WILDLIFE

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Wildlife for the 21st Century - USDA Forest Service

WILDLIFEFOR THE 21 ST CENTURY: IIRECOMMENDATIONS TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSHAMERICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARTNERS


AWCPAmerican Wildlife Conservation PartnersESTABLISHED IN 2000May 17, 2005The Honorable George W. BushPresident of the United StatesThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NWWashington, DC 20500Dear President Bush:On behalf of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP), we would liketo congratulate you on your successful re-election and look forward to your continuedleadership to address the conservation challenges of the 21 st century. There are morethan 40 million licensed hunters and anglers that contribute more than $70 billionannually towards the American economy and we, like you, care deeply about theconservation of our natural resources.At the beginning of your presidency, the AWCP presented you a document entitled,Wildlife for the 21 st Century, which highlighted some of the major areas of concernregarding the conservation of our wildlife and natural resources. It also maderecommendations as to ways that these challenges might be addressed and offeredassistance in this regard.Your Administration has made great strides in tackling some of these issues, includingthe Healthy Forests Restoration Act, opening federal public lands to sportsmen, theconservation titles of the 2002 Farm Bill, the announcement on “no net loss” ofwetlands and the early enrollment of acreage under the Conservation Reserve Program(CRP), among others. We are grateful for these efforts and commend you for movingthis important agenda forward. However there are still important tasks ahead in orderto ensure the conservation of our fi sh and wildlife resources and the perpetuation of ouroutdoor heritage.Today, we are proud to present this updated set of recommendations to coincidewith your second term as President, and offer our continued assistance to help securethe future of wildlife in America well into the new century. We appreciate the fi neworking relationship that the AWCP has with your Administration and look forward tocontinued cooperative efforts to help move this new platform of issues forward duringthe next four years.As an avid outdoorsman, you know that hunters are America’s true wildlifeconservationists. On behalf of America’s sportsmen and women, thank you again foryour leadership on these issues of national importance.Sincerely,Jeffrey S. Crane, ChairAmerican Wildlife Conservation PartnersARCHERY TRADE ASSOCIATIONBEAR TRUST INTERNATIONALBOONE AND CROCKETT CLUBBUCKMASTERS AMERICANDEER FOUNDATIONCAMP FIRE CLUB OF AMERICACONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN’SFOUNDATIONCONSERVATION FORCETHE CONSERVATION FUNDDALLAS SAFARI CLUBDELTA WATERFOWL FOUNDATIONDUCKS UNLIMITEDFOUNDATION FOR NORTHAMERICAN WILD SHEEPHOUSTON SAFARI CLUBINTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONOF FISH & WILDLIFE AGENCIESINTERNATIONAL HUNTEREDUCATION ASSOCIATIONIZAAK WALTON LEAGUE OFAMERICAMULE DEER FOUNDATIONNATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATIONOF AMERICANATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTSFOUNDATIONNATIONAL TRAPPERSASSOCIATIONNATIONAL WILD TURKEYFEDERATIONNORTH AMERICAN BEARFOUNDATIONNORTH AMERICAN GROUSEPARTNERSHIPPHEASANTS FOREVERPOPE AND YOUNG CLUBQUAIL UNLIMITEDQUALITY DEER MANAGEMENTASSOCIATIONROCKY MOUNTAIN ELKFOUNDATIONRUFFED GROUSE SOCIETYSAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONALSAND COUNTY FOUNDATIONSHIKAR SAFARI CLUBTEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATIONTHEODORE ROOSEVELTCONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPUNITED STATES SPORTSMEN’SALLIANCEWHITETAILS UNLIMITEDWILDLIFE FOREVERWILDLIFE HABITAT COUNCILWILDLIFE MANAGEMENTINSTITUTETHE WILDLIFE SOCIETY


RECOMMENDATIONS TO THEPRESIDENT FROM THE AMERICANWILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARTNERSARCHERY TRADE ASSOCIATIONBEAR TRUST INTERNATIONALBOONE AND CROCKETT CLUBBUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATIONCAMP FIRE CLUB OF AMERICACONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN’S FOUNDATIONCONSERVATION FORCETHE CONSERVATION FUNDDALLAS SAFARI CLUBDELTA WATERFOWL FOUNDATIONDUCKS UNLIMITEDFOUNDATION FOR NORTH AMERICAN WILD SHEEPHOUSTON SAFARI CLUBINTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FISH & WILDLIFE AGENCIESINTERNATIONAL HUNTER EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONIZAAK WALTON LEAGUE OF AMERICAMULE DEER FOUNDATIONNATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICANATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATIONNATIONAL TRAPPERS ASSOCIATIONNATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATIONNORTH AMERICAN BEAR FOUNDATIONNORTH AMERICAN GROUSE PARTNERSHIPPHEASANTS FOREVERPOPE AND YOUNG CLUBQUAIL UNLIMITEDQUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATIONRUFFED GROUSE SOCIETYSAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONALSAND COUNTY FOUNDATIONSHIKAR SAFARI CLUBTEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATIONTHEODORE ROOSEVELT CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPUNITED STATES SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCEWHITETAILS UNLIMITEDWILDLIFE FOREVERWILDLIFE HABITAT COUNCILWILDLIFE MANAGEMENT INSTITUTETHE WILDLIFE SOCIETYEDITORSDan DesseckerRUFFED GROUSE SOCIETYSteve MealeyBOONE AND CROCKETT CLUBAMERICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARTNERSc/o Boone and Crockett Club ■ 250 Station DriveMissoula, Montana 59801 ■ (406)542-1888MAY 2005PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTH AMERICAN GROUSE PARTNERSHIP


AMERICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARTNERSVISION FOR THE FUTUREWe Envision:A future in which all wildlife and private and public habitats are abundant,maintained, and enhanced;A future in which hunting, trapping, and other outdoor interests are supportedby the public to maintain America’s great wildlife conservation heritage andcultural traditions;A future in which natural resource policies encourage, empower, and rewardstewardship and responsible use;And a future in which all people are committed to principles of scientific wildlifemanagement, where wildlife is held in public trust, and where the use of resourcesis shared equitably and sustained for present and future generations.PHOTO BY HENRY ZEMAN/NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION4


TABLE OF CONTENTSAWCP VISION FOR THE FUTURE ......................................................................................... 4FOREWORD .................................................................................................................................... 7RECOMMENDATIONS■ Ensure Effective Natural Resource Leadership ............................................................................................ 8■ Utilize Comparative Ecological Risk Assessments in Land Management Decisions ........................................... 9■ Fully Incorporate the Conservation of Wildlife and Other Natural Resources Into Energy Development ............. 10■ Support Wildlife Conservation Provisions in the 2007 Farm Bill ................................................................ 11■ Reaffirm State Authority and Responsibility and Secure Assured State Funding for Wildlife Management ........ 12■ Create Incentives and Remove Disincentives for Wildlife Conservation on Private Land ................................. 13■ Promote Hunting and Recreational Shooting on Federal Lands ................................................................... 14■ Maintain and Restore Forest and Rangeland Habitats Through Proactive Public Land Management .................. 15■ Establish Federal Budget Priorities That Will Restore Wildlife Funding to the 1980 Level .............................. 16■ Coordinate Efforts to Address the Threats from Invasive Species ................................................................ 17■ Emphasize Cooperative National Forest Decision Making ........................................................................... 18■ Establish a Nationwide Strategy to Sustain Wildlife Health ....................................................................... 195


It is not the critic who counts: not theman who points out how the strong manstumbles or where the doerMan in the Arena of deeds could have donebetter. The credit belongs tothe man who is actually in the arena, whoseface is marred by dust and sweat and blood,who strives valiantly, who errs and comesup short again and again, because there isno effort without error or shortcoming,but who knows the great enthusiasms,the great devotions, who spendshimself for a worthy cause; who, atthe best, knows, in the end, thetriumph of high achievement, andwho, at the worst, if he fails, at leasthe fails while daring greatly, so thathis place shall never be with thosecold and timid souls who knewneither victory nor defeat.Theodore Roosevelt“Citizenship in a Republic”Paris - 1910PHOTO COURTESY OF BOONE AND CROCKETT CLUB ARCHIVES6


FOREWORDIn August 2000, America’s leading wildlifeconservation organizations gathered asguests of the Boone and Crockett Club inMissoula, Montana. These dedicated hunter/conservationists met for one purpose: Toidentify how best to work collectively to help chart the course for the future of wildlifeconservation in the United States.The American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) evolved from this initialgathering. AWCP is not an organization per se; rather, it is a consortium of 40organizations, representing over 6 million individual members. AWCP is designed tofacilitate communication within the wildlife conservation community and betweenour community and elected and appointed officials and policySTEERING COMMITTEEmakers at the federal level.We are encouraged by the many successes made possible through thecooperation of dedicated conservationists within the private and publicsectors. Still, the future of wildlife conservation and our huntingheritage faces many challenges.The recommendations offered here in Wildlife for the 21st Century: IIrepresent a general agreement of the partners and are, in our judgment,necessary to help ensure the continued success of wildlife and wildlifemanagement in America. While unity is a goal of the partners, eachreserves the right to establish independent positions on any issue. Inaddition, not all partners necessarily support each and every position orrecommendation. Together, we stand ready to help secure the future forwildlife into the 21st Century.ARCHERY TRADE ASSOCIATIONJay McAninchCAMP FIRE CLUB OF AMERICALen VallendarCONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN’S FOUNDATIONJeff CraneDUCKS UNLIMITEDAlan WentzINTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OFFISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCIESJohn BaughmanIZAAK WALTON LEAGUE OF AMERICATom SadlerNATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTSFOUNDATIONJodi ValentaNATIONAL WILD TURKEYFEDERATIONRobert AbernathyNORTH AMERICAN GROUSE PARTNERSHIPJim MosherPHEASANTS FOREVERHoward VincentSAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONALMerle ShepherdTEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATIONKirby BrownTHE WILDLIFE SOCIETYTom FranklinPHOTO COURTESY OF RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY7


ENSURE EFFECTIVENATURAL RESOURCELEADERSHIPThe Administration shouldendorse and support aNational ConservationLeadership Institute to helpfill the demand for exceptionalleaders in natural resourceconservation for the 21stCentury. This support couldinclude the establishment ofPresidential ConservationFellowships to identify someof the participants for Institutetraining programs. TheAdministration should supportfull funding for the USGeological Survey CooperativeFish and Wildlife ResearchUnit program.Exceptional leadership was a common elementof the most significant natural resourceconservation achievements of the pastcentury. The Nation now faces many complexconservation issues as resource professionalsmust work to balance the sustainable use ofnatural resources, societal and economic needs, and environmental protections. At thesame time, as the “baby boomers” move through America’s workforce, it is estimatedthat federal and state natural resource agencies and private conservation organizationswill lose over 75 percent of top- and mid-level management in the next decade. Thisunprecedented loss of experienced leaders will complicateRECOMMENDATION efforts to meet future resource management challenges.Addressing this loss of well-rounded, trained professionals is exacerbated bychanging societal demographics leading to a population that is becomingincreasingly urban and, therefore, less connected to natural systems.University curricula in wildlife management and related disciplines willneed to adapt to these demographic changes. Institutions such as theCooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units will become increasinglyimportant as vehicles to provide undergraduate and graduate students witha thorough understanding of, and appreciation for the roles of huntingand active resource management in wildlife conservation prior to theirentry into the profession. In addition, current resource professionals withdemonstrated leadership potential should receive training to enhance theirskills in communication, personnel management and conflict resolution,as well as their understanding of natural resource conditions, the NorthAmerican model of conservation and America’s outdoor heritage. ■PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE8


The uncoordinated and sometimes conflictingweb of federal land laws, regulations, and policiescan confound efforts to protect wildlife andrestore degraded habitats. In addition, volumesof case law have evolved, further complicatingdecision-making processes intended to addresspressing conservation needs.UTILIZE COMPARATIVEECOLOGICAL RISKASSESSMENTS INLAND MANAGEMENTDECISIONSRecent legislative and administrative directives,including the Healthy Forests Restoration Actof 2003, have identified the importance of weighing short-term risks against the long-termbenefits of proposed resource management projects and of determining the long-termeffects of agency inaction when the need for action is indicated. These directives are aresult of a growing understanding that precluding management actions, in an effort toeliminate short-term risk to imperiled resources, can in some cases increase the long-termrisk to these same resources and others as well.Regardless of these directives, there is little evidence thatfederal management or regulatory agencies routinely completerigorous comparative ecological risk assessments comparing the shortandlong-term risks and benefits of proposed actions, with the short- andlong-term risks and benefits of their absence, especially as part of theEndangered Species Act Section 7 consultation process. In the absenceof such assessments, decisions commonly are made to avoid any effectsthat may be harmful in the short-term. A common result is that manyprojects with substantial long-term benefit are abandoned, placingimportant wildlife habitats and associated wildlife at increased risk in thelong-term. The apparent increasing reliance of federal agencies on the“precautionary principle” as guidance for decision making is often cited asthe main reason for this unfortunate situation.RECOMMENDATIONThe utilization of comparative ecological risk assessments would enablefederal agencies to more effectively integrate multiple conservation priorities into resourcemanagement decisions. These comparative assessments would ensure that wildlife, theirhabitats and other ecological conditions are appropriately considered in the contexts of bothspace and time. ■The Administration shouldcomplete an assessment ofanalysis tools and processesbest suited for conductingcomparative ecological riskassessments. These toolsand processes should be fullyincorporated into federalland management decisions,especially those related toESA Section 7 consultations.PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION9


FULLY INCORPORATETHE CONSERVATIONOF WILDLIFE ANDOTHER NATURALRESOURCESINTO ENERGYDEVELOPMENTThe extensive and intensive development of energyresources including oil and gas, wind power, andcoal production can affect both wildlife habitatsand populations. The degree and longevity ofthese effects vary by project type, location, and thephase thereof (installation vs. operation). Whilelaws and policies require a balance between wildlifeconservation and energy development, the scopeand pace of actual development in many areas hasbegun to threaten this balance. Landscape-levelevaluation is needed to assess the implications ofthis pace and scale of development.RECOMMENDATIONThe Administration should reaffirmthat federal agencies are legallyobligated to balance natural resourcestewardship with energy developmentin each project-level decision.Wildlife conservation strategies andthe necessary funding to implementthese strategies should be incorporatedinto legislation that articulatesAmerica’s National Energy Policy.On public lands in the West, landscape-levelassessments of wildliferesources and potential cumulativeeffects of current and projected developmentshould be done as part of ResourceManagement Plan and ForestPlan processes. Substantive publicinvolvement should be a foundationof energy development projects onpublic lands. Project implementationand reclamation procedures shouldbe guided by adaptive environmentalmanagement processes that includemonitoring protocols and potentialmeasures to mitigate or modify proceduresto sustain important wildlifehabitats as project effects becomemore evident through time.Federal agency management plans that are to provide new strategiesin areas where development already has exceeded projections aredelayed, yet new decisions and leasing continue. Subsequent to thedecision to not list the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act,additional intensive gas development has been proposed for importantsage grouse habitats. Long term implications of inadequate assessmentsin the West include the potential for additional Endangered Species Actlistings and reductions in important herds of mule deer and pronghornantelope, which would in turn reduce opportunities for hunting andother forms of outdoor recreation.In the coal fields of the eastern United States, which occur primarilyon private lands, problems on many sites reclaimed in the pastinclude extreme soil compaction, acidic drainage and invasive plantspecies. Wind power projects are becoming more common acrossthe nation and additional projects are being proposed that couldsignificantly affect already imperiled species such as prairie chickens,as well as other resident and migratory wildlife.Significant revenues will be realized from energy development onpublic lands, yet there is no assurance that a significant proportion ofthese revenues will be reinvested in the conservation of these lands.State resource agencies have inadequate staff or funds to thoroughlyreview energy development project proposals or monitor the effects ofongoing projects. ■PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE10


In 1985, Congress created the ConservationReserve Program (CRP) as a part of the federalFarm Bill. CRP offers farmers and ranchersannual payments on 10 – 15 year contracts.Participants must establish appropriate grass,shrub, and/or tree cover on environmentallysensitive lands enrolled.SUPPORT WILDLIFECONSERVATIONPROVISIONS IN THE2007 FARM BILLCRP projects strengthen rural economies, help prevent soil erosion and enhance waterquality, and establish important habitats for fish and wildlife. Today, there are nearly40 million acres enrolled in CRP and this program is widelyviewed as one of the nation’s most successful natural resourceconservation initiatives.The 1990, 1996 and 2002 Farm Bills have subsequently recognizedwildlife habitat as a co-equal objective with the other benefits ofconservation programs. The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) offerslandowners options to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands andassociated uplands. WRP has thus far improved wildlife habitat onmore than 400,000 acres of marginal farmland, while at the same timeimproving water quality and reducing the risk of flooding. In addition,the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, (WHIP), Grasslands ReserveProgram (GRP), Conservation Security Program (CSP), EnvironmentalQuality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Forest Land EnhancementProgram (FLEP) have been added to the Conservation Title of the FarmBill to compliment the proven benefits of CRP and WRP.Combined, these voluntary conservation programs have become verysuccessful in promoting wildlife conservation on private lands and enjoybroad public support. They provide income support for the landownerand public benefits in the form of wildlife habitat, reduced soil erosion,improved water and air quality, and additional public open space. Theseconservation programs offer tremendous potential to create lands open topublic access for hunting, fishing, and otheroutdoor recreationThe current Farm Bill conservation programsexpire in 2007. The reauthorizationscheduled for 2007 providessubstantial opportunities to expandconservation provisions to furtherincrease the resource benefitsthat have accrued to date. ■RECOMMENDATIONThe Administrationshould enhance existingconservation provisions inthe 2007 Farm Bill; restorethe CRP acreage cap to 45million acres, establish a 5million acre cap for WRPand GRP and prioritize landsthat support native grasslandand shrubland habitats,increase WHIP and FLEPfunding from 2002 Farm Billlevels, and ensure that EQIPand CSP provide annualfinancial incentive payments,cost share assistance, andtechnical assistance forworking lands that maintainand enhance wildlifehabitats. In addition, theAdministration shouldsupport federal funding forstate- and tribal-sponsoredaccess programs to enhancepublic access to private landsfor hunting and fishing.PHOTO COURTESY OF ROGER HILL/PHEASANTS FOREVER11


REAFFIRM STATEAUTHORITY ANDRESPONSIBILITY ANDSECURE ASSUREDSTATE FUNDINGFOR WILDLIFEMANAGEMENTEfforts by conservationists at the turn ofthe 19th century paved the way for statelaws vesting authority in state agencies tomanage fish and resident wildlife on alllands within state boundaries. State fishand wildlife agencies perform a variety ofcritical tasks, including the establishmentand enforcement of hunting and fishingregulations, inventory and monitoring of fishand wildlife populations, public educationand information, management of designatedwildlife habitat areas, and biological research.State fish and wildlife agencies have beenexceptionally effective in fulfilling their wide-ranging responsibilities.RECOMMENDATIONThe Administration shouldadopt a policy that wouldrequire all federal agenciesto defer, as a general rule, tothe authority of the statesin fish and resident wildlifematters. The Administrationshould direct agency heads toreview discretionary NationalEnvironmental Policy Actprocesses and eliminatethose that unnecessarilylimit state wildlifemanagement programs.The Administration shouldaffirm its commitment tothe clear Congressionalintent of the EndangeredSpecies Act by ensuring fullstate-federal cooperationin its implementation. TheAdministration shouldsupport Congressional effortsto secure dedicated andassured funding for state fishand wildlife conservationprograms.Congress has consistently deferred to state authority in theregulation of fish and resident wildlife, preempting sole stateauthority and establishing concurrent state-federal jurisdiction onlywhen necessary to satisfy the purpose of the Endangered Species Actor other federal legislation. Unfortunately, the authority of states toprotect and manage fish and resident wildlife within their respectiveborders is being eroded by federal agency decisions expandingNational Environmental Policy Act requirements regarding the useof Pittman-Robertson wildlife restoration funds.In recent years there has been increasing pressure for stateagencies to take on a greater role in conserving all wildlife species,particularly those that are imperiled or at risk of becoming so. Sincemost states provide little or no general fund support for wildlife,there is a growing need for increased state government financialsupport for these programs.Recent Congressional efforts to secure assured funding dedicated tostate-based fish and wildlife conservation, education and recreationprograms made progress but failed to pass. While these efforts raisedthe profile of the demonstrated financial need and resulted in annualappropriations through State Wildlife Grants, only assured fundingcan provide the certainty, consistency and longevity to carry out successfulprograms to allow state fish and wildlifeagencies to conserve imperiled wildlife and tokeep common species common. ■PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF DAVIS/WHITETAILS UNLIMITED12


CREATE INCENTIVESAND REMOVEDISINCENTIVESFOR WILDLIFECONSERVATION ONPRIVATE LANDCurrent long-term investment strategies and taxlaws are not conducive to stable ownership ofwild lands through time and across generations.Current tax laws, particularly the FederalEstate Tax, are a primary cause of ownershipfragmentation, which commonly leads to habitatfragmentation and loss – serious threats towildlife in America today. Debt is the primaryreason given by private property owners,particularly those in agriculture, for sellingparcels of their land. A significant contributingfactor to debt load, the one that often breaksthe proverbial camel’s back, is the estate tax at both the federal and state levels. In orderto maintain ownership of any land at all, many families are forced to sell portions oftheir holdings, sacrificing and/or fragmenting wildlife habitats,to meet their financial obligations.RECOMMENDATIONRecent federal emphasis on cooperative public-privatepartnerships has proven effective in promoting wildlife conservationon private lands. Effective on-the-ground delivery of these cooperativeprograms requires adequate funding.Additional incentives to protect and enhance habitats for wildlifeinclude the ability to secure conservation easements and developmentrights for properties with exceptional value to wildlife, tax policies thatreflect the value to society of lands dedicated to habitat conservation,and mitigation credits, among others. Such incentives are most helpfulwhen protecting wild lands from residentialor commercial development whileencouraging continuedhabitat management on thetract in question. ■The Administration shouldsupport the repeal of theFederal Estate Tax andinstitute tax policies toencourage wildlife habitatconservation on privatelands. The Administrationshould promote full fundingfor existing federal programsthat promote resourcestewardship through publicprivatepartnerships. TheAdministration should workcooperatively with state andlocal officials and the privatesector to identify additionalincentive programs thathave proven effective inprotecting wildlife habitatsand encouraging the sciencebasedmanagement thereof.PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION13


PROMOTEHUNTING ANDRECREATIONALSHOOTING ONFEDERAL LANDSHunting and the recreational shootingof firearms and archery equipment areimportant elements of America’s outdoorheritage. Throughout much of the nation,opportunities to engage in these activitiesare dependent upon access to federal publiclands - opportunities that are increasinglyimportant as access to private lands for theseactivities are increasingly constrained. Theseopportunities include access to both landswith a reasonable expectation of encountering abundant game wildlife and sitesavailable for recreational shooting.The hunting and shooting sports community has established Memoranda ofUnderstanding (MOU) with federal land managementRECOMMENDATION agencies to resolve access and other issues related to huntingand recreational shooting opportunities (Sportsmen’s AccessThe Administration should to Federal Public Lands MOU, Public Lands Shooting Sports MOU).provide clear direction to To date, accomplishments under these existing protocols havefederal land management been limited. A more formal framework would help to coordinateagencies, as outlined communication and cooperation with the hunting and shootingin existing Memoranda community and it would substantiate for agencies the priority ofof Understanding, that resolving issues related to access and opportunity for hunters andreinforces the priority shooters. ■of enhancing access andopportunity for huntingand recreational shootingon federal lands. TheAdministration shouldestablish a framework tocoordinate communicationand cooperation with thehunting and shootingcommunity.PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE14


Forest health is vital to all values associatedwith forests, especially wildlife. Control ofwildfire in the West has resulted in many agingand stagnated forests that are becoming moresusceptible to large, uncharacteristic wildfire,insects, and diseases.MAINTAIN ANDRESTORE FORESTAND RANGELANDHABITATS THROUGHPROACTIVE PUBLICLAND MANAGEMENTDespite progress in its restoration, much rangeland(especially old-age shrubland) remains at riskof uncharacteristic wildfire and deterioratingecological condition. Excessive livestock grazingand drought, coupled with decreased use ofherbicides and increased risk of large and intense shrubland wildfire, can impede rangeimprovement. Expansion of annual exotic grasses such as cheat grass, and weeds such asspotted knapweed on both summer and winter ranges is a particularly great challenge.Growth and development projects that do not adequately consider wildlife can also encroachon important rangeland habitats.Eastern deciduous forests are largely middle aged; few very youngor very old forests exist in the region. This lack of diversity negativelyaffects wildlife and renders these forests susceptible to insects and diseases.On national forests throughout much of the South and the East, habitatmanagement practices such as timber harvest to diversify wildlife habitats andthe maintenance of openings have substantially decreased over the past 10-15years. Unfortunately, the US Forest Service at times has failed to aggressivelyrespond to legal challenges to broadly supported management activities thatenhance wildlife habitat by removing mature trees to establish young forests.The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 and the December 2004improvements to regulations guiding land and resource managementplanning on national forests provide opportunities to help ensure the timelyimplementation of management projects designed to enhance forest andrangeland health and wildlife habitat diversity. Federal land managementagencies should capitalizeon these opportunitiesand those providedby other changesto administrativeprocedures. ■RECOMMENDATIONThe Administration shouldcontinue to place a highpriority on the restoration ofat-risk forest and rangelandecosystems on federal publiclands. Wildlife habitatenhancement objectivesshould be incorporated intorestoration efforts and otherprojects and agency fundingrecommendations shouldsupport those objectives.The Department of Justiceand the Forest Service shouldbe directed to aggressivelydefend project proposalsthat are consistent withmanagement plan objectivesagainst legal challenges.PHOTO COURTESY OF RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY15


ESTABLISH FEDERALBUDGET PRIORITIESTHAT WILL RESTOREWILDLIFE FUNDINGTO THE 1980 LEVELAfter a decade or more of increased funding fornatural resources and environmental programsthat followed passage of the 1972 Clean WaterAct, Function 300 (Natural Resources andEnvironment) of the federal budget took anose-dive. Funding has not recovered from thedrop that occurred primarily between 1980 and1984. Federal funding for natural resourcesand environment, as a proportion of totalfederal funding, is now well below the 1980level. Ongoing efforts such as the Public Lands Funding Initiative and the CooperativeAlliance for Refuge Enhancement have had some success during recent budget cycles atincreasing authorizations and appropriations for public lands and wildlife accounts, buthave not reversed the broader downward trend.RECOMMENDATIONThe Administration shouldestablish a budget plan thatwould return Function 300allocations to the 1980 level of2.6% of total federal funding.Agency budgets for natural resource stewardship should reflectthe $70 billion annual economic contribution made by hunters andanglers. This investment in our wildlife resources will continue to paydividends to the American economy and to the quality of life of theAmerican public. ■PHOTO BY GLENN D. CHAMBERS © DUCKS UNLIMITED, INC.16


COORDINATEEFFORTS TOADDRESS THETHREATS FROMINVASIVE SPECIESNoxious weeds, foreign insects, contagious plantdiseases, and predators from other countries arecontinually being introduced into the UnitedStates. These invaders recognize neither publicnor private land borders. Presently, invasivespecies cause nearly $150 billion annually ineconomic damage. These invaders cover nearly150 million acres, in all 50 states, and arespreading at the rate of 1.7 million acres peryear. Natural ecosystems have little defenseagainst this invasion. Native plant life can be reduced or eliminated, wildlife habitatlost, and wildlife displaced as a result of invasive species.While a number of federal programs have been establishedin an attempt to address the issue of invasive species, a morecooperative approach is needed. A nationwide early detection andrapid response system for invasive species must be developed.Currently, the federal interagency National Invasive Species Council(NISC) is charged with the development of a national invasive speciesmanagement plan. However, effective coordination between theCouncil and federal, state, private, and tribal partners is often lackingas indicated by two recent General Accounting Office (GAO) reports. ■RECOMMENDATIONThe Administrationcould issue an ExecutiveOrder directing theNISC to implement therecommendations of therecent GAO reports tomore effectively coordinateinvasive species eradicationand control efforts withfederal, state and tribalresource managementagencies and private groups.PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICES17


EMPHASIZECOOPERATIVENATIONALFOREST DECISIONMAKINGThough controversies over resourcemanagement on public lands continue, a newkind of debate is emerging. In recent years,a growing number of conservation-mindedcitizens have engaged voluntarily in face-to-facenegotiations. These cooperative efforts enableinterested parties to better understand thecomplexity of problems on public lands and theopportunities to solve them. These efforts haveresulted in comprehensive proposals that enjoysubstantial public support. Unfortunately, interests largely unwilling to compromise andbureaucratic hurdles can complicate attempts to implement these proposals.RECOMMENDATIONThe Administration shouldencourage volunteer effortsof interested publics topropose science-based,targeted solutions to publicland management issues.The current Department ofInterior policy of affordingstate agencies “cooperatingagency status” in decisionmakingprocesses should beexpanded to other federalagencies.In states with a considerable federal land base, the ability ofstate wildlife agencies to meet their statutory obligations toconserve resident wildlife is greatly influenced by managementdecisions on these federal lands. Input from state wildlife agencies intoresource management decisions on federal lands is often given little moreconsideration than that from interested publics or is solicited relativelylate in project planning processes. ■PHOTO COURTESY OF HAAS OUTDOORS, INC.18


Healthy wildlife is important to allAmericans and disease issues in wildlife areof growing significance and concern. WestNile virus, chronic wasting disease in deerand elk, brucellosis in elk and bison in theGreater Yellowstone Area, and tuberculosisin white-tailed deer and elk in Michigan arecurrent examples of high profile diseases.Some diseases found in wildlife can threatenwildlife populations, hunting traditions,and local economies, as well as publicESTABLISH ANATIONWIDESTRATEGY TOSUSTAIN WILDLIFEHEALTHhealth, agriculture, and international trade. Additionally, they often transcendadministrative and political boundaries and can place significant financial burdenson state wildlife management agencies.A proactive strategy for managing significant diseases inwildlife is required to address these threats. This strategy shouldprioritize and coordinate disease risk assessments, diagnosticcapabilities, surveillance and research in order to enhance diseaseprevention, detection and response capabilities. ■RECOMMENDATIONThe Administration shoulddevelop and implementa coordinated sciencebasednational wildlifehealth strategy. Partnersin this strategy shouldinclude appropriatefederal agencies, statewildlife management andanimal health agencies,universities, wildlifeconservation organizationsand the animal agriculturalindustry.PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION19


RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PRESIDENTAMERICAN WILDLIFECONSERVATION PARTNERSARCHERY TRADE ASSOCIATIONBEAR TRUST INTERNATIONALBOONE AND CROCKETT CLUBBUCKMASTERS AMERICAN DEER FOUNDATIONCAMP FIRE CLUB OF AMERICACONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN’S FOUNDATIONCONSERVATION FORCETHE CONSERVATION FUNDDALLAS SAFARI CLUBDELTA WATERFOWL FOUNDATIONDUCKS UNLIMITEDFOUNDATION FOR NORTH AMERICAN WILD SHEEPHOUSTON SAFARI CLUBINTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FISH & WILDLIFE AGENCIESINTERNATIONAL HUNTER EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONIZAAK WALTON LEAGUE OF AMERICAMULE DEER FOUNDATIONNATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICANATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATIONNATIONAL TRAPPERS ASSOCIATIONNATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATIONNORTH AMERICAN BEAR FOUNDATIONNORTH AMERICAN GROUSE PARTNERSHIPPHEASANTS FOREVERPOPE AND YOUNG CLUBQUAIL UNLIMITEDQUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATIONRUFFED GROUSE SOCIETYSAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONALSAND COUNTY FOUNDATIONSHIKAR SAFARI CLUBTEXAS WILDLIFE ASSOCIATIONTHEODORE ROOSEVELT CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPUNITED STATES SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCEWHITETAILS UNLIMITEDWILDLIFE FOREVERWILDLIFE HABITAT COUNCILWILDLIFE MANAGEMENT INSTITUTETHE WILDLIFE SOCIETYAMERICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARTNERSc/o Boone and Crockett Club ■ 250 Station Drive ■ Missoula, Montana 59801www.conservationforum.org/wcpWILDLIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: II WAS PUBLISHED BYTHE AMERICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PARTNERSDESIGNED BY JULIE T. HOUKMAY 2005

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