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.”