Important Legislation for Sportsmen Needs Your Support!

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance is urging hunters and anglers across the country to voice their support for important legislation being considered in the nation’s capital. Senators Kay Hagan and Lisa Murkowski’s Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S. 2363) is scheduled to reach the floor of the Senate next week immediately after the Independence Day recess. This critical legislation is comprised of several pro-sportsmen bills supported by the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance that will help maintain and support American hunting and fishing traditions for decades to come.

This package of the pro-sportsmen bills include the following important conservation measures:
-Guarantee that a percentage of Land and Water Conservation Fund spending would go towards improving sportsmen’s access to public lands.
-Allow proceeds from the sale of some federal public lands to be directed towards critical conservation priorities on other public lands.
-Protect and restore important wetlands by funding grants that incentivize conservation partnerships.

The package also includes the following pro-sportsmen regulatory reforms:
-Allow the Secretary of the Interior to issue electronic federal duck stamps.
-Protect traditional hunting ammunition and fishing tackle.
-Allow states to use Pittman-Robertson funds to establish public shooting ranges.
-Clarify the right of Americans to practice hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on public lands.

Individually, these bills represent important stand-alone pieces of sportsmen-friendly legislation. Together, they are part of a total sportsmen’s package that will help maintain our hunting and angling traditions for generations to come. These bills will increase access to public lands, provide more opportunities for recreational shooting, and fund important wildlife conservation programs.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 needs the support of the hunting and angling community in order to be passed in the U.S. Senate! Time is running out before the August recess and the Senate will move on this bill this week. Contact both of your senators and ask them to pass S.2363, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014.

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Sportsmen’s Access Expands with Strong Farm Bill Implementation

News for Immediate Release
May 1, 2014
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262,

By TRCP – Sportsmen’s Access Expands with Strong Farm Bill Implementation

USDA opens signup for Voluntary Public Access program, increasing access opportunities, bolstering outdoors-dependent economy

WASHINGTON – An announcement today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a Farm Bill conservation program enhancing sportsmen’s access to privately owned lands will open for enrollment drew praise from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and its partners.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this morning announced that applications now are being accepted for the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program, or ACEP, and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, or VPA-HIP, providing as much as $386 million to help landowners restore wetlands, conserve working agricultural lands, bolster the economy and support hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.

Implementation of VPA-HIP, popularly known as “Open Fields,” elicited an especially positive response from the sportsmen. The program offers incentives to owners and managers of private lands to open areas to public recreation, including hunting and angling. Up to $20 million is available this year for VPA-HIP.

VPA-HIP is a hallmark TRCP program, with TRCP co-founder Jim Range one of its principal architects.

“By including VPA-HIP in the new Farm Bill, Congress sent a clear message that establishing public access for recreation is a priority,” said TRCP Director of Government Relations Steve Kline. “Now, by making VPA-HIP one of the first conservation programs from the bill to be implemented, Secretary Vilsack is demonstrating his commitment to enhancing access for hunters and anglers, showing as well that USDA leadership understands the economic importance of outdoor recreation.”

“This foresighted decision will help states and tribal governments improve existing access programs – or launch them, if they don’t currently exist,” said Ron Regan, executive director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “With lack of access to places to hunt and fish being the No. 1 reason cited by sportsmen for forgoing time afield – and given the importance of activities such as hunting and angling to our national economy – programs like VPA-HIP have the potential to have a powerful positive impact both on our nation’s outdoors heritage and its fiscal health.”

Hunting and fishing directly contribute more than $86 billion to the U.S. economy each year and support approximately 1.5 million non-exportable jobs. Sportsmen also are integral to the broader outdoor-recreation and conservation economy, which is responsible for $646 billion in direct consumer spending annually.

“In short, when VPA-HIP is implemented properly, it delivers!” said Dave Nomsen, vice president of government affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “Millions of acres of private lands have been made accessible for outdoor recreation thanks to VPA-HIP. In the past, its biggest constraint has been funding.

“At the end of the day, sportsmen are conservationists,” stated Nomsen. “Access programs like VPA-HIP enable the recruitment of new sportsmen and the retention of existing sportsmen. This is good news for conservation. Access programs keep hunting and angling available to everyone.”

Learn more about the Farm Bill.

Learn more about the signups for ACEP and VPA-HIP.

Read the TRCP 2014 Conservation Policy Agenda.

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Bill to Halt EPA’s Efforts to Protect Bistol Bay

Leading Sportsmen’s Groups Oppose Legislation that Would Halt EPA’s Efforts to Protect Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Dallas Safari Club, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, and others show strong support for protecting Bristol Bay FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2014 CONTACT: Scott Hed, Director of Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska; 605-351-1646

WASHINGTON – Today, 14 leading sportsmen’s and conservation groups expressed their strong opposition to the Regulatory Fairness Act, which would halt the EPA’s efforts to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska from the proposed Pebble Mine. The groups sent a letter outlining their concerns to the co-sponsors of the legislation, which include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and Sens. David Vitter (LA), Joe Manchin (WV), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and James Risch (ID). These groups are some of over 1,000 sportsmen’s organizations and businesses that have written the EPA in support of its efforts to protect Bristol Bay.

From the letter: It was with great disappointment that we read your recent legislation to eliminate the EPA’s current work to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska for future generations of hunters and anglers. Stopping the Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay’s headwaters is one of the top priorities for the sportsmen community across the U.S.; a fact that we hope is not lost on Senators who represent not only many sportsmen, but some of the best hunting and fishing areas in the country. While we do not always agree with the EPA or its actions, in the case of Bristol Bay, the EPA is acting to protect productive fish and game habitat, thousands of jobs, and $1.5 billion in annual economic impact.”

“The development of a massive surface mine such as Pebble and its likely impacts on the waters and fish and wildlife resources of Bristol Bay, Alaska, have been thoroughly analyzed through the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The EPA’s undertaking of the 404(c) review process is the next logical step under the Clean Water Act which is needed and justified to ensure the conservation of the unique resources of Bristol Bay.”

The Regulatory Fairness Act would prohibit the EPA from using its Clean Water Act Section 404(c) authority to restrict permits at “any time” that a particular development will have an “unacceptable adverse effect” on America’s waterways or fisheries. In the case of the proposed Pebble Mine, the EPA’s exhaustive 3-year peer-reviewed scientific study found that even without a catastrophic accident it will destroy up to 94 miles of salmon spawning streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands, lakes, and ponds in the Bristol Bay region. In February, the EPA began the 404(c) process to determine the best way to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine.

“The legislation these Senators are supporting runs directly counter to one of the top priorities for hunters and anglers from across the U.S.,” said Scott Hed,Director of Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska. “We’ve heard from thousands that Bristol Bay is worth protecting; now is not the time to halt the EPA’s thorough process in protecting this sportsman’s paradise.”

Groups signing the letter include: American Fly Fishing Trade Association Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Berkley Conservation Institute Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Campfire Club of America Dallas Safari Club Delta Waterfowl Foundation International Federation of Fly Fishers National Wildlife Federation Orion – The Hunters Institute Pope and Young Club Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Wildlife Forever

For a full copy of the letter to Senate sponsors of the Regulatory Fairness Act, as well the original letter from over 1,000 sportsmen’s groups and organizations, visit -###- Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska 911 W. 8th Ave. Suite 300 | Anchorage, AK 99501 .

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Clean Water Act Rule Improves Habitat and Benefits Sportsmen & Ag Producers

Sportsmen across the nation are applauding the recent announcement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency clarifying what streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. The draft rule will begin to provide jurisdictional certainty that allows for long-overdue restoration of our nation’s streams, wetlands, and critical wildlife habitat.

“The recent action will provide protection for the waters that wildlife depend on and that sportsmen enjoy,” said Gaspar Perricone, Director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We are pleased that the draft rule provides a framework to start restoring critical water sources and quality and in a manner that protects agricultural practices and private lands.”

The jurisdiction and authority of the Clean Water Act has been uncertain for years as a result of two Supreme Court decisions that removed protections for nearly 20 million acres of wetlands, intermittent streams, and ground water tributary systems. The two decisions offered by the Court created uncertainty among federal and state agencies, as well as landowners and agriculture producers, about which water sources were protected under the Clean Water Act. In 2011, the administration initiated a process to begin restoring the protections that were lost.

The recent ruling goes a long way toward restoring protections for many, thought not all, of the critical water sources and quality standards that are necessary to sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations.

“Waterfowl hunters in particular will benefit from enhanced wetlands protections, as the cherished prairie potholes that serve as the breeding grounds for millions of ducks could receive greater protection,” said Jared Mott, Policy Director for Bull Moose Sportsmen. “It is vital for sportsmen to continue to participate in the rulemaking process and make sure that the final version of this rule will protect the waters and wetlands that are so important for wildlife.”

Clean water is essential to protecting our sporting heritage. Protected streams and healthy wetlands sustain fishing and hunting, and support $200 billion in total economic activity each year in hunting and fishing and more than 1.5 million jobs — sustaining rural communities across the nation.

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Sportsmen Benefit from President’s Budget Request

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance applauded President Barack Obama’s repeated call for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in his proposed FY 2015 budget earlier today. The proposed budget calls for the full $900 million originally authorized in the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. The LWCF is a vital source of conservation dollars for sportsmen, helping to preserve habitat and access to public lands across all fifty states.

Funded by royalties paid by offshore oil and gas development and not the American taxpayer, the LWCF has nevertheless seen its annual appropriations continue to decrease. President Obama’s budget has again made clear that the promise the American government made to use these royalties to guarantee Americans’ access to the outdoors must be upheld. Sportsmen must now call on Congress to take this cue from the administration and pass a budget that includes full funding for the LWCF.

“Sportsmen across the country depend on the LWCF, even if they don’t know it,” said Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance director Gaspar Perricone. “LWCF dollars have been used to improve hunting and angling opportunities on public land in every state. This is one of the primary ways that we invest in conservation and access in this country and is a real American success story.”

The opportunities provided by LWCF are vital to the $90 billion economic engine driven by hunters and anglers. Nobody knows this better than RJ Guidry, a hunting guide and custom duck call manufacturer in Kaplan, Louisiana who also works offshore, helping to generate the royalties that fund the LWCF. “Without conservation, hunters lose out on opportunities to get to the field. As a guide and custom call maker, my business is tied to opportunities for sportsmen,” said Guidry. The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance announced the kickoff of a new social media campaign, with Guidry at the heart, aimed at building support for LWCF.

“LWCF dollars go to improve hunting and fishing on national wildlife refuges, national forests, and conservation areas. Sportsmen have always led the fight to conserve our natural resources and we’re proud to thank the president for his budget request,” said BMSA policy director Jared Mott. “President Obama promised that LWCF would be taken care of as part of his America’s Great Outdoor initiative, and we let the administration know that we were watching. Now, he has kept that promise. Now Congress must pass a budget that also fully funds the LWCF at $900 million for the president to sign.”

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance also called on Congress to pass the Making Public Lands Public Act. This bill would dedicate a percentage of LWCF funds each year towards securing access to landlocked or difficult to reach public lands for sportsmen. The bill has been introduced in the House by Congressman Steve Daines while the Senate version is contained in Senators Kay Hagan and Lisa Murkowski’s package of bills called The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014.

“The Making Public Lands Public Act is the next piece of the LWCF puzzle for sportsmen,” said Perricone. “Lack of access to quality habitat and the outdoor opportunities it creates are the most frequently cited reason for Americans who stop hunting and fishing. The more people we can expose to the opportunities our public lands offer, the safer the legacy of those lands will be.”

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Will the President Keep His Conservation Promise With His Budget?

In the coming days, President Barack Obama will propose his budget. As recent weeks and months have shown, the United States faces enormous budgetary challenges, and the president might be tempted to scale back important plans — but now is no time to compromise on matters that will impact our nation for decades to come.

Last year the president promised that, by 2014, the White House budget proposal would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For American sportsmen and women, the conservation of wildlife, habitat and access to public lands are our highest priorities. The LWCF is one tool that helps make these priorities possible. We will be watching to make sure Obama is good to his word. Read More…

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Congress Reauthorizes Farm Bill!

The Senate approved the Farm Bill conference report 68-32, a week after the House of Representatives also approved the report. Congress now sends a federal Farm Bill to President Obama’s desk for signature, marking the end of more than two years of struggle to get the legislation passed. The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance applauds the leadership from both the House and Senate Agriculture committees for shepherding this critical legislation to passage and standing up for sportsmen across the country with a strong conservation title.

This Farm Bill addresses many key priorities of sportsmen. For the first time since 1994, conservation compliance will be coupled with subsidized crop insurance payments. This common sense compliance will ensure that producers receiving money from taxpayers are not using that money to drain wetlands or let soil erode. “Recoupling conservation compliance to crop insurance payments was among sportsmen’s greatest priority for this Farm Bill,” said BMSA director Gaspar Perricone.

The bill also establishes a Sodsaver program in six Great Plains states aimed at protecting native prairie habitat. In Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, farmers that break native ground for row crop production will not be eligible for federally subsidized crop insurance. The conservation community had hoped that the bill would establish a national Sodsaver program, but also recognized the imperative of protecting threatened prairie habitat in the Great Plains that are vital for upland birds, big game, and most of the continent’s waterfowl. “The habitat that will be protected with this Sodsaver provision includes the famed prairie potholes that hatch and grow the vast majority of the migratory waterfowl that sportsmen hunts each fall,” noted Perricone.

A voluntary habitat access program commonly known as Open Fields was also reauthorized to the tune of $40 million annually. Established in the 2008 Farm Bill, Open Fields provides incentives for landowners to implement and practice sound conservation measures, while also providing access for hunters and anglers. “This program is the definition of a win-win for sportsmen,” said Jared Mott, Policy Director for BMSA. “Incentivizing conservation while creating access for hunters and anglers where none existed has to be a highlight of any list of this Farm Bill’s accomplishments.”

Part of this Farm Bill’s $23 billion in savings over ten years comes
from the consolidation of many conservation title programs. Sportsmen will recognize many of the programs still functioning under the title, such as the critical Conservation Reserve Program. But the new Agricultural Easement Program consolidates many of the easement programs from the last farm bill, such as the Grassland Reserve Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program. The new easement program will continue to incentivize landowners to conserve vital habitat on their properties. “Every sportsmen knows the importance of CRP and it was critical that it continue to be an option for conservation minded landowners and producers,” said Perricone.

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Bi-Partisan Sportsmen’s Package Introduced in the Senate

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance applauds Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for introducing their Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S. 1996). This bill would advance important conservation programs and increase access for sportsmen across the country. The package includes an impressive bipartisan list of ten cosponsors that include: Senators Mark Begich(AK), John Boozman (AR), Dean Heller (NV), John Hoevan (ND), Mary Landrieu (LA), Joe Manchin (WV), Rob Portman (OH), Mark Pryor (AR), Jon Tester (MT), and David Vitter (LA). Both Senators Hagan and Murkowski had introduced sportsmen’s packages of their own earlier in the Congress, but combined the bills to create a stronger bipartisan effort.

“This bill strikes a good balance while providing resources for conservation and public access,” said Gaspar Perricone, Director of BMSA. “Sportsmen are an economic powerhouse in this country, contributing more than $86 billion to the economy each year. The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act goes a long way to making sure that economic engine keeps churning, while protecting our outdoor traditions and sporting legacy.”

The Bi-Partisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 is comprised of 12 individual bills including:

-Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act: Gives the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to authorize electronic duck stamps.
-Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act: Ensures that ammunition and lead fishing tackle are not regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
-Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act: Originally authored by the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, this bill will allow states greater flexibility in spending federal Pittman-Robertson dollars so that shooting ranges on public lands can be built or upgraded.
-Duck Stamp Subsistence Waiver: Grants the Secretary of the Interior authority to waive duck stamp requirements for some subsistence users.
-Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act: Allows legal polar bear trophies taken on sport hunts in Canada to be imported into the U.S.
-Farmer and Hunter Protection Act: Directs the Secretary of the Interior to consult with local Department of Agriculture Extension offices to determine “normal agricultural practices” with regard to hunting migratory birds.
-Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act: Directs federal land managers to consider the effects of management decisions on opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting.
-Permits for Film Crews of 5 People or Less: Directs the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to require annual permits and assess annual fees on commercial film crews of five people or less that film on public land.
-Making Public Lands Public: Requires 1.5 percent of LWCF funding be dedicated to obtaining access for recreational users to public lands with limited public access.
-Reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act: Permanently reauthorizes a program allowing the Bureau of Land Management to sell public lands to private parties or local and county governments and generate funding for acquiring critical in-holdings from willing sellers.
-Reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act: Reauthorizes NAWCA through 2017 at a level of $40 million annually.
-Reauthorization of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Reauthorizes the non-profit NFWF through 2019 at $25 million annually.

“We encourage Senate leadership to bass the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act as soon as possible.” Jared Mott, BMSA Policy Director noted.

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Sportsmen’s Bill Clears First Major Hurdle in Congress

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance applauds the House of Representatives’ vote to pass H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act). This bill establishes hunting and fishing as priorities on federal public lands and also addresses many other concerns of sportsmen. Most importantly, it serves as a first step in getting a sportsmen’s package through Congress and signed by the President.

The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, a bill originally authored by the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, is included in this package. This bill would allow states greater flexibility in how they spend federal Pittman-Robertson dollars, so that shooting ranges on public land can be built or upgraded.

The SHARE Act would also:
-Ensure that ammunition and lead fishing tackle are not regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
-Allow legal polar bear trophies taken on sport hunts in Canada to be imported into the U.S.
-Give the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to authorize states to issue electronic duck stamps.
-Allow for the carrying of firearms on Army Corps of Engineers projects in accordance with state law.

Title VIII of the SHARE Act would exempt hunting and fishing related decisions on public lands from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and could also exempt hunting and fishing related activities from the Wilderness Act. BMSA is concerned that without a proper NEPA review, federal agencies could close tracts of public lands to all users, including hunters and anglers, without allowing sportsmen to comment.

“The SHARE Act is a great first step towards getting a sportsmen’s package passed by Congress and signed into law,” said BMSA Director Gaspar Perricone. “This bill has a few question marks that we’d like to see clarified and we’d love to have seen some funding for critical conservation programs included, but it addresses a lot of critical concerns for sportsmen. Most importantly, House passage of the SHARE Act builds momentum in our community to get a bill through the Senate, and onto the President’s desk as soon as possible.”

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November Newsletter 2013

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Sportsmen Applaud Introduction of New Hunting & Fishing Bill

The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance is proud to support the newly introduced Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act, or SPORT Act.  The bill was introduced by Sportsmen’s Caucus co-chair Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina.  The SPORT Act is a package of bipartisan bills that will strengthen hunting and fishing across America through conservation, enhanced access to public lands, and easing restrictions that prevent Americans from enjoying the outdoors.

Some highlights of the SPORT Act include legislation originally crafted by the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance.  The Target Shooting and Marksmanship Training Support Act would allow states to use money generated from the sale of firearms and ammunition to provide enhanced public shooting opportunities.  The Bows in National Parks would allow bowhunters to cross National Park Service lands with their archery equipment in order to access hunting opportunities on federal public lands.  Currently, the National Park Service allows firearms to be carried across its parks, but not archery equipment.

Important conservation legislation included in the package is the North American Wetlands Conservation Act reauthorization.  NAWCA is a voluntary program that uses federal incentives to create match funding for wetlands conservation.  Every federal dollar spent on NAWCA projects typically is matched by at least three dollars of match funding from states and private enterprises.  The SPORT Act would also exempt conservation trust funds from sequestration.  The Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund (Pittman-Robertson) and Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund (Dingell-Johnson) are vital to funding on the ground conservation efforts by state wildlife agencies.  Despite being financed by a small fee paid by the purchasers of outdoor and boating equipment, these important funds were still subjected to sequestration.

Access to public lands is another critical component of the SPORT Act.  Several important pieces of legislation for sportsmen’s access to hunting and fishing have been collected under the umbrella of this package.  The Making Public Lands Public Act would require that 1.5 percent of funds generated for the Land and Water Conservation Fund be set aside to secure access to difficult to access public lands for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.  The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act will direct federal land management agencies to facilitate hunting and fishing on federal lands and ensure sound management of fish and wildlife populations on those lands.  The reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act would ensure that at least 80 percent of the funds from the sale of federal lands be used to acquire high priority lands.  Finally, provisions from the Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act would improve access to public lands by directing federal agencies to inventory lands in their systems to determine which public lands have little or no public access.  The agencies would then be directed to develop a plan for providing access for lands that have been determined to have a high potential for recreational use.

“We look forward to helping Senator Hagan and the Sportsmen’s Caucus advance this legislation through the Senate,” said Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance director Gaspar Perricone.  “We’re proud to have helped craft this important bill that can help solidify the future of hunting and fishing in America.”


Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Pleased with Interior’s Conservation Vision

Washington, DC—The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance is proud to support the conservation agenda set forth by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in a speech at the National Press Club yesterday, October 31st.  Secretary Jewell addressed a packed house of reporters, Department of the Interior employees, and representatives from throughout the conservation community.  She highlighted the importance of many of the issues facing sportsmen today, from how the government shutdown affected hunters on public lands to establishing the next generation of conservation leaders.

The Secretary also called for full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Despite nearing the fifty-year anniversary of its original creation, the LWCF has only been fully funded once.  Because the revenues that make up the LWCF come from royalties paid by offshore oil and gas drillers, LWCF does not cost American taxpayers a single dime.  However, projects aimed at securing access to the outdoors have been funded by LWCF in nearly every county in every state across the country.

“We were happy to hear that the administration is still so supportive of LWCF,” said Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance Director Gaspar Perricone.  “Fully funding LWCF is one of the easiest ways to increase access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities for sportsmen across the country.  We stand with Secretary Jewell in calling for this fund to receive the allocations that were intended when the law was passed almost fifty years ago.”

Secretary Jewell also highlighted the administration’s goal of approving 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy being produced on federal public lands.  With plans for all kinds of energy development, both renewable and non-renewable however, the Secretary insisted upon a balanced approach that protects the most valuable and most cherished of our public lands.  Highlighting this approach, she also announced her first Secretarial Order.  This order will ensure that as development moves forward on DOI lands, proper mitigation is considered and accomplished on a landscape level.

“Sportsmen have been talking about a balanced approach to energy development on public lands longer than just about anyone,” said Perricone.  “Without proper mitigation on a landscape level and the opportunities it will protect, a huge economic engine that is driven by hunters and anglers could begin to sputter.  Understanding how development impacts wildlife and habitat beyond a localized area is critical to the future of hunting and fishing on public lands.”


Sportsmen Urge EPA to Step Up Clean Water Protections

Several sportsmen’s groups, including the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, have signed a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency that offers recommendations on the EPA’s draft report on wetlands connectivity.  The final report could play a huge role in determining protections for wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  “We have to get this right,” said BMSA director Gaspar Perricone.

The report, titled “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence,” considers more than a thousand peer-reviewed scientific publications on wetlands and headwater streams.  The organizations that have signed the letter to the EPA commend the draft report’s conclusions on the connectivity of wetlands and streams to the health of downstream waters.  The letter praises the report’s recognition that “the watershed scale is the appropriate context” for considering the connectivity of the small wetlands and streams that are so important for wildlife and sportsmen.

The letter does ask the EPA to further consider the connectivity of what are known as unidirectional wetlands.  The best-known examples of this type of wetland are the prairie potholes, the breeding grounds for the majority of the ducks in North America.  Wetlands in the prairie pothole region are being lost at an incredible rate, which is bad news for hunters, birders, and conservationists.

In the last ten years, two Supreme Court cases have weakened Clean Water Act protections of some wetlands and headwater streams.  Administrative rule making could restore some of those protections and this EPA report determining the connectivity of wetlands can go a long way toward deciding what waters are protected.  “This report is so important because it could have a huge role in determining how we protect wetlands that are critical for wildlife and sportsmen,” said Perricone.  “Sportsmen are at the center of a huge economic engine, but we rely on clean water protections for critical habitat to sustain that economic boost.  The science on this issue hasn’t changed; it’s time to restore the protections to these important wetlands and streams.”

To read the letter and a list of signers, click here.


Government shutdown devastates $144 billion wildlife recreation economy

The Hill – By Gaspar Perricone

October 12, 2013, 01:00 pm

Government inaction is causing huge economic losses for our rural economies. The country’s wildlife-related recreation economy, which includes hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching, was estimated in 2011 at $144 billion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In Colorado, that figure was $3 million.

Rural communities depend on the dollars that sportsmen bring each fall, and commercial hunting guides are being deprived of income during their peak earning period – akin to Christmas for retailers. This is not merely a delay — it is a loss of real income that these communities and small business owners will never get back.
The closing of more than 329 National Wildlife Refuges such as the Alamosa, Arapaho, and Baca refuges for hunting and 271 for fishing also halts critical habitat protection efforts by volunteers and ongoing research.

This is only the latest congressional slight to sportsmen and habitat conservation. The current closures compound the cuts proposed by Congress to key programs that fund and conserve wildlife habitat, such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and others. Congress has also failed to reauthorize the Farm Bill, which expired at the end of September. It includes critical elements of national conservation policy and is the largest private lands conservation legislation we have in this country.

Instead of playing politics, policymakers should be collaborating to defend our hunting and fishing traditions, small businesses, and rural economies. Congress’s failure to act is an affront to all of us, but particularly to the 37 million hunters and anglers who pay federal and state taxes, provide $1.5 billion in license revenues, and generate more than $86 billion in retail sales.

Congress and the White House need to end the shutdown, and make habitat and natural resource conservation efforts a priority on par with other uses of our public lands. Any budget agreement must include funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other vital conservation programs, which provide access for hunters and anglers, bolster wildlife protection, and contribute to a lucrative outdoor recreation economy.

There will be no recovery of lost wages for the small businesses and rural economies that depend on hunting and fishing on America’s public lands for their livelihoods. But perhaps there will be a return of common sense before hunting season ends in less than three months.


In The News

 EPA Recieves Overwhelming Support to Protect Bristol Bay 

 The Best Energy Idea You Have Never Heard Of – Steamboat Today

 The Latest Sportsmen Surveys…and What They Mean to Sportsmen – Field & Stream

 Secretary Jewell Believes Some Lands Worth Saving – Washington Post

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