Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Announcing AFWA's 3rd Annual "Land the Cover" Photo Contest

Chad Coppes from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks landed the cover of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ Annual Report with this photo last year in a tight competition with runners up Ben Davis from Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and George Andrejko with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Who will take the spot and get bragging rights this year?

Submit your best hi-resolution photos of fish, wildlife, habitats, state fish and wildlife agency staff at work or people enjoying your state’s natural resources. Images can be from state publications, personal photography or previous Association of Conservation Information (ACI) Awards entries.

New this year is the “President’s Choice” Award (otherwise known as an AFWA coffee mug) for the best photo of the current AFWA President’s favorite critter. President Curtis Taylor (WV) selected the Gray Squirrel as his choice.

Every photo reproduced in the 2010 Annual Report will include a photographer credit. Photos may also be featured on the all-new web site and in other materials (such as fact sheets for Congress and the Administration). 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 Reports, visit

Deadline to enter the Third Annual “Land the Cover” Contest is January 21, 2011.

Please email entries to Alternatively, you can mail a CD to the address below. Feel free to forward this announcement on or call with questions. Thank you and good luck!

Laura MacLean
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
444 North Capitol St., NW
WashingtonDC, 20001

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dr. Jon Gassett Selected AFWA Vice President

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) selected Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Dr. Jon Gassett as its new vice president Monday, Dec.13, at its Washington D.C. headquarters.

AFWA's Executive Committee named Gassett to the vice president position when Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment Director Rebecca Humphries stepped down to accept a position with Ducks Unlimited Inc.

Gassett previously served as AFWA's secretary/treasurer and is currently vice-chair of its executive committee. He is an alumnus of the AFWA-managed National Conservation Leadership Institute, a world-class forum for developing leaders in natural resource conservation.

Over the past century, AFWA has emerged as a powerful, effective and collective voice for fish and wildlife conservation. The association consists of fish and wildlife agencies from all 50 states along with more than 100 other representatives from territorial, provincial and federal fish and wildlife agencies, the conservation community and sportsmen industries.

They work together toward achieving AFWA's vision of healthy fish and wildlife resources throughout North America managed by effective, well-funded fish and wildlife agencies and supported by informed and involved citizens.

"We had a vacancy and Jon was gracious enough to step up and volunteer his help," said AFWA President Curtis Taylor, Chief of West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Section. "He and I will be working closely together over the next several months. Jon has always done an excellent job in everything he's done for us."

Gassett came to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife in 1999 to head the agency's elk restoration program. He was promoted to Wildlife Division Director in 2001. He has served as KDFWR commissioner since 2005.

"AFWA is a strong and unified voice for all 50 states, and I look forward to working with all of them in addressing the various issues that can benefit our fish and wildlife resources," said Gassett.

Gassett's term as AFWA vice president begins Jan. 1, 2011.

Article courtesy of Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Commission
Mark Marraccini (800) 858-1549 ext.4425

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Statement from AFWA on the Nomination of Dan Ashe as USFWS Director

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies congratulates Dan Ashe on his nomination yesterday as the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Association’s membership has worked with Mr. Ashe on many of the pressing issues facing the conservation of our nation’s fish, wildlife and their habitats. We look forward to Mr. Ashe’s continuing support of professional, science-based fish and wildlife management and policy development and look toward strengthening the cooperation between state fish and wildlife agencies and the Service.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AFWA Releases a Literature Review on the Benefits of Outdoor Skills to Health, Learning and Lifestyle

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies today released a white paper Benefits of Outdoor Skills to Health, Learning and Lifestyle: A Literature Review documenting the contributions of outdoor skills and wildlife-related outdoor education to health, learning and lifestyle in general and fishing and hunting participation in particular.

Research into the benefits of outdoor skills education highlights the valuable contribution they make to personal health and wellbeing. When young people are able to connect with the outdoors regularly, the positive outcomes are profound. They are happier, healthier from the physical exercise, effects of attention-deficit disorder are reduced and they score higher on standardized tests when natural environments are integrated into school curricula.

Outdoor skills activities such as hunting and fishing provide opportunities for the connection of individuals with nature (the natural environment), direct connection with other people (interpersonal) and with themselves (personal). Specifically, the benefits of these connections lie in the strength and placement of these connections from the leisure context to everyday lives.

This comprehensive report draws on research from adult learning, education (i.e., adventure, boating, conservation, experiential, hunting, fishing, outdoor, physical and wilderness), health, leisure, recreation, sport, therapy, and at-risk-youth to highlight the evidence of the positive contributions of outdoor skills education on hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. The white paper includes abstracts for 99 documents; highlights some best practice outdoor skills education programs delivered by state fish and wildlife agencies and other partners; and offers recommendations for consideration when developing new or updating existing outdoor skills programs.

Highlighted Research Findings – The Benefits of Taking It Outdoors:

  • A growing body of studies suggests that contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep: time spent outdoors correlates with increased physical activity and fitness in children; exposure to green space reduces crime, increases general wellbeing and ability to focus; children as young as five have shown a significant reduction in the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) when they are engaged in outdoor activities in natural settings. Research indicates that there could be reductions in crime as a result of outdoor education.

  • Interpersonal and intrapersonal skills developed through engaging in nature-based activities in meaningful ways represent some of the main benefits of outdoor skills education.

  • The benefits that result from participating in outdoor activities can be enhanced through appropriate facility provision and access to natural resources as well as the design of outdoor skills education programs that work towards specific objectives.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that children who are more active outdoors and hang out outdoors tend to engage in greater physical activity as youth and later as adults.

Overall, the literature implies the need to adopt a broader-based conception of health from a holistic ecological perspective that moves beyond human physical and mental health to one that includes familial, communal, national, international and global ecological health. Active living is crucial to healthy lifestyles and leads to potentially greater participation in fishing and hunting.

The report was developed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ North American Conservation Education Strategy under contract with Cottrell & Associates: Environmental Consulting. Designed by experts from state fish and wildlife agencies, the North American Conservation Education (CE) Strategy delivers unified, research-based Core Concepts and messages about fish and wildlife conservation, translated into K-12 academic standards to shape students’ environmental literacy, stewardship and outdoor skills. The Core Concepts identify what every citizen should know, feel and do related to fish and wildlife conservation.

Funding for the report was provided by the Multistate Conservation Grant Program, which is supported through special excise taxes on hunting, shooting, archery and angling equipment, a tax on boating fuels and license fees paid by America’s hunters and anglers.

The white paper can be downloaded from

Monday, November 22, 2010

NFHAP Meets Objectives Set for 2010 & More

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) met its ambitious objectives for 2010. When the Action Plan was enacted in 2006, the following four objectives were set to be completed by 2010:

> Conduct a condition analysis of all fish habitats within the United States by 2010.

> Identify priority fish habitats and establish Fish Habitat Partnerships targeting these habitats by 2010.

> Establish 12 or more Fish Habitat Partnerships throughout the United States by 2010.

> Prepare a “Status of Fish Habitats in the United States” report in 2010 and every five years thereafter.

Through a cooperative arrangement with Michigan State University, the NFHAP Science and Data team completed a full habitat condition analysis of all streams in the lower 48 states. The Michigan State University team also completed initial habitat risk assessments for rivers in Hawaii and Alaska.

On the coastal side, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have completed a complementary habitat risk assessment for coastal waters in the lower 48 states and southeastern AK. These assessments are the first of their kind, portraying the condition of habitat nation-wide and at the individual river level.

> Read More

NFHAP Inducted into Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame
NFAHP has been inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame for 2011. The Action Plan joins 41 other groups inducted since 2000 including the other three 2011 inductees Fargo-Moorhead Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited, Kennebec Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame ( is located in Hayward, WI.

Friday, November 19, 2010

2012 Cycle Multistate Conservation Grant NCNs

The Association is now soliciting National Conservation Needs (NCNs) for the 2012 Multistate Conservation Grant Program (MSCGP). NCNs are the foundation of the MSCGP and establish the states’ priorities for the grant cycle. Each AFWA committee is allowed to submit one NCN. NCNs are due by February 11, 2011. Committees are encouraged to work together and submit joint NCNs.

Before submitting a new NCN, review the selected NCNs for the 2011 MSCGP since these NCNs may still be of highest importance and priority. Typically, if a committee is considering more than one NCN, the Chair asks committee members to vote and/or the Chair makes the final selection. It may be appropriate to refer NCNs to other committees or regional associations for their consideration.

All proposed NCNs from committees and the regional associations will be evaluated by the National Grants Committee, which will select NCNs to recommend for state directors’ approval at the March 2011 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Letters of Intent will be solicited beginning in April to address the NCNs.

The guidelines for submitting 2012 NCNs, last year’s NCNs and a general timeline for the 2012 MSCGP are available online at or visit AFWA's MSCGP blog to ask questions,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

John Frampton Receives ASMFC Captain David H. Hart Award

Charleston, SC – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission presented John Frampton, Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies 2009-2010 President, the David H. Hart Award, its highest annual award, at the Commission’s 69th Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. Frampton received the award in recognition of his long and distinguished career advocating for the greater good of fish and wildlife management and conservation along the Atlantic coast and throughout the entire nation.

The Commission instituted the “Captain David H. Hart Award” in 1991 to recognize individuals who have made outstanding efforts to improve Atlantic coast marine fisheries. The award is named for one of the Commission’s longest serving members, who dedicated himself to the advancement and protection of marine fishery resources.

Frampton has been an a leader in building strong personal and professional relationships within the natural resource community. His actions reflect his fundamental belief that such relationships lead to cooperation among state and federal natural resource management agencies and conservation and industry stakeholders, resulting in more effective conservation and management. This spirit of cooperation is one of the founding principles of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

For more than thirty years, Frampton also has been a champion for legislation and funding benefiting state natural resource management activities, securing millions of dollars for the states to restore and sustainably manage their fish and wildlife resources. In his own state, he secured significant state funds to acquire tens of thousands of acres of land for conservation easements and habitat restoration.

He was a guiding force in the development of the National Fish Habitat Initiative, directly benefiting Atlantic coastal states through the significant funding awarded to the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP). This coast-wide collaborative partnership strives to accelerate the conservation of habitat for Atlantic coastal, estuarine-dependent, and diadromous fish, and has great potential to restore Atlantic waterways and enhance productivity of many marine fisheries.

Frampton’s efforts to elevate the importance of natural resource management have greatly benefitted Atlantic states and have contributed to the betterment of the marine fisheries of the Atlantic coast.

ASMFC Vision: Healthy, self-sustaining populations for all Atlantic coast fish species or successful restoration well in progress by the year 2015.

From left: Vince O’Shea, Michael McShane, Robert Boyles Jr., John Frampton, Caroline Rhodes and Malcolm Rhodes

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Assoc. of Fish & Wildlife Agencies HQ (Highlights Quarterly) -- AFWA Activities for July, August & September 2010

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies released today its latest issue of the Association HQ (Highlights Quarterly), a summary of what the Association accomplished in the third quarter of 2010.

Leading off this edition of the HQ, Ron Regan discusses the “Making of” AFWA’s Lead Ammunition and Tackle Resolution and why it gets at the heart of what the Association does best—developing policy and applying it at the national level.

Inside the HQ/3Q, we also identify issues and outcomes from AFWA’s recent 100th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan and report on progress achieved to secure conservation funding; advance favorable Congressional legislation; and coordinate cross-cutting member issues and species-based interests through programs, partnerships, outreach and other initiatives.

On behalf of all the staff at the Association, we hope that you continue to find the HQ beneficial. The HQ/3Q 2010 can be found online at:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

AFWA is Hiring - Two Job Openings!

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is seeking to fill two positions at its Washington, DC office. If you are interested in applying for a position, please read the full job announcements for qualifications, salary and benefits information and specific application instructions.

Teaming With Wildlife Program Associate
The Teaming With Wildlife Program Associate supports state fish and wildlife agency efforts to implement and revise State Wildlife Action Plans. Responsibilities include assisting and facilitating communication between State Wildlife Action Plan coordinators, conducting outreach and developing partnerships with federal agencies and private conservation organizations to improve support for State Wildlife Action Plans. Other duties include assisting with outreach on the State Wildlife Grants Program and management of the 6,300 member Teaming With Wildlife coalition ( Candidates must be willing to travel. The application period is open until filled.

Read the full Teaming With Wildlife Program Associate job announcement>

Climate Adaptation Research Assistant/Policy Aid (part-time)
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is looking for a talented natural resource professional for a part-time position to assist in developing a National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. The Association is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, other federal agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies, tribal agencies and other conservation partnership to develop this strategy. This challenging position will include researching and assembling background information to develop the strategy; communicating with conservation partners; and drafting sections of the strategy in collaboration with other participants. Deadline to apply for this position is November 15, 2010.

Read the full Climate Adaptation Research Assistant/Policy Aid job announcement>

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dr. Sally Guynn Receives Prestigious Paul C. Weikel Award

Dr. Sally Guynn, Project Leader for the Management Assistance Team and Executive Director of the National Conservation Leadership Institute, was presented with the prestigious Paul C. Weikel Award by the Organization of Wildlife Planners (OWP) on September 27, 2010.

The Paul C. Weikel Award recognizes individuals for their outstanding or distinctive contributions to improved agency management, on a national or international level. It was established in 1992 in memory of Paul C. Weikel, whose personal history of innovative management, and desire to improve agency performance, inspired the creation of the award.

Coincidentally, on the same day that she was presented with the Weikel Award, Guynn received one of the Association’s Special Recognition Awards at AFWA’s Annual Awards ceremony.

The Organization of Wildlife Planners is a professional organization concerned with the management and future of government agencies that manage fish and wildlife populations and habitat. It is an Affiliate member of the Association.

Congratulations Sally!

photo (r-l): Dr. Sally Guynn and Verdie Abel, OWP President

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

AFWA Honors Recipients of the 2010 Annual Awards

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honored nine individuals and two entities for their outstanding and longstanding commitment to conservation stewardship at the Association’s Annual Awards Ceremony held on September 28, 2010 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

John Frampton, Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and AFWA’s 2009-2010 President received the top honor, the Seth Gordon Award. Wyoming Game and Fish Department and its Deputy Director, John Emmerich, took home the Ernest Thompson Seton Award for leadership in scientific wildlife management.

Cristy Gayle Burch, GIS Specialist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was recognized as an outstanding young wildlife management professional with the Mark Reeff Memorial Award and the Bamberger Ranch in Texas received the National Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award.

Lt. Richard Thomas and Investigator Dan Sullivan of the New York Department of Conservation Law Enforcement Division received the Conservation Law Enforcement Award for “Operation Shellshock,” a multi-year undercover operation to stop the illegal reptiles and amphibians.

In addition, special recognition awards were presented to Christopher Estes, Chief of Alaska Fish and Game’s Aquatic Resources Coordination Unit; Dr. Robert Blohm, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Bird Management; Dr. Sally Guynn AFWA’s Management Assistance Team Project Leader; and Jay McAninch, President and CEO of the Archery Trade Association.

Congratulations to all of the honorees!

> Read a full description of the achievements of the 2010 Annual Awards recipients

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

West Virginia’s Curtis I. Taylor Elected AFWA's 2010-2011 President

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies elected West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section Chief, Curtis I. Taylor, its new president on Spetember 29, 2010 during the Association’s 100th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is tasked to lead AFWA’s national agenda for sound, science-based fish and wildlife management through September 2011.

Taylor has more than 31 years of experience with DNR, where prior to becoming Chief in 2001, he was the Federal Aid Coordinator and worked on various turkey research projects and other fish and wildlife management programs including serving as co-project leader on the Wild Turkey Population Dynamics Study. He directed the first radio telemetry study of ocellated turkeys in Guatemala for Wildlife Conservation International and Hornocker Wildlife Institute and has served on the National Wild Turkey Federation Technical Committee since 1985, receiving the organization’s highly coveted Henry S. Mosby Award in 2005. Taylor also serves on the Steering Committee for the West Virginia University Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

“There is nothing like a 100th Annual Meeting to think about what we’ve done and where we will be going,” said Taylor, the first AFWA President to hail from West Virginia. “We still believe in a cooperative, scientifically sound and legally firm approach to protect and enhance the North American Model of fish and wildlife management that is unique to the United States and the envy of other countries that have tried to duplicate it. Our partnership with industry through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Acts is the cornerstone for funding conservation."

During his tenure as president, Taylor plans to focus the work of the Association membership on fostering better relationships with the angling, hunting and shooting sports industries; recruitment and retention of license-buying hunters and anglers; and the impacts of energy development on fish and wildlife resources.

“Energy does not come without a price,” said Taylor. “We need to make sure that wildlife is not stuck with the bill.”

In addition to his responsibilities as President, Taylor also serves as the Co-Chair of AFWA’s International Relations Committee. In this role, he represented the United States at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Qatar in early 2010 to advance state and federal statutory partnerships and work cooperatively on international fish and wildlife policy.

“I appreciate the trust [the Association members] have put in me,” concluded Taylor.

Taylor has served as Treasurer and President of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and is currently on its Executive Committee. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Photo (l-r): The passing of the President's gavel from John Frampton (SC) to Curtis Taylor (WV)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Announced... Plenary Session Speakers at AFWA's Annual Meeting

100th Annual Meeting Plenary Session
Milestones in American Conservation—Learning from the Past, Envisioning our Future

Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish & Wildlife and Parks
Douglas Brinkley, Acclaimed Author & Historian

In honor of the 100th meeting of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, join us for a special Plenary Session on Monday, September 27 from 8:00 am to 10:00 am in Grand Rapids, MI that will challenge you to consider whether the future of American conservation and its challenges are not so different from the past.

Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish & Wildlife and Parks and Chief of Staff to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, will discuss the accomplishments of the U.S. Department of the Interior during this current Administration and share the federal vision for natural resource management and the importance of North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to its success.

Acclaimed historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America and professor of history at Rice University, will offer his insights about the “naturalist president” and how Roosevelt’s achievements can inspire the legacy we promote as today’s caretakers of America’s fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Following the Plenary, Mr. Brinkley will sign copies of his book.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

AFWA Welcomes Matt Menashes as Director of Operations

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is pleased to welcome Matt Menashes as the new Director of Operations. Matt brings 10 years of association management and a background in coastal and marine policy to the position. Matt will focus on the Association’s internal business operations and fisheries and aquatic resources issues, and will staff the Fisheries and Water Resources Policy and Ocean Resources Policy committees.

Prior to coming to the Association, Matt was the Executive Director of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA) for two years. NERRA represents the state agencies and universities that operate the nation’s 27 estuarine research reserves in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“A good part of my career has been working with state agencies to support their resource and program needs,” said Matt. “One of my proudest career accomplishments was collaborating with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to establish the Kachemak Bay research reserve in the late 1990s. And for the past two years, I was honored to represent the state agencies that operate the research reserves in their dealings here in Washington, DC. I am looking forward to continuing to support the states while assisting Ron (Regan) and the rest of the AFWA staff in day-to-day operations"

From 2000 through 2008, Matt was President/CEO of the Paddlesports Industry Association, a trade association representing the manufacturers, retailers and outfitters of canoes, kayaks and rafts. His sdditional experience includes nearly seven years with NOAA and two years on Capitol Hill. He has served on the boards of the American Canoe Association, Paddler Magazine and the International Whitewater Hall of Fame.

Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in marine policy from the University of Delaware.

You can contact Matt at 202/624-3602;

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teaming With Wildlife Week Celebrates the 10-year Anniversary of the State Wildlife Grants Program

Through September 11, Teaming With Wildlife Week will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the State Wildlife Grant program, which funds state-based conservation efforts to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

The State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program provides federal grant dollars to every U.S. state and territory to support the development and implementation of their unique State Wildlife Action Plans. Wildlife Action Plans assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats; identify the problems they face; and outline the actions needed to conserve them over the long term.
For more than a decade, the SWG Program has served as a stable federal funding source for state fish and wildlife agencies in excess of $600 million. This stability has been critical to the recovery and conservation of many species in greatest need of conservation.

“The SWG program is part of the Department of the Interior’s ongoing commitment to the essential conservation efforts of states,” said Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. “In our challenging economic climate, the program ensures that states will have the necessary resources to help conserve their highest priority wildlife, plants, and habitats – an investment that will pay dividends for years to come.”

“The SWG Program was created to meet a long-standing need for funding the conservation of fish and wildlife species that are typically neither hunted nor fished,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The program has been an important source of funds to help keep America’s common species common and to conserve wildlife before they become too rare and costly to protect them.”

States and their partners have used funding from the SWG Program to combat invasive species, protect natural areas, restore habitat, conduct research and implement monitoring programs that will provide better data on imperiled species and their habitats. Priority for use of grant funds is placed on those species and habitats with the greatest conservation need.

Teaming With Wildlife Week is sponsored by the national, bipartisan Teaming With Wildlife coalition, composed of 6,300+ conservation organizations and nature-based businesses including state fish and wildlife agencies, wildlife biologists, hunters and anglers, birdwatchers, hikers and other conservationists. The Teaming With Wildlife coalition is working to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered by supporting increased funding for wildlife conservation, education and nature-based recreation.

Across the country, state fish and wildlife agencies are hosting Teaming With Wildlife Week events. For more information, visit

To learn more about funding allocations through the State Wildlife Grants Program for state, commonwealth, territories, and the District of Columbia visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Web site at

Friday, July 23, 2010

AFWA’s President John Frampton Appointed to New Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Council

John Frampton, the President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, was appointed to the new Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC) today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The announcement was made at a joint federal agency press conference to name the 18 Council members who will serve two-year terms on the official advisory group which was chartered to provide advice to the government on wildlife conservation and hunting issues and on carrying forward the nation’s hunting tradition.

“It is an honor to be appointed to the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Council and represent state fish and wildlife agencies to advance one of our most important agency functions—hunting and shooting sports,” said Frampton. “More effective cooperation between the states, federal agencies, Native American Tribes and our wildlife conservation and archery, shooting and hunting sports industry colleagues is the key to success to ensure Americans have enhanced opportunities to enjoy the benefits of our great outdoors.”

The Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Ron Regan, will serve as an ex officio member of the Council. The WHHCC will meet twice yearly.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barham Testifies on Impacts of Gulf Oil Spill on Fish, Wildlife and Habitats

Robert Barham, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries delivered testimony today before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife regarding the impacts of the Gulf oil spill on fish, wildlife and their habitats.

“The economy and culture of coastal Louisiana is a unique blend of many things similar to the unique blends prepared by our great chef’s in New Orleans when they prepare that succulent dish of gumbo,” said Barham. “In the case of coastal Louisiana our coastal ecology and fishing is and always has been the main ingredient. At this point the main ingredient is threatened and the future is anything but certain.”

Secretary Barham’s full testimony can be viewed at

Association Testifies on Sikes Act Amendment

The Association testified on May 25 in support of an amendment to the Sikes Act, which would clarify its application to Army National Guard (ANG) bases. Where title to the land is held by the state and not the federal government, these ANG bases—if they have significant natural resources subject to the requirements of an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan jointly concluded by the DoD installation, the state fish and wildlife agency, and the USFWS—would be eligible for funding under the Sikes Act.

State fish and wildlife agencies have long enjoyed a good relationship with military installations, and the Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 directed the preparation, development and implementation of INRMPs, and with respect to the fish and wildlife conservation provisions, requires that they be mutually agreed to by the DoD installation, state fish and wildlife agency and USFWS.

“We can all be proud of the conservation benefits achieved from this often unknown and unheralded success story of public lands management on approximately 30 million acres,” observed Gary Taylor, AFWA's Legislative Director, in the Association's testimony. “Our successes have certainly substantiated that not only is achievement of the military preparedness mission and sound stewardship of the land and its fish and wildlife resources not mutually exclusive, they are indeed mutually necessary and beneficial.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Six State Fish and Wildlife Agencies to Receive Nearly $5 Million in State Wildlife Grants

Approximately $5 million will be distributed to state wildlife agencies in Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington through the State Wildlife Grants Competitive Program to support cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday.

The State Wildlife Grants Competitive Program provides federal dollars to support the development and implementation of each state’s unique State Wildlife Action Plan, which assesses the health of wildlife and habitats, identifies the problems they face and outlines the actions needed to conserve and recover imperiled fish and wildlife species over the long term.

“Across the country, conserving high quality habitat, restoring degraded lands and waters and removing invasive species are among the top priorities for conservation,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “Though the challenges to keeping wildlife from becoming endangered are greater than ever before, State Wildlife Action Plans present a national action agenda for the conservation of wildlife species that have not benefited from conservation attention due to lack of funding.”

Priority for State Wildlife Competitive Grant funding is placed on multistate, cooperative conservation projects focused on species and habitats with the greatest conservation need. States and their partners will match the federal funding by more than $2 million in non-federal funds.

“We can wait for wildlife to decline and react to problems with expensive, last-ditch efforts or we can take proactive, cost-effective steps to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered before it is too late,” said Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The 6,300-member Teaming With Wildlife coalition, made up of organizations and businesses, strongly supports increased State Wildlife Grant funding for wildlife conservation, education and nature-based recreation. “The State Wildlife Grants Program helps states turn the trend around and reduce the need for listing many species and costly recovery efforts,” added Humpert.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded State Wildlife Competitive Grants to the following projects:

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission: Coordinated Multi-State Response to a Deadly, Emerging Threat – White-Nose Syndrome in Bats—to support a multi-regional coordinated response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging threat to cave-dwelling bats. State partners include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin as well as Bat Conservation International (Austin, TX). Federal funds awarded: $998,834; non-federal match: $450,797

Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Use of Fire and Grazing to Improve Grassland Habitats for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN)—to support the development of an effective management framework for increasing the diversity of grasslands in working landscapes, thereby increasing the capacity of these areas to support viable populations of SGCN. Project activities will take place on both public and private lands. Iowa DNR will partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation as well as personnel from Illinois and Oklahoma to accomplish project goals. Federal funds awarded: $732,904; non-federal match: $317,113

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife: The Conservation of Marsh Tidal Birds: Guiding Action at the Intersection of Our Changing Landscape—to provide information for the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast states to protect regionally important habitats for tidal marsh birds (including 26 species of greatest conservation need) and to provide a regionally consistent platform for tidal marsh monitoring in anticipation of sea-level rise and upland/watershed development. Primary state partners include Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland with work also occurring in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia. Federal funds awarded: $760,202; non-federal match: $412,159

Michigan Department of Natural Resources: Oak Savanna, Pine Barrens and Jack Pine Restoration in Michigan and Ohio for Species of Greatest Conservation Need—to restore and enhance 600 acres of oak savanna in Michigan and Ohio for the recovery and benefit of the Karner blue butterfly and restore 400 acres of pine barrens and jack pine forest in Michigan for the recovery and benefit of Kirtland’s warbler. The project also will potentially benefit 188 species of greatest conservation need. Forty-five percent (or 450 acres) of the project lands fall under private ownership. Federal funds awarded: $852,484; non-federal match: $383,000

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission: Nebraska Natural Legacy Project: Phase III—to implement conservation partnerships and actions on private and public lands in Nebraska and South Dakota to enhance and improve native prairies, wetlands and woodlands for the benefit of SGCN in both states. This project will benefit Bell’s vireo, greater prairie chicken, ottoe skipper, swift fox and the Northern red belly dace. Federal funds awarded: $1,000,000; non-federal match: $333,333

Washington Department of Game and Fish: State Wildlife Grants Effectiveness Monitoring—to implement the third phase of development of a spatially enabled decision support system, which allows states to share common data with their conservation partners and strategically prioritize actions across multiple states. The system will facilitate strategic implementation of State Wildlife Grant program funds across multiple states including Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Federal funds awarded: $514,059; non-federal match: $171,353

Congress created the State Wildlife Grants Program in FY2002, funded from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Funds appropriated under the program are allocated to each state and other eligible jurisdictions according to a formula based on land area and population. Since the program’s inception, Congress has distributed more than $500 million for conservation work on state and private lands.

To view the State Wildlife Grant allocations for each state, go to

For more information about State Wildlife Action Plans and to read an accomplishments report, visit

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ron Regan Elected to TRCP Board

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) announced today that Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, has been elected to its board of directors.

“Ron Regan’s breadth of experience in fish and wildlife management – as evidenced by his current role as leader of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies – will enable the TRCP to take great strides in matters of importance to sportsmen on both state and federal levels,” said Jim Martin, chairman of the TRCP board of directors.

Regan was elected at the TRCP spring board meeting, which took place in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month.

About TRCP
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Statement from the Association about the American Power Act

The Association appreciates the release of draft bill language of the American Power Act from Senators Kerry (MA) and Lieberman (CT), which also reflects the work of Senator Graham (SC), as a solid starting point for further development of comprehensive clean energy-climate change policy.

Our initial analysis suggests that the draft retains the agreed-to (by the conservation community) policy architecture of state and federal natural resource adaptation programs, which will enable appropriate responses to the effects of climate change on fish, wildlife and their habitats.

It is not entirely evident if funding is dedicated or subject to appropriations; dedicated funding is essential to the success of natural resource adaptation programs. It is clear that funding for these programs is not available until year seven forward; earlier availability of funding for natural resource adaptation programs is likewise essential to success.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress as the bill matures through the legislative process to clarify and improve these provisions.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

National Conservation Leadership Institute Completes Fourth Successful Year!

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) has just graduated its fourth yearly class — a cohort of 36 Fellows. This group of Fellows included 25 state fish and wildlife leaders, six from federal agencies such as USGS, USFWS, and NPS and four from NGOs (NWTF, NFWS, and RMEF) as well as one tribal leader from the Navajo nation.

The culminating event for this fourth cohort was held at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri and Fellows made presentations regarding their individual leadership projects. These presentations focused on what leadership learning from the NCLI the Fellows applied and what practical lessons were gleaned from applying leadership concepts from the Institute. It was a very informative three-day event with time out for an evening steak fry and graduation ceremony.

The journey to Big Cedar Lodge marked the completion of the NCLI seven-month program during which Fellows completed pre-work online learning sessions from last September; then a 10-day residency in October where classroom and experiential learning about leadership was the focus; followed by a six-month effort where each Fellow worked on his/her individual leadership project and received coaching from peers. Graduation from the NCLI has been described by many Fellows as “life-changing!”

The NCLI is staffed by the AFWA Management Assistance Team and is governed by a board with representatives from the USFWS, AFWA, NFWF, WMI, TCF, Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Patagonia’s Freedom to Roam, Resource Management Services LLC, Greener Options Inc., Watershed Results LLC and Boone and Crockett Club.

The NCLI is now accepting online applications for cohort five which will begin in September 2010. Applications are due by May 15, 2010. To apply go to:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thank You Senator Thune for Supporting State Wildlife Grants

The Teaming With Wildlife Coalition presented Senator John Thune (SD) with an award today in recognition of his long-standing support of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program and for being an original co-sponsor of the Teaming With Wildlife Act (S655). The Teaming With Wildlife Award featured a framed photo of a burrowing owl, a bird species found in South Dakota.

From left to right in the picture: Mark Humpert, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies; Senator Thune; Naomi Edelson, National Wildlife Federation; and Peter Gudritz, Wildlife Conservation Society

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wisconsin Protects Migratory Birds through Costa Rican Conservation Investment/Southern Wings

(Madison, WI) This spring, millions of birds are returning to Wisconsin from distant winter haunts. Hungry and tired from thousands of miles of perilous travel, birds can count on Wisconsin to provide the habitat they need. But that is not always the case south of the border, where more than half of Wisconsin’s 238 breeding bird species spend the winter. Throughout Latin America, deforestation and incompatible development are squeezing Wisconsin’s birds into ever smaller wintering grounds, threatening their long-term survival.

Recognizing the need to act internationally on behalf of Wisconsin’s birds, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin joined public and private partners at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Neenah Paper to safeguard important migratory bird wintering habitat on Costa Rica’s Osa peninsula. The three partners recently made a combined contribution of more than $60,000 to the non-profit Friends of the Osa.

According to Craig Thompson, regional land leader at the Wisconsin DNR, his state’s commitment to safeguarding the Osa peninsula was inspired by a national movement called Southern Wings — a partnership of conservation agencies that supports funding for projects to protect migratory bird habitat beyond state borders in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Southern Wings was launched in 2008 by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to conserve priority migratory bird species by monitoring the status of populations; restoring and managing migrant bird habitats; acquiring lands in critical core habitats; educating the public; and more. In addition to Wisconsin, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota are active contributors.

“Within the next 20 years, more than 80 percent of land and its wildlife in Latin America and the Caribbean could be adversely impacted by development, putting critical habitat for migrant birds at risk,” Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, said. “Southern Wings provides state fish and wildlife agencies with a funding mechanism to help conserve priority migratory bird species throughout their lifecycle.”

Thompson, who coordinates Wisconsin’s participation in Southern Wings, said a precedent helped his state decide to join the initiative. “While this is the first time we’ve supported wintering habitat protection in Latin America for our declining songbird populations, the DNR has supported waterfowl breeding habitat conservation projects in Canada for nearly two decades.”

According to Charlie Luthin, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, the combination of corporate dollars, individual gifts, and contributions from the DNR demonstrates a new commitment to protecting Wisconsin’s migratory birds. “No matter how much good work we do for birds in the state, we can’t keep them here year-round.” Luthin hopes this project will encourage others to get involved. “People now understand that the habitat loss is real and that we can’t really protect our birds without protecting their winter homes as well,” he added. “The threats are sobering, but the collective response has been inspiring, both here in Wisconsin and in other states.”

To read the full story, go to

To learn more about the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and how it promotes the protection and enjoyment of Wisconsin’s public lands, waters and wildlife, visit

To learn about International Migratory Bird Day on May 8, 2010, go to:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Keep Your Eyes on These "10 Waters to Watch" in 2010

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan today announced its “10 Waters to Watch” for 2010 at the Jim Range National Casting Call event in Washington, DC.

The annual “10 Waters to Watch” list, assembled by the nation’s leading authorities on aquatic conservation, is a collection of rivers, streams and shores that will be cleaner and healthier habitats for the many fish and wildlife species and people who call these areas home. They are representative of freshwater to marine waters across the country including lakes and reservoirs that are improving through the conservation efforts of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan — a bold initiative to reverse persistent declines in aquatic habitat.

The Action Plan’s “10 Waters to Watch” Initiative was first unveiled in 2007 through its Fish Habitat Partnerships. Since 2006, the Fish and Wildlife Service has provided $8.5 million to support 188 on-the-ground projects in 36 states, leveraging $20 million in partner match, to address the priorities of the Fish Habitat Partnerships, along with funding from several other state and federal agencies and NGO’s.

“Our approach—teaming federal, state and local partners—is helping to bring these waters back to life in most cases…in a faster more strategic way,” said Kelly Hepler, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “By watching these 10 models of our nation’s aquatic conservation efforts, we can see real progress in treating the causes of fish habitat decline, not just the symptoms. Through sound science and on-the-ground partnerships, these select projects can be held high as a vision of what quality habitat should be, which affects all people throughout the United States.”

The 10 Waters to Watch in 2010

Bobs Creek, Pennsylvania
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture)
This project will benefit brook trout populations in Wallack’s Branch of Bobs Creek, PA by removing fish barriers and creating in-stream habitat. Modifications to five small structures (including small dams), which currently reduce free movement of trout within the stream in Wallack’s Branch, will allow fish to move without impediment through the stream.

Diamond Lake, Iowa
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership)
This project focuses on improving water quality by shifting the lake to a clear water state using water-level management to consolidate bottom sediments, re-establish aquatic plants, and control common carp populations. The restoration of Diamond Lake is Iowa’s inaugural shallow lake restoration project providing resource management professionals with experience and expertise for managing shallow lakes. The project also provides stakeholders a demonstration of the restoration potential for other shallow lakes.

Fairbanks and Soda Springs, Nevada
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Desert Fish Habitat Partnership)
Anthropogenic landscape alteration has resulted in the loss of habitats vital to Ash Meadows speckled dace and Ash Meadows pupfish and has resulted in the alteration of hydrologic processes that create and maintain those aquatic habitats. This project supports the restoration of Fairbanks and Soda Springs as a component of the larger Upper Carson Slough restoration across the northern extent of Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Georgetown Creek, Idaho
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Western Native Trout Initiative)
The Georgetown Road Relocation Project is a multi-year project to remove approximately two miles of road from the bottom of Georgetown Creek (including three impassable culverts) to improve aquatic and riparian habitat, water quality, and fish passage in the canyon. The project will restore water quality and riparian and in-stream habitat through the removal of the old road and the building of a fish ladder.

Green River Basin, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming
(National Fish Habitat Partnership(s) –
Desert Fish Habitat Partnership and Western Native Trout Initiative)

Both the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership and the Western Native Trout Initiative have recognized the outstanding aquatic resources of the Green River Basin. Both partnerships support projects, directly and indirectly, that benefit fish populations and habitat in ways that place local projects within a larger basin-wide perspective.

Koktuli River, Alaska
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership)
This fish habitat partnership conservation project was initiated through voluntary actions to ensure public protection of important and intact fisheries. The work on the Koktuli River project will be adequately balanced with considerations of other natural resource uses including uses of land and water resources associated with improved access and human population growth and other future actions that might be considered, for enhancing socioeconomic conditions for local residents and others.

Lake Vermilion, Minnesota
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership)
The purpose of this project is to protect undeveloped shoreline and provide public access to the land and water via a state park, scheduled to open in 2010. The state of Minnesota will acquire 3,000 acres and 4.93 miles of undeveloped shoreline on Lake Vermilion in St. Louis County. Minnesota state parks allow visitors to fish for free. It is expected that this park will quickly become one of the most visited parks in the state, with an estimated 500,000 visitors per year.

Mackeys Creek, Mississippi
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership)
The focus of the Mackeys Creek project involves restoration of a Gulf Coast Strain (GCS) of walleye in a headwater stream of the Tombigbee River. An 80-ft long rock dike was constructed in 2009 with fill material backfilled behind it to restore the natural slope. The bank was seeded, and willow tree shoots were planted to restore riparian habitat. Washed gravel was placed in the adjacent shoal to create a potential GCS walleye spawning site. Plans for 2010 include creating or enhancing additional GCS walleye spawning habitat and stocking hatchery-reared fish.

Wasilla Creek, Alaska
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership)
Wasilla Creek is one of three main creeks draining the core area of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and is home to five species of Pacific salmon. Many partner organizations are working on projects to assure sufficient amounts of clean water, continuous fish passage and overall healthy fish habitats will be maintained within the Wasilla Creek drainage. Significant efforts have been completed and others are in progress to protect and restore salmon habitat in Wasilla Creek.

West Branch, Machias River, Maine
(National Fish Habitat Partnership – Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture)
With stream connectivity functionally restored to the main-stem of the Machias River, current restoration needs are focused predominately in its major headwater tributaries including the West Branch. A range-wide Conservation Success Index indicates that the West Branch Machias River sub-watershed ranks very high in terms of both habitat quality for native Eastern brook trout and future security from anthropogenic threats such as urbanization.

“Whether you measure the effect of these 10 success stories in feet or miles of fish and wildlife habitat conserved, these kinds of concerted actions are what it is going to take to get our nation’s waters back into shape,” said Hepler. “We believe the Waters recognized today will be the impetus for thousands of projects accomplished in the future.”

For more information about the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and Fish Habitat Partnerships, visit

Friday, April 16, 2010

State Fish and Wildlife Agency Representatives Attend White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors

Rebecca Humphries (MI), Jon Gassett (KY), Matt Frank (WI), Nick Wiley (FL), Marc Miller (IL), Ken Elowe (ME), Greg Wathen (TN), Joe Maurier (MT), Bob Broscheid (AZ), Lauren Martinson (MN) and John Griffen (MD) represented state fish and wildlife agencies at today’s White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors. At the event, President Obama signed a Memorandum of Understanding launching the “America’s Great Outdoors Initiative,” which is intended to promote community-level conservation efforts and encourage families to spend more time outside.

“This was a very encouraging day—one that’s rooted in the 102nd anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt first convening a national conservation forum and the 40th anniversary of Earth Day,” said Rebecca Humphries, Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Chair of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Executive Committee. “I hope the energy from today combined with the apparent commitment of many government agencies and non-governmental entities produces great results for the future of conserving America’s outdoor spaces and connecting more people to nature.”

“The White House Conference on the Great Outdoors was an invigorating opportunity to participate in a national forum with strong representation from state fish and wildlife agencies to help shape a 21st century conservation agenda,” said Ron Regan, AFWA Executive Director. “I was pleased to hear President Obama convey that ‘America’s Great Outdoors Initiative’ will build on the successful conservation efforts of state governments. The Association looks forward to engaging with the President’s administration officials leading the effort to promote sound resource management and conservation in the public interest.”

To read Presidential Memorandum – America’s Great Outdoors, go to

Monday, April 12, 2010

Boone & Crockett Club Honors AFWA with the Theodore Roosevelt Legacy Award

The Boone and Crockett Club on March 24 presented the Association with its prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Legacy Award in honor of AFWA’s dedication and commitment to the success of the National Conservation Leadership Institute since its establishment in 2004.

The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) was conceived during an early AWCP meeting at the Boone and Crockett Club headquarters in Missoula, MT. The Association then took the lead to create and maintain the NCLI’s operations.

Said Lowell Baier, President of the Boone and Crockett Club, “The National Conservation Leadership Institute, while born in the rich dialogue and minds of Boone and Crockett Club Professional Members, could never have been a success nor realized without the cooperation, input, support and facilitation of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.”

The inscription on the Legacy Award reads:

“Celebrating Cooperative Conservation Partnerships – Presented to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies – For their collaborative role and extraordinary championship, facilitation and training of America’s future conservation leaders through the National Conservation Leadership Institute – 2010 North American Wildlife Conference.”

The Theodore Roosevelt Legacy Award was created in the year 2007 to celebrate and recognize successful cooperative conservation partnerships and partners of the Boone and Crockett Club.

To learn more about the National Conservation Leadership Institute, go to

For more information about the Boone and Crockett Club, visit

Photo (l-r): Lowell Baier, Boone and Crockett Club President; Ron Regan, AFWA Executive Director; John Frampton, AFWA President

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wildlife Viewing Network Kick-off Meeting

The Wildlife Viewing Network national kick-off meeting starts tonight thru Friday in Montpelier, VA to help develop a charter and campaign to more clearly define the discipline of Wildlife Viewing and identify stable funding sources for state wildlife viewing programs.

This meeting will organize state wildlife viewing programs into a focused national organization to provide leadership in assisting state fish and wildlife agencies through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and as a national source for information sharing among state wildlife viewing programs.

The meeting is being hosted by Wildlife Viewing Program Coordinators and AFWA’s Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Working Group.

Did you know… more than 35 states have identified Wildlife Viewing or Watchable Wildlife Programs.

Did you also know… there are birding trail efforts in nearly all 50 states.

Photo by George Andrejko, AZGFD

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Third Annual National Fish Habitat Award Winners Announced

Award ceremony to be held at the Jim Range National Casting Call on April 22, 2010

The National Fish Habitat Board, a group of the nation’s leading authorities on aquatic conservation, will honor exceptional organizations and individuals who are leaders in aquatic resources conservation at the Third Annual National Fish Habitat Awards ceremony on April 22, 2010 at the Jim Range National Casting Call, hosted by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.

From the nominations submitted by the hundreds of organizations that comprise the National Fish Habitat Partners Coalition and Fish Habitat Partnerships under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) (, the awardees have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to fish habitat conservation, science and education. They are leading by example, through on the ground achievement, to help resolve the nation’s most significant fisheries problems.

The NFHAP Awards will be presented in short program, along with the unveiling of the 2010 NFHAP 10 “Waters To Watch.”

The Winners of the 2010 National Fish Habitat Awards:

Jim Range Conservation Vision Award in support of Fish Habitat Conservation:
Scott Robinson – Coordinator, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP)
Aquatic resource conservation in the Southeastern U.S. has been improved through the leadership of Scott Robinson, coordinator of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP). Scott spearheaded the development of the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan (The Plan) in order to directly and indirectly improve the quality and quantity of fish habitats in the region.

Directly, Scott’s leadership has resulted in local fish habitat improvement in each of the 14 SARP states through 30 on-the-ground projects between 2006 and 2009. These have impacted stream, river, reservoir, and coastal habitats as well as recreational, sensitive and imperiled species. Indirectly, Scott’s leadership trickles down to in-state research and conservation projects that utilize The Plan. Regionally, Scott is coordinating a systematic regional habitat assessment with the NFHAP Science and Data Committee's habitat assessment, and participates in relevant regional and national aquatic conservation issues such as the Black Bass Initiative and the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership. Scott’s work and coordination with other Fish Habitat Partnerships, has been exceptional in regards to the fostering of newly formed partnerships.

Southeast Aquatics Resources Partnership -

Extraordinary Action in support of Fish Habitat Conservation:
Lower Bourbeuse Landowner Committee/Missouri Department of Conservation
Efforts to improve aquatic habitat in the Meramec – Lower Bourbeuse watershed, make for a unique partnership that is rarely found on the landscape. The uniqueness of the partnership comes from the sheer fact that landowners, mostly farmers, drive the aquatic restoration process. A well documented history of established landowner participation in the Meramec Basin-Lower Bourbeuse watershed has proven successful in ensuring healthy streams and healthy farms within the watershed.

A six-member landowner committee governs and guides restoration efforts in the Lower Bourbeuse Conservation Opportunity Area. The committee leads by example, contributing their time and expertise and choosing funding sources for proposal competitions. They host farm tours to encourage neighbor participation. There has been continuous demand for best management practices for agriculture, fisheries, forestry and wildlife to protect, enhance and restore natural resources. Installation of fencing, alternative water systems, and secured cattle crossings keep cattle out of streams, addressing root causes of habitat deterioration. Landowners appreciate what these projects mean for their watersheds and cattle.

Supporting document: US FWS Fish Lines Newsletter (May 2009) Pg. 20

About the Jim Range National Casting Call—Hosted by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, the Jim Range National Casting Call is an annual two-day event providing a unique opportunity for families, youth, the fly fishing industry and their partners to spend time on the water experiencing first-hand the benefits of collaboration in fisheries management. For more information, visit

Friday, March 12, 2010

Climate Change Could Threaten Hundreds of Bird Species Warns New State of the Birds Report

Oceanic and Hawaiian birds are in greatest peril from the effects of climate change according to the new State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change released yesterday by the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, on behalf of the partnership of federal and state wildlife agencies, scientific and conservation organizations that collaborated on the research.

The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change is the nation's first assessment of migratory birds' vulnerability to climate change. The report indicates that climate change could have an increasingly disruptive effect on bird species in all habitats, although the way lands are managed can mitigate climate change impacts and help birds adapt to changing conditions.

Key findings in the 2010 report:

• Oceanic birds are among the most vulnerable species because they don't raise many young each year; they rely on a rapidly changing marine ecosystem; and they nest on islands that may be flooded as sea levels rise.

• Hawaiian birds such as endangered species Puaiohi and 'Akiapola'au already face multiple threats and are increasingly challenged by mosquito-borne diseases and invasive species as climate change alters their native habitats.

• Birds in coastal, arctic/alpine and grassland habitats as well as those on Caribbean and other Pacific Islands show intermediate levels of vulnerability; most birds in aridlands, wetlands and forests show relatively low vulnerability to climate change.

• For bird species that are already of conservation concern such as the Golden-cheeked Warbler, Whooping Crane and Spectacled Eider, the added vulnerability to climate change may hasten declines or prevent recovery.

• The report identified common bird species such as the American Oystercatcher, Common Nighthawk and Northern Pintail, that are likely to become species of conservation concern as a result of climate change.

"This 2010 report outlines many conservation actions that will be important as biological planning and design of large-scale conservation efforts are advanced," said John Hoskins, Chair of the U.S. NABCI Committee and recently retired Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation. "The proven delivery models exhibited by the Migratory Bird Joint Ventures and the actions outlined in the State Wildlife Action Plans in addition to new partnerships will be important as we tackle the additional threats climate change will place on the birds of our nation."

"While the specific implications of climate change on wildlife, including birds, are uncertain and vary on a regional and state basis, the 2010 State of the Birds Report only emphasizes how important the need is for increased conservation and science-based management," said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. "State fish and wildlife agencies recognize that climate change is a large-scale issue and are working together and with the greater conservation community to develop landscape-scale responses that support managing robust populations and healthy habitats - the best insurance in an uncertain future."

The 2010 State of the Birds Report is the follow-up to a comprehensive report released a year ago showing that that nearly a third of the nation's 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline.

The U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative--which is chaired by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and includes partners from the American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Klamath Bird Observatory, National Audubon Society, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey--produced the report. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinated its development.

For more information visit

Monday, March 8, 2010

Decision Making in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: Adaptive Management for Climate Change

An Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Workshop
2010 North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference
March 22, 2010

Resource managers are often required to make tough decisions, especially when the science is uncertain. However, these decisions must be defensible if called into question. It is often unclear what the full impact of an environmental problem will be and what kind of impacts (both intended and unintended) the solution may have. Adaptation to climate change will be an especially challenging issue for management agencies because decisions will be made, in many cases, based on an incomplete understanding of climate change impacts, particularly at the local level.

Adaptive management and structured decision making are critical tools for making management decisions with incomplete information and high levels of uncertainty. Structured decision making is a decision analysis process that can help overcome challenges by breaking down difficult decisions such that a decision can be acceptable to a broad range of stakeholders. Adaptive management allows decision making to proceed even in the face of profound uncertainty about outcomes by treating management decisions as testable hypotheses.

Recognizing the importance of adaptive management and structured decision making, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Science & Research Committee is developing a series of workshops for state fish and wildlife agencies to provide them with the tools for making decisions in a scientifically defensible manner.

The first workshop at the 2009 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference focused on using adaptive management and structured decision making for invasive species management. For the second workshop, the Science & Research Committee, in collaboration with the Association’s Climate Change Committee, will present how adaptive management and the structured decision making process can be used to address climate change adaptation issues and can also be built into State Wildlife Action Plans revisions, as well as revisions for other plans.

Workshop Presentations:

Introduction to Adaptive Management & Structured Decision Making
Ken Williams (USGS)

Wise Decision Making for Climate Change Adaptation
Jim Nichols (USGS)

Integration of SDM into the State Wildlife Action Plans
TJ Fontaine (USGS)

Integration of Climate Change into Adaptive Management:
Adjustments in North American Waterfowl Harvest Management

Mark Koneff (USFWS)

Climate Change as an Adaptive Management Issue: Terrestrial Songbirds in Southern Appalachian
Mike Conroy (Univ. of GA)

Climate Change Effects within an Aquatic Ecosystem and Social and Economic Costs toward Mitigation in the Yakima River Basin
Alec Maule (USGS-Western Fisheries) & Lynne Koontz (USGS)

Preparing for Changes in Aquatic Resources due to Climate Change in Light of the Uncertainties of Tomorrow
Rolf Olsen (USACE)

A State Perspective: Wisconsin DNR
Jack Sullivan (WI DNR)

Opportunities for State Training
Jay Slack (USFWS) & Ken Williams (USGS)

For more information, contact Dr. Arpita Choudhury, AFWA's Science and Research Liasion at

Friday, February 26, 2010

Teaming With Wildlife Honors Members of Congress for Helping to Keep Wildlife Off the Endangered Species List

Washington, DC (February 24) -- The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Teaming With Wildlife steering committee honored Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and John Thune (SD), and Congressmen Mike Simpson (ID) and John Dingell (MI) for their outstanding leadership to advance wildlife conservation at a Congressional Reception “Celebrating America’s Wildlife” held today to culminate the annual Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In.

The Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In is the most important outreach event on Capitol Hill for the 6,200+ member Teaming With Wildlife Coalition to secure dedicated funding to support on-the-ground conservation action in every state and territory through State Wildlife Action Plans to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

“In the U.S., fish and wildlife are part of the public trust. This means that it is our collective responsibility to take care of them and the places where they live,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “We appreciate these champions on Capitol Hill for their support of important legislation that invests in state fish and wildlife conservation to safeguard imperiled species and their habitats.”

Congressional award recipients were recognized for:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) – for consistent support of increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program and for being a key champion in the Senate to secure funding for natural resource adaptation in comprehensive climate change legislation.

Senator John Thune (SD) – for consistent support of increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program and for being an original co-sponsor of the Teaming With Wildlife Act.

Congressman Mike Simpson (ID) – for his leadership in supporting funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program as the ranking member of the Interior Appropriations subcommittee.

Congressman John Dingell (MI) – for consistent support of funding through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program and for being a key proponent of natural resource adaptation funding in climate change legislation.

“Working in Congress can be a thankless job, but the wildlife community is grateful for those members who demonstrate leadership in helping states and their partners safeguard wildlife by supporting the implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans,” said Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director. “Even in these difficult financial times, we need to ensure wildlife and vital habitats are conserved for future generations. This goal can go hand-in-hand with job creation and economic sustainability.”

At the “Celebrating America’s Wildlife” Reception, the Association and the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition also presented awards to two partners and a state fish and wildlife agency for their significant efforts to protect critical fish and wildlife populations.

The Teaming With Wildlife Coalition Member Achievement Award was presented to the Washington Wildlife Federation for adding more than 50 organizations to its coalition and for forging a partnership with the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a coalition organized around habitat acquisition and restoration.

The State Wildlife Action Plan Partnership Award was presented to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension for a growing list of shared projects including their collaboration to integrate data and develop maps to facilitate the use of the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan for regional and local conservation planning; outreach to the public; and for a habitat management guide for private landowners to conserve the New England Cottontail.

This year, Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in participants urged their Members of Congress to sign on to a letter of support for $100 million appropriations for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program; co-sponsor the Teaming With Wildlife Act to provide increased and dedicated funding for wildlife conservation; and support wildlife adaptation funding in climate change legislation.

Despite historical successes in bringing many wildlife species back from the brink of extinction, other species have continued to decline as evidenced by the staggering numbers listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. State hunting and fishing license dollars, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and motorboat fuel taxes have provided the backbone for funding the nation’s state wildlife conservation programs over the past century. However, there has always been a gap in funding for species that are not hunted or fished. State and Tribal Wildlife Grants have provided state fish and wildlife agencies with the resources they critically need to partially fill that gap.

Photo (l-r): Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse; and David Whitehurst, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Resources for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

# # #

Teaming With Wildlife, a national coalition of more than 6,200 conservation organizations and nature-based businesses—including state fish and wildlife agencies, wildlife biologists, hunters and anglers, birdwatchers, hikers and other conservationists—is working to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered by supporting increased state, federal and private funding for wildlife conservation. Found on the web at

Latest Issue of the Association HQ (Highlights Quarterly) Available

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies released its fourth quarter 2009 issue of the Association HQ (Highlights Quarterly), a summary of what the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies accomplished in October, November and December.

Inside, we report on the activities of the 111th Congress relevant to fish and wildlife funding and legislation; delivery of Farm Bill conservation title dollars; the release of Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans and Other Management Plans; outdoor skills and the North American Strategy for Conservation Education; leadership development services and agency effectiveness reviews by the Management Assistance Team; and more.

Read the HQ/4Q

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Selects Ron Regan as Executive Director

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is pleased to announce that Ron Regan has been selected as the Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Regan, currently AFWA’s Acting Executive Director and Resource Director, fills the position vacated in January when Matt Hogan became the Assistant Regional Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Since joining the Association in April 2007, Regan has staffed the Association’s Angler and Boater, Fisheries and Water Resources Policy, Wildlife Resource and Ocean Resource Policy Committees. He has represented state fish and wildlife agencies to help ensure the Reauthorization of the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and secure passage in support of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. Regan is coordinating state interests for the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and he oversees the Management Assistance Team.

Previously, Regan served for more than 25 years working in wildlife management and conservation in the state of Vermont. In 1999, he was appointed Commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department a position he held for four years, and he also served as Director of Operations and Director of Wildlife for that Department.

“As a former state agency director combined with his exemplary performance as AFWA’s Resource Director, Ron understands the significant fish and wildlife management and economic challenges facing the Association’s membership today,” said John Frampton, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “We see a smooth transition and look forward to Ron’s leadership in advancing the Association’s vision of healthy fish and wildlife resources throughout North America, managed by effective, well-funded agencies.”

“I am tremendously grateful for this new leadership opportunity,” said Regan. “State fish and wildlife agencies are on the cutting edge of the foremost fish and wildlife conservation issues of our day, and it will be a privilege to represent their interests at the national level in partnership with federal agencies and the broader conservation community. I look forward to moving the Association forward with the help of a tremendously talented and dedicated professional staff.”