Friday, August 26, 2011

Joint Committee Meeting to be Held at AFWA's Annual Meeting to Discuss the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

The success of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs and its 75 years of partnership to restore America's fish and wildlife may be the greatest untold conservation story. But, you can help tell the story by celebrating WSFR’s 75th Anniversary with us in 2012.

The Education, Outreach & Diversity Committee of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies invites members of the Angler/Boater and Hunting and Shooting Sports Participation Committees (and anyone interested) to participate in a joint collaborative session to learn more about the timeline and tools available to promote the anniversary as well as to brainstorm ideas for celebrating 75 years of better hunting, fishing and wildlife-related recreation through WSFR. This joint session will lead off the scheduled EOD Committee meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at the Omaha Hilton, Murray Room.

> View the meeting agenda

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports Names Bill Creighton as Its Inaugural CEO

WASHINGTON, DC — The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, a national coalition focused on the recruitment and retention of hunters and shooters, today announced that Bill Creighton has been selected as the recently formed organization’s first chief executive officer.

Mr. Creighton brings more than 25 years of senior executive leadership experience spanning 76 countries at leading global media, Internet and technology companies. He previously served as the president and CEO of Fotoglif where he successfully repositioned and commercialized the Toronto-based start-up company’s digital media business. He also served as managing director of Newscom, vice president of sales and marketing for United Press International and is an award-winning journalist with two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

“Bill’s creative marketing, partnership-building and fundraising expertise, plus his extensive track record of growing new businesses, are exactly what the Council needs to lead the development of a national strategy for sustaining America’s hunting and shooting sports traditions,” said Ron Regan, the Council’s chairman and executive director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “As an avid hunter himself, Bill understands that hunting and shooting are cornerstones of wildlife conservation and an important part of our nation’s history and identity.”

With a 28-member board of directors, the Council unites state fish and wildlife agencies, the hunting, shooting sports and greater conservation communities and the archery and firearms industries to focus on the recruitment and retention of hunters and shooters, the development of shooting facilities and the protection and expansion of access for hunting. In the short-term, the Council is focused on developing a national recruitment and retention strategic plan and a sustainable funding model to support its efforts and those of the state agencies.

“I have seen the very positive impact that hunting and shooting have had on me, my family and my friends and this is my opportunity to share the wonderful gift that is hunting with this and future generations,” said Mr. Creighton. “I am honored and humbled to become a part of the Council and look forward to working together to grow the hunting and shooting communities.”

Mr. Creighton earned a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Charleston (SC). As a journalist, he covered four Olympic Games, the Masters, the Soviet Union collapse, the Middle East conflict, G-8 Summits, the U.S. invasion of Grenada, five U.S. presidents and 15 Space Shuttle launches and earned two Pulitzer Prize nominations for photography. He is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry and was introduced to shooting sports at age nine.

Mr. Creighton begins his tenure as CEO on August 15, 2011. His office will be located in Washington, DC with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

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The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports is a coalition of state fish and wildlife agencies and hunting and shooting-related companies, organizations and associations that have joined together to focus on the recruitment and retention of hunters and shooters, the development of shooting facilities and the protection and expansion of access for hunting. Established in 2010, the Council is a non-profit, 501(c) 3 tax-exempt, educational organization.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Commissioner of the Kentucky Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Resources Testifies before House Subcommittee on White-Nose Syndrome and Bats

Dr. Jon Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, testified on June 24, 2011 before a House Natural Resources Subcommittee concerning the incidence and spread of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bat species, and the development and implementation of a federal-state national response plan.

WNS has devastated populations of several species of hibernating bats since it was first identified in the United States in 2006. State and federal agencies are mobilizing efforts to monitor the disease and hopefully bring it under control.

"During the last several years, my personal involvement with WNS has grown from watching its advance--moving southward and westward--to bearing responsibility in my own state upon confirming WNS in Kentucky this spring," said Gassett. "I am encouraged at the the amount of dedication and commitment by a community of individuals who care deeply about our bat resources. At the same time, I am concerned at the rate of spread, the high suspect ability of certain species and the lack of available treatment options."

Dr. Gassett is the Vice President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Chair of AFWA's WNS Working Group.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Senator Lieberman Introduces the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act to Protect Fish Habitats, Improve Health of Waterways

Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today announced the introduction of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act to significantly advance ongoing efforts to restore and protect fish habitats by establishing the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to treat the causes of fish habitat decline. This legislation would improve the health of America’s waterways and ensure that the United States has robust fish populations well into the future.

“Healthy waterways and robust fish populations are vital to the well-being of our society and are essential in many communities throughout the United States,” said Lieberman. “This bill will help provide clean water and sustainable fisheries in this country and provide recreational value to those who fish, whether it is in wild waters or canoeing through peaceful streams. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this important legislation and reverse the decline of our ailing waterways and fisheries.”

The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act authorizes assistance grants for fish habitat projects that are supported by pre-existing regional Fish Habitat Partnerships. Based on the highly successful North American Wetlands Conservation Act model, the bill establishes a multi-stakeholder National Fish Habitat Board to recommend science-based conservation projects to the Secretary of Interior for assistance. Regional partners will then work to implement those conservation projects to protect, restore and enhance fish habitats and fish populations. 

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mark Udall (D-CO).
The Bill number is S.1201 and should be available soon at

For more information about fish habitat conservation, go to

Friday, May 6, 2011

2011 State of the Birds Report Assesses Bird Conservation on America’s Publicly Owned Lands and Waters

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman released the 2011 State of the Birds Report this week. The third in the series, this year’s State of the Birds report is the first assessment of the status of and tremendous potential for bird conservation on the more than 850 million acres of land and 3.5 million square miles of ocean that are publicly owned in the Unites States. These habitats support more than 800 bird species, one-third of which are endangered, threatened or of conservation concern.

The report highlighted findings especially relevant to state fish and wildlife agencies. These include:
• State wildlife agencies set regulations and provide management recommendations for all of the nation’s 19 native resident game bird including grouse, ptarmigan, turkey and quail. Many native resident game bird species have a high distribution on state lands such as Spruce Grouse (22%) and Montezuma Quail (14%).

• Funding and capacity are two of the greatest challenges limiting state agencies’ efforts to implement priority resident game bird conservation plans at scales that are relevant on public lands.

• Wild turkey restoration is one of the nation’s greatest conservation success stories—in the 1920s, wild turkey populations hovered around 30,000 birds total, today there are more than 7 million wild turkeys largely due to conservation on public lands.

• State wildlife agencies participate in the stewardship of migratory birds with Canada and Mexico to conserve waterfowl through efforts such as the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the Flyway Councils. Through the Southern Wings program, many states participate in bird conservation activities with Latin America and the Caribbean and 10 states have developed their own state-specific initiatives to conserve species such as Greater Prairie-Chicken and Upland Sandpiper.

• State lands are home to more boreal forest (34%), marsh (24%) and grassland (4%), more than any single federal entity.

The report concludes that America’s public lands and waters, ranging from national wildlife refuges to national parks to national forests, offer significant opportunities to halt or reverse the decline of many species. The report provides a scientific tool to help public agencies, including state fish and wildlife agencies, identify the most significant conservation opportunities in each habitat.

The 2011 State of the Birds report is a collaborative effort as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, involving federal and state wildlife agencies, and scientific and conservation organizations. These include the American Bird Conservancy, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Department of Defense, the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The full report is available at

Montezuma Quail photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Monday, April 18, 2011

First-of-its-kind Status of Fish Habitats Report Gives "Fish Eye View" of National Waters

The National Fish Habitat Board today released a first-of-its-kind status of fish habitats in the United States report as envisioned in the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, an effort to protect, restore and enhance our nation’s aquatic habitats. The report titled THROUGH A FISH’S EYE: The Status of Fish Habitats In The United States 2010 summarizes the results of an unprecedented, nationwide assessment of the human effects on fish habitat in the rivers and estuaries of the United States.

THROUGH A FISH’S EYE provides an important picture of the challenges and opportunities facing fish and those engaged in fish habitat conservation efforts. Urbanization, agriculture, dams, culverts, pollution and other human impacts have resulted in specific areas of degraded habitat where restoration is most likely needed to bring back the healthy habitats and fishing opportunities that once existed. Addressing degraded habitat also requires reducing or eliminating the sources of degradation mentioned in this report, through best management practices, land use planning, and engaging landowners, businesses and local communities in the effort.

The assessment detailed in the report assigns watersheds and estuaries a risk of current habitat degradation ranging from very low to very high. These results allow comparisons of aquatic habitats across the nation and within 14 sub-regions. The results also identify some of the major sources of habitat degradation that plague waterways across the nation.

Overall, 27 percent of the miles of stream in the lower 48 states are at high or very high risk of current habitat degradation and 44 percent are at low or very low risk. Twenty-nine percent of stream miles in the lower 48 states are at moderate risk of current habitat degradation.

Fifty-three percent of estuaries (by area) are at high or very high risk of current habitat degradation, while 23 percent of estuaries are at low or very low risk of current habitat degradation. Marine habitats of the United States tend to be most degraded near the coast, where they are most affected by human activity.

The goal of the national assessment was to estimate disturbance levels to fish habitats in rivers and estuaries from information about human activities occurring in the watersheds and the local areas affecting each aquatic habitat. This approach is supported by a large body of scientific research showing that human disturbances to the land transfer to receiving waters and contribute to disturbance in downstream fish habitats in rivers, estuaries, and the ocean.

While the specific analytical approaches used to assess habitats in the lower-48 states, Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. estuaries differed slightly, the end product of each analysis was similar—an estimate of the risk that discrete habitat units will be degraded due to current human activities on the landscape.

“This report identifies areas where those efforts are most needed and points to areas where fish habitat is most likely still intact and should be protected to maintain its value for fish and other aquatic organisms. Resources for fish habitat conservation are limited, especially for the next few years,” said Kelly Hepler, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board.

“Fish Habitat partnerships ensure coordinated work around specific habitat challenges,” said Eric Schwaab, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “This information will help bring strategic focus to conservation efforts and allow rigorous measurement of results.”

“This report clearly illustrates the need for strategic use of existing resources through partnerships that can identify the most effective use of funds and help the nation as a whole make progress in fish habitat conservation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director, Rowan Gould. “There are many major threats to the health of fish habitat and the National Fish Habitat Action plan helps to focus and leverage available funds, pool technical expertise and enlist new partners to address the challenges to fish habitat.”

Key findings from the THROUGH A FISH’S EYE: The Status of Fish Habitats In The United States 2010 include:

Habitats with a very high risk of current habitat degradation include those in or near urban development, livestock grazing, agriculture, point source pollution or areas with high numbers of active mines and dams. Specific locations that stand out as regions at high risk of current habitat degradation include: the urban corridor between Boston and Atlanta; the Central Midwestern states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio; the Mississippi River Basin, including habitats adjacent to the lower Mississippi River in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana; habitats in eastern Texas; and habitats in Central California and along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington.

Areas that stand out as being at very low risk of current habitat degradation include rural areas in New England and the Great Lakes states; many habitats throughout the Mountain, Southwest and Pacific Coast states; and most of Alaska. It should be noted that not all water and land management issues could be addressed in the assessment, so some of the areas mapped as at low risk of current habitat degradation actually may be at higher risk due to disturbance factors not assessed. For example, most arid regions of the western United States were found to be at low risk of current habitat degradation.

Estuaries in the mid-Atlantic have a very high risk of habitat degradation related to polluted run-off and other effects of the intense urbanization and agriculture in this area. The estuaries of Southern California also have a high risk of current habitat degradation for similar reasons. Estuaries in the north Pacific and downeast Maine have a low risk of current habitat degradation.

The release of this report is also accompanied with the release of a map viewer, which offers the maps that are in the report in greater detail. The National Fish Habitat Action Plan map and data web tool ( was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Informatics Program under guidance of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan Science and Data Committee. This tool not only enables users to see multiple views depicting the condition of stream and coastal habitats across the country, but also means that users can access more detailed information at finer scales, as well as the option to download data files and map services.

To read the report in its entirety or download a PDF, visit or go to

Friday, April 15, 2011

The National Conservation Leadership Institute Wants You to Nominate Tomorrow’s Conservation Champions for Cohort 6

April 30 Deadline Approaching to Submit Nominations for the 2011-2012 National Conservation Leadership Institute

Today’s conservation leaders are starting to retire – who will fill their seats? The National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) is calling for state fish and wildlife agencies, federal conservation agencies, Tribes, industry and non-governmental organizations with natural resources to nominate their “rising stars” or individuals with high potential to be considered for acceptance as a Fellow for the 2011-2012 leadership development program.

April 30 is the deadline for submitting a nomination application for the NCLI’s Cohort 6 beginning in September 2011. Applicants must be nominated by their organization's chief executive. To learn more about becoming an NCLI Fellow including application and nomination requirements, tuition costs and scholarship opportunities, go to

The NCLI was created to train tomorrow’s conservation leaders in the latest leadership thinking and practice, and each Fellow will focus on a variety of issues, including a specific leadership challenge from each participant’s own agency or organization. Becoming an NCLI Fellow is a major step in career advancement and contributing to the future of conservation. The NCLI is suited for the highest-potential, future leaders.

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The Management Assistance Team (MAT) is the Association's most unique and diverse program. Located at the National Conservation Training Center, MAT is a consulting and training resource for all 50 of the United States’ fish and wildlife agencies. MAT is responsible for program development and administration of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AFWA Now Accepting Letters of Intent for 2012 Multistate Conservation Grant Program Cycle

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is now accepting Letters of Intent for the 2012 funding cycle of the Multistate Conservation Grant Program (MSCGP). Up to $6 million dollars is available each calendar year for projects that address regional- or national-level priorities of the state fish and wildlife agencies.

Letters of Intent must address one the six 2012 MSCGP National Conservation Needs:

Subject 1: Improve benefits for fish, wildlife and their habitats as provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill are implemented

Subject 2: Outdoor heritage - participation, recruitment and retention in hunting, fishing, boating and conservation-related recreational activities

Subject 3: Incorporating fish and wildlife considerations into energy development decisions

Subject 4: State Fish and Wildlife Agency Coordination and Administration

Subject 5: Formation and Operations of Fish Habitat Partnerships to Facilitate National Fish Habitat Action Plan Implementation

Subject 6: Multistate Conservation Grant Program Coordination

Letters of Intent are due to the MSCGP Coordinator, Chad Klinkenborg, by Wednesday, May 4, 2011. No federal forms are required for Letters of Intent. The Association’s National Grants Committee will reconvene at the end of May to review and select the most competitive Letters of Intent to invite to submit full grant proposals. Grants are awarded on a calendar-year basis for one, two or three years to eligible recipients.

Please read the full RFP for details or contact the MSCGP Coordinator, Chad Klinkenborg, at

2012 MSCGP Request for Letters of Intent

2012 Selected MSCGP National Conservation Needs

Schedule for the 2012 MSCGP Cycle

Learn more about the MSCGP

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

AFWA Releases its 2010 Annual Report, Names Winner of the “Land the Cover” Photo Contest

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies has released its 2010 Annual Report featuring the winning “Land the Cover” contest image, Bob’s Ram, submitted by Bob Grier of NEBRASKAland Magazine.

The 2010 Annual Report represents the views and voices of fish and wildlife agencies as they stand on the frontlines of conservation as stewards for North America’s fish and wildlife and the public’s trust. The report also highlights the outstanding participation of state, provincial, territorial and federal agencies as well as the greater conservation community and sportsmen industries in collaborating to realize the year’s accomplishments.

In 2010, the Association focused on these issues and outcomes:
• Protecting conservation authority through Congressional legislation and international representation;

• Securing conservation funding through the Farm Bill and State and Tribal Wildlife Grants;

• Coordinating science-based conservation on species-based programs and cross-cutting concerns;

• Connecting youth to conservation and enhancing relationships between agencies and the archery, hunting, shooting sports, boating and sportfishing industries through the Industry/Agency Coalition and the new Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports;

• Fostering conservation leadership; and

• Recognizing the recipients of AFWA’s 2010 Annual Awards.

In addition, the report features stunning photography contributed by individuals from state fish and wildlife agencies and regional associations. Jesse Lee Varnado from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks was the “Land the Cover” Contest Runner-up and George Andrejko of Arizona Game and Fish Department was the President’s Choice Award winner for Best Gray Squirrel photo. An Honorable Mention goes to Larry Kruckenberg of the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

Click here to download a PDF copy of AFWA's 2010 Annual Report

To order print copies of the report, contact Laura MacLean at

AFWA Names New Vice Chair and Adds Three Members to its Executive Committee

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ Executive Committee named Dan Forster, Director of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, as the new Vice Chair of its Executive Committee. Forster’s appointment is one of several Executive Committee actions that took place last week at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. Forster previously served as an Executive Committee member.

Upon the recommendations of AFWA’s Nominating Committee, the Executive Committee named Carter Smith, Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Nick Wiley, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee, as voting members. The Executive Committee also re-elected Ken Mayer, Acting Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, to the committee.

AFWA Officers & Executive Committee

President: Curtis Taylor, WV DNR
Vice President: Jon Gassett, KY DFWR
Secretary/Treasurer: Dave Chanda, NJ DFW
Past President: John Frampton, SC DNR

Chair: Jeff Vonk, SD GFPD
Vice Chair: Dan Forster, GA WRD

Wayne MacCallum, MA DFW
Ken Mayer, NV DOW
Paul Peditto, MD DNR
Carter Smith, TX PWD
Larry Voyles, AZ GFD
Nick Wiley, FL FWCC

Canada: Mike Sullivan, NB DNRE
Midwest: Patricia Boddy, IA DNR
Northeast: Glenn Normandeau, NH GFD
Southeast: Bob Duncan, VA DGIF
Western: Joe Maurier, MT DFWP

Thursday, March 3, 2011

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

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Teaming With Wildlife steering committee honored Senators Patrick J. Leahy (VT) and Mike Crapo (ID) and Congressmen Jim Moran (VA) and Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ) last night for their outstanding leadership to advance wildlife conservation at a Congressional Reception “Celebrating Champions of Wildlife & the Environment” held to culminate the 10th Annual Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In.

The Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In is the most important outreach event on Capitol Hill for the 6,300+ member Teaming With Wildlife Coalition to secure dedicated funding to support on-the-ground conservation action in every state and territory to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered through State Wildlife Action Plans.

“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 Patrick J. Leahy (VT) – his consistent support of increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.

Senator Mike Crapo (ID) – his consistent support of increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.

Congressman Jim Moran (VA) – his consistent support of increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.

Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ) – his consistent support of funding through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program and his leadership in co-leading a Dear Colleague letter in support of increased funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.

“These are difficult fiscal times but this investment in fish and wildlife will help save taxpayer dollars in the future by preventing endangered species,” said Mark Humpert, Teaming With Wildlife Director. “The goal of preventing endangered species listings goes hand-in-hand with job creation and economic sustainability.”

At the “Celebrating Champions of Wildlife & the Environment” Reception, the Association and the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition also presented awards to two partners for their significant efforts to protect critical fish and wildlife populations.

The Teaming With Wildlife Coalition Member Achievement Award was presented to the Texas Teaming With Wildlife Coalition for supporting the Texas Wildlife Action Plan through a scholarship program to support legislative advocacy that was successful in garnering support in the US Congress for the State & Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.

The State Wildlife Action Plan Partnership Award was presented to the Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Conservation for their collaboration to lead the Missouri Teaming With Wildlife Coalition and implement the Missouri Wildlife Action Plan by managing the Missouri Mini-Grants Program.

This year, Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in participants urged their Members of Congress to help ensure there is sufficient funding in the FY11 and FY12 budgets. HR1 passed by the House of Representatives would eliminate funding for the program in FY11.

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 Wildlife Grants have provided state fish and wildlife agencies with the resources they critically need to partially fill that gap.

For more information about Teaming With Wildlife, visit

Friday, February 18, 2011

AFWA Joins Sportsmen and Conservation Community in Appeals to House Members for Proportional Budget Cuts

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies joined with 31 organizations in the hunting, angling and conservation community to urgently appeal to U.S. House Members for fair and proportional cuts to conservation funding proposed in House Continuing Resolution for FY11 (HR1). The CR proposes, among other cuts, to zero-fund the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants programs, which are vital to helping state fish and wildlife agencies meet their conservation objectives. Other programs such as Farm Bill Conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, Forest Legacy and the National Fish Habitat Action Plan would be severely reduced or eliminated.

While the CR cuts spending to many programs valued by Americans, zero-funding fish and wildlife conservation programs is disproportionate to cuts endured by most other programs, and the deep cuts are magnified because these are matching grant programs where state and NGO partner dollars are leveraged with federal dollars to put more conservation on the ground.

The letter to Representatives states:
We, the hunting, fishing and conservation community, are writing you with great urgency to ensure that you understand that various provisions of HR 1 and several amendments to that bill strike directly at America’s longstanding tradition of federal support for conservation and management of fish, wildlife and their habitat. Among these are the elimination of funding for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, the elimination of funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, significant cuts to Farm Bill Conservation Programs, the drastic reduction or elimination of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Forest Legacy, the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, and the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, and the elimination of federal funding for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

While we fully acknowledge that conservation programs should shoulder a fair and proportional burden of reductions to the Federal budget as required to address the budget deficit, these provisions of HR 1, in our view, represent a deliberate move away from America’s long conservation tradition and, specifically with respect to the interests of the hunting, fishing and outdoor community. We are very disappointed that the Congress would consider these actions without consultation with the hunting, fishing and conservation community. These vital programs with long-standing track records of success are foundational to fish, wildlife and habitat conservation, good for the economy in creating jobs particularly in rural communities, and critical to providing opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women.

We urge that before acting on HR 1, you alter the deep cuts cited above to reflect a proportional share of the budget reductions you are seeking. Thank you for your sincere consideration of our views.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Intergovernmental Executive Committee Convenes To Lead International White-Nose Syndrome Response

Members of a new intergovernmental executive committee tasked with implementation of the white-nose syndrome (WNS) national plan met in late December to discuss the coordinated national response to this deadly wildlife disease. WNS has killed more than one million bats in the Northeast, and has spread rapidly across the United States and into Canada since its discovery in 2007.

The White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee will provide oversight across participating state and federal agencies and tribal governments to ensure consistency and coordination in management action, policy interpretation, communication, and collection of scientific information related to WNS.

Co-chaired by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), the committee also includes representatives from five Native American tribes, four states, and six federal agencies in addition to the Service: U.S. Geologic Survey, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Department of Defense. The committee will also include representatives from federal wildlife management agencies in Canada and Mexico.

“The Committee will provide the cooperative leadership necessary for the implementation of the national plan, and an opportunity to build on the science and work that has been ongoing since discovery of WNS,” said Dr. Jon Gassett, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and AFWA co-chair of the WNS Executive Committee.

“The cooperative response to this unprecedented wildlife disease has been tremendous,” said Marvin Moriarty, executive committee co-chair and Northeast Regional Director for the Service. “But as WNS continues to spread, the work of this team to ensure we are working closely to leave no stone unturned will be critical to conserving North American bat species.”

The committee’s work to implement the national plan will include:
  • Guiding cooperative intergovernmental leadership in response to WNS,
  • Providing oversight across participating agencies and organizations to ensure consistency in management, science, policy decisions, and funding,
  • Addressing need for intra-organizational resources, and
  • Ensuring exceptional scientific and technical expert representation in WNS organizational structure.

The national plan, which was open for public comment from October 27, 2010 through December 26, 2010, will be finalized in early 2011. For more information, visit

Source: USFWS;