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
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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 http://www.teaming.com/