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 www.teaming.com.