping California Fish and Game sample Golden trout in hard to access areas. Total project cost - $15,000. Recipient – California Council of Trout Unlimited.

6. $19,500. Crooked Creek Streambank Stabilization and Improvement. A mix of private, state, and federal partners are working in the Klamath River Basin to improve fish habitat for a variety of fish species including Redband trout. This project helps that effort. Total project cost - $89,700. Recipient – Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust.

The total awarded is $199, 887. Total Projects cost is $344,608. For more information about WNTI, go to

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

National Conservation Leadership Institute Names 2008-2009 Fellows

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) is pleased to announce the third cohort of Fellows for the 2008-2009 leadership development program. Thirty-four “rising stars” in conservation will join the ranks of 71 Fellows, now alumni, previously selected since 2006 from state agencies, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and companies working in the natural resources industry.

NCLI Fellows have become widely regarded as future senior leaders who will help to build a conservation legacy for the next generation. The 2008-2009 Fellows are:

Karen Alexy -- Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
Laurel Anders -- Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission
Karen Bataille -- Missouri Department of Conservation
Thomas Baumeister -- Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
Bob Broscheid -- Arizona Game and Fish Department
Sally Claggett -- U.S. Forest Service
Frank Fiss -- Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Peter Flores -- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Danielle Flynn -- Bureau of Land Management
Mike Fowlks -- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Ben Fulton -- Marine Corps Base Quantico
Becky Gwynn -- Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries
Debbie Hart -- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Steven Hilburger -- U.S. Geological Survey
Steve Hurst -- New York State Dept of Environ Cons.
Aaron Jeffries -- Missouri Department of Conservation
Chris Jensen -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ron Leathers -- Pheasants Forever
Julie Lyke -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Marcia Maslonek -- Wildlife Habitat Council
Fred Maulson -- Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Comm.
Ray Metzler -- Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries
Jason B. Moeckel -- Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
Mike Montoya -- Mescalero Apache Tribe
Amy Owsley -- Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
Tom Paragi -- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Steve Perry -- NH Fish and Game Department
Linnea Petercheff -- Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Scott Reinecker -- Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game
Bill Rudd -- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Tony Schoonen -- Boone and Crockett Club
Mark Whitney -- Georgia DNR
Nick Wiley -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Comm.
David A. Zebro -- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The new cohort of Fellows will begin the program in September with electronic pre-work followed by an 11-day highly, interactive residency in October at the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia. After returning home, Fellows work for five months on individual leadership projects focused on a challenge facing their organizations, and the program culminates in the Spring with a long-weekend session at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.

About the National Conservation Leadership Institute:
The National Conservation Leadership Institute is a non-profit, multi-organizational effort with the single purpose of providing a world class experience for developing extraordinary leaders in natural resource conservation. The Institute is supported by many of the nation’s most passionate conservation interests including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, Weatherby Foundation International, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, International Paper, Boone and Crockett, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Bass Pro Shops. For more information, go to

Monday, July 21, 2008

No Child Left Inside Coalition Reaches 500 Members

Today, the No Child Left Inside Coalition attracted its 500th member organization to help improve environmental educationby pushing for the No Child Left Inside Act.

The NCLI Coalition was formed only 18 months ago. Today, NCLI member organizations, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, represent more than 22 million Americans. These groups are focused on a variety of areas – the environment, education, outdoor recreation, businesses, public health and science. While they have different interests, they share a commitment to improving how we teach kids about their natural world.

This milestone comes at a critical time—the full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 next week.

To view a complete list of members or to find out more about the No Child Left Inside Act, visit

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Looking for New Teaming with Wildlife Program Associate

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is seeking a Teaming with Wildlife Program Associate to support state fish and wildlife agencies in outreach and implementation initiatives for state wildlife action plans and other wildlife diversity conservation initiatives.

Responsibilities include developing and carrying out outreach activities, working with diverse partners to build support for the state wildlife action plans, assisting with management of the State Wildlife Grants Program, and promoting concrete collaborative opportunities, including federal agency engagement. In addition, the Program Associate will provide assistance to the Teaming with Wildlife Director in legislative outreach and advocacy activities necessary to secure funding for state wildlife action plans. The Program Associate reports to the Teaming with Wildlife Director and works closely with other Association staff to integrate state wildlife action plans into all areas of the Association’s work.

Masters degree in natural resources, planning, public policy, or a closely related field and two (2) or more years relevant experience. Experience with wildlife conservation issues strongly preferred. Experience in a state fish and wildlife agency a plus. The application deadline is August 8, 2008.

Visit the Careers page on our website for a full position description and application information. No calls please.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bald Eagles Thriving Throughout Pennsylvania

The bald eagle continues to supplant its recent - and remarkable - nesting successes with new records, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. And from all indications, this raptor isn't done making headlines.

"The bald eagle's ascension from its perilous past is an inspiration to all who care about environmental reform and wild Pennsylvania," explained Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. "These birds are living proof that responsible natural resource management and conservation make Pennsylvania a better place to live and ensure wildlife will be around for future generations to enjoy."

"It's fitting that news about the continuing triumphs of bald eagles have graced our headlines over the Fourth of July for the past several years. As our nation's symbol, their presence is essential in America's outdoors. They immediately add a touch of class and true wilderness to any area they inhabit, whether it's on the outskirts of Philadelphia or a remote stretch of the Lake Erie shoreline."

This spring, bald eagles are known to be nesting in at least 47 of the state's 67 counties. Their tally of nests is expected to exceed 140 nests. In June 2007, biologists estimated Pennsylvania had 120 known nests in 42 counties. The final count of those nests turned out to be 132, and they produced more than 150 eaglets.

As recently as 1983, there were only three eagle nests remaining in Pennsylvania. That year, the Game Commission began a seven-year bald eagle reintroduction program in which the agency sent employees to Saskatchewan to obtain eaglets from wilderness nests. The Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh and the federal Endangered Species Fund provided financial assistance for this effort. In all, 88 Canadian bald eagles were released from sites located at Dauphin County's Haldeman Island and Pike County's Shohola Falls.

"What's happening in Pennsylvania is also happening in many other states," noted Doug Gross, Game Commission ornithologist. "Bald eagles are thriving in Ohio and New York, and, of course, in Maryland, where more than 400 pairs have been documented. Some states with extensive big-water resources, such as Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin, have more than a 1,000 pairs each.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Annual Meeting Registration Open!

Registration is now open for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Annual Meeting to be held September 7-12, 2008 in Saratoga Springs, NY!

The conference registration fee is $380 prior to August 24 and $425 after August 24. The registration fee includes all sessions, committee meetings, receptions (where noted) and a ticket to the Annual Meeting Awards Banquet. Guest tickets for the banquet are $50 and guest tickets to the Welcome Reception are $45.

Most of the conference events will be held at our host hotel, The Saratoga Hilton, and the Saratoga City Center, which is attached to The Saratoga Hilton. Both facilities are within a few blocks of restaurants and shops, and are located in the heart of downtown Saratoga. The Association also has blocked rooms at The Hampton Inn, located across the street from the City Center, and the Courtyard By Marriott which is a ¼ mile walk to the City Center.

Visit the Annual Meeting website to register, view the Schedule at a Glance, find more lodging and travel information and learn how to become a meeting sponsor or exhibitor.

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors: National Wild Turkey Federation; Bass Pro Shops; Ducks Unlimited; National Shooting Sports Foundation; Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation; Bowhunting Preservation Alliance; U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance; Wildlife Forever; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Inspection Service, Wildlife Services Program.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mark Humpert Named New Teaming with Wildlife Director by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Washington (June 19, 2008) – The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies announced today that Mark J. Humpert will be joining its staff as the Teaming with Wildlife Director. With more than 20 years of experience in the wildlife conservation field, Humpert currently is the Wildlife Diversity Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He will begin work at the Association on August 11.

As Director, Humpert will manage the Teaming with Wildlife campaign and oversee other extensive outreach efforts related to state wildlife diversity programs. He also will be coordinating the activities of a 5,000+ organization coalition and managing legislative advocacy efforts around funding for state fish and wildlife agencies to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

“Over the past several years, I’ve had the chance to work with wildlife diversity and wildlife action plan coordinators from across the nation,” said Humpert. “The opportunity to build on the past successes of the Teaming with Wildlife program and to continue activating the Teaming with Wildlife coalition at this crucial time to ensure state agencies and partners have the public funding to fully implement their plans is exciting.”

Humpert has been involved with the Teaming with Wildlife coalition at the state and national levels for many years and, prior to accepting the Director position, represented Nebraska on the Association’s Teaming with Wildlife committee. Notably, he coordinated the Nebraska Teaming with Wildlife coalition, which grew from 49 to more than 270 organizations within five years during his tenure. Humpert also lead outreach efforts for Nebraska’s Wildlife Action Plan, State Wildlife Grants Program, Nongame Check-off Program, Nebraska Partnership for All-Bird Conservation, and the Healthy Families Play Outside Network.

"Mark has the understanding of the planning and implementation processes needed for wildlife action plans to succeed," said Matt Hogan, Executive Director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “With his experience advancing public policy and developing comprehensive outreach strategies, he is a welcome addition to the team.”

In 2007, Humpert was named the Nebraska Wildlife Professional of the Year. He is past President of both the state of Nebraska and Ohio State University Chapters of The Wildlife Society and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Bellevue University and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management from Ohio State University.

WYOMING: Steve Ferrell Named New Director of the Game and Fish Department

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The deputy director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department has been named the new director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department by Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

Steve Ferrell, an avid hunter, sport shooter and angler with more than 30 years of experience in wildlife management, said he is deeply honored to be named to the position. Ferrell succeeds Terry Cleveland, who will retired on June 30 after 39 years of service with the department.

Ferrell has spent his entire career with the Arizona Game and Fish Departmen. Beginning in 1975, he has served the department as a Wildlife Assistant, Wildlife Manager, Habitat Evaluation Specialist, Research Program Supervisor, Wildlife Regional Supervisor, Assistant Director, and Deputy Director. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona.

Ferrell has also served as chief financial officer of the department, as chairman of the Game and Fish Director’s executive staff and as leader of the department*s management team. He coordinated regularly with the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, the Arizona Governor’s Office, the Arizona State Legislature, and with organized constituent groups. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his leadership and administrative skills.

Ferrell is current chairman of the Association of Fish and WildlifeAgencies’ Wildlife Resources Policy Committee, is a member of the 2008 White House Conference on Hunting Heritage Technical Committee and a member of the National Sports Shooting Federation’s advisory committee on best practices in hunting and shooting sports recruitment and retention.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PENNSYLVANIA: Game Commission Hosts E-BIRD Website

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has become the first state wildlife agency to host and manage an "eBird" website. The eBird network is dedicated to helping birders throughout North America and the world record their bird observations and improve our understanding of seasonal bird activities and movements.

To assist first-time birders, as well as seasoned bird watchers, the Pennsylvania Game Commission now is selling a book titled, "The Birds of Pennsylvania" written by Franklin Haas and Roger Burrows. The cost is $17.92, plus state sales tax and shipping and handling.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Carnegie Museum of Natural History are looking for both casual and avid birdwatchers to help monitor nesting wild birds as part of the Second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas (PBBA), an ambitious five-year project (2004-2008) that is literally putting Pennsylvania's breeding birds on the map!

For more information, please visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission - State Wildlife Management Agency website:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Congress Considers “No Child Left Inside” Legislation

Today, the House Education and Labor Committee is scheduled to vote on a modified version of the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act.

Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland and Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island introduced legislation that strengthens and expands environmental education in America's classrooms and reconnects children with nature.

After a careful review, the NCLI Coalition leadership team strongly supports the amended version of the bill. Its key provisions would expand the National Environmental Education Act to:

  • Provide grants to ensure that teachers have the have the necessary knowledge and skills to teach environmental education;

  • Provide grants to enhance state and national capacity for environmental education.

  • Enable states that create environmental literacy plans, detailing how all graduates will be environmentally literate, to apply for this funding.

For more information on how you can take action today in support of the Act, go to:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NOAA Proposes Rule to Require Saltwater Angler Registration

NOAA’s Fisheries Service is seeking comment on a proposed rule that requires anglers and spearfishers who fish recreationally in federal ocean waters to be registered before fishing in 2009. The rule would also require registration by those who may catch anadromous species anywhere, including striped bass, salmon and shad that spawn in rivers and streams and spend their adult lives in estuaries and the ocean.

NOAA may exempt anglers from registration if they already have a state-issued saltwater fishing license or registration, and the state provides sufficiently complete information to place in the national registry. In certain instances, anglers in states participating in regional surveys of marine recreational fishing may also be exempted. The new rule allows states to apply for exemptions.

Fishermen would be required to be registered annually and NOAA will not charge a registration fee in the first two years. Beginning in 2011, the annual fee will be an estimated $15 to $25 per angler. Anglers under the age of 16 would be exempt from registering and fees would be waived for indigenous people, such as members of federally recognized tribes. NOAA’s Fisheries Service recognizes that many indigenous people fish for food as part of ancient cultural traditions.

Anglers who fish only on licensed party, charter, or guide boats would also be exempt, since these vessels are surveyed separately from the angler surveys. Also, persons who hold commercial fishing licenses or permits, and are legally fishing under them, will be exempt from the registration requirement.

To read the proposed rule, go to

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until Aug. 11. They can be mailed to:
John Boreman Director, Office of Science and Technology
1315 East-West HighwaySilver Spring, MD 20910
Attn.: Gordon Colvin
Comments can also be submitted electronically at

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Master Casters" Videos Launch Today on

A new series of viral videos launching today on casts fishing in a whole new light. The video series, called "Master Casters," was developed by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) in hopes of luring more people to the sport.

Featuring amazing casting feats by three expert anglers, the Master Casters videos can be seen on or Seven different videos show sport legends Gary Hain, Chuck Devereaux and Aaron McAlexander performing awe-inspiring tricks rarely seen before, like casting a line to crack an egg 50 yards away and hitting clay pigeons in mid-air.
Hain is scheduled to appear on CBS' The Early Show LIVE Friday morning, June 6, between 7 – 9 am ET to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week and kick off the new video series. Be sure to tune in!

"We're proud to launch the Master Casters videos this week on," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "We hope these amazing casting tricks will help draw newcomers into the sport and to our newly re-designed Web site, where anglers of all ages and experience levels can learn, plan and equip themselves with everything they need to go boating and fishing."

The viral videos will be featured in online advertising and in a commercial running on ESPN television. They are part of an integrated Take Me Fishing™ campaign, which centers around – the most comprehensive boating and fishing Web site available nationwide. Whether it's planning a trip, buying a fishing license, designing your dream boat, or checking out the latest equipment, has something for everyone.

Source: RBFF

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June is Great Outdoors Month

Great Outdoors Month 2008

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

From the Appalachian Mountains to the Grand Canyon, America is blessed with places of natural beauty where our citizens can discover the full splendor of this great Nation. During Great Outdoors Month, our Nation celebrates the grandeur of our open spaces, strengthens our commitment to preserving this heritage, and reaffirms our dedication to protecting our air, water, and lands.

My Administration remains dedicated to wise stewardship of the environment, and we will continue to protect our Nation's natural wonders. This past year, we have made great strides in helping wildlife thrive and in restoring habitat for migratory birds through cooperative conservation. Working with State and tribal officials, we are preserving important wildlife habitats and expanding the National Wildlife Refuge system. Citizens can visit to learn more about opportunities to care for our environment.

Great Outdoors Month is an opportunity to honor those who work to keep our natural places beautiful and to celebrate some of our country's favorite outdoor pastimes. These activities encourage a healthy lifestyle and give Americans pride in the great American landscape. As responsible stewards of our natural resources, we can help ensure that the great outdoors will be available for enjoyment by generations to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2008 as Great Outdoors Month. I call on all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to take time to visit and enjoy the great outdoors.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.