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Archive for January, 2013

WWFlogoA new legislative bill has been filed to address WGFD funding. HB0260 will be heard by the House members of the Revenue Committee this Friday a.m. (2/1/2013). HB0260 considers fees lower than those proposed in HB0136 and will result in less revenue. However, it is the last best chance at securing funding for management of our wildlife. It is critical that you contact the House members of the Revenue Committee prior to Friday. Their contact information is supplied below.

Michael Madden (R), H40
Mike.Madden@wyoleg.gov

Gregg Blikre (R), H53
Gregg.Blikre@wyoleg.gov

John Eklund (R), H10
John.Eklund@wyoleg.gov

W. Patrick Goggles (D), H33
patrick.goggles@wyoleg.gov

Dan Kirkbride (R), H04
Dan.Kirkbride@wyoleg.gov

Bunky Loucks (R), H59
Bunky.Loucks@wyoleg.gov

David Northrup (R), H50
David.Northrup@wyoleg.gov

Ruth Petroff (R), H16
Ruth.Petroff@wyoleg.gov

Mark Semlek (R), H01
Mark.Semlek@wyoleg.gov

Please contact your legislator today!
http://www.wyomingwildlife.org

Wildlife Funding and Management Needs Your Help!

Review HB0260 at – http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2013/Introduced/HB0260.pdf

Review Revenue Committee members at – http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LegislatorSummary/CommitteeMembers.aspx?strCommitteeID=03

Bill Info – http://legisweb.state.wy.us/lsoweb/session/BillsInfo.aspx

Legislator Info – http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/LegInfo.aspx

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“We look forward to working with the Council as it continues to develop a comprehensive plan that will successfully restore the Gulf and the dynamic hunting and fishing industry this incredible ecosystem supports.”

New Orleans, LA (January 31, 2013)—The Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council released a “path forward” document this week broadly outlining how RESTORE Act funds can be used to restore the Gulf Coast.

20120218-123704.jpgLeaders of the Vanishing Paradise campaign, a nationwide sportsman’s effort to restore the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, say they are looking forward to working with the council as it further refines its plans to restore the fish and wildlife habitats of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Every single dollar we spend conserving habitat, restoring water quality, protecting coastal and marine resources, and enhancing community resiliency will come back to us many times over—positively affecting the nation’s economy now and for generations to come,” said Land Tawney, NWF’s senior manager for sportsmen leadership. “We look forward to working with the Council as it continues to develop a comprehensive plan that will successfully restore the Gulf and the dynamic hunting and fishing industry this incredible ecosystem supports.”

“Louisiana loses an area of marsh the size of a football field every hour,” DU Director of Public Policy and co-lead of Vanishing Paradise Barton James said. “The Council’s plan is another milestone in large-scale coastal restoration policy.”

“Louisiana’s coast hosts world class fishing and hunting and is an integral part of the health of the state’s and nation’s economy,” said Louisiana Wildlife Federation Coastal Outreach Coordinator Chris Macaluso. “Unfortunately the oil spill in 2010 heaped more damage on top of nearly a century of habitat loss in Louisiana that threatens coastal communities, economies and deep-rooted cultural ties to hunting and fishing. We need to build vital habitat restoration projects, some of which have been discussed and designed for decades. Importantly, the path forward also acknowledges the need to break down the bureaucratic impediments that have stalled large-scale coastal restoration efforts in our state.”

Background
The Gulf Ecosystem Restoration Council is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to restore the Gulf environment and the Council directly oversees expenditure of 30 percent of RESTORE Act funds for the ecological restoration projects specified in that comprehensive plan.

This “Path Forward” is the beginning of a process that will culminate in a plan scheduled to be completed and released in July 2013.

The Gulf states and federal agencies have already agreed to the strategy and restoration goals developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. These provide the basis for the large-scale restoration plan that is needed to make good on national promises to the Gulf region.

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Lander, WY (January 30, 2013) – Carbon pollution from coal-burning power plants, refineries, and vehicles is causing a warming climate that poses the single most urgent threat to the future of America’s rich community of fish and game. Hunters and anglers, who return to the

Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming. Photo: Lew Carpenter

Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming. Photo: Lew Carpenter

same grounds yearly, have been some of the first to see on the ground impacts of climate change and understand the need to act now. How we address the challenges of global climate change now will dictate the sporting opportunities for future generations of wildlife conservationists.

The National Wildlife Federation today releasd a new report important to sportsmen from all corners of the nation. Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis examines case studies from across the country illustrating how climate change is altering wildlife habitats. It recommends solutions that would protect not just wildlife but communities across America from the growing climate-fueled threats such as sea level rise, wildfires and drought.

Many of America’s iconic game species face the risks of climate change, such as the northern bobwhite, brook trout, pintail, moose, sage grouse, lesser scaup, and many more. The dangers include:
* Increased incidence of extreme weather events including drought, flooding, warming winters and catastrophic fires that drastically alter and destroy habitat.
*Sea level rise of up to two feet, threatening people in heavily-populated coastal communities and wildlife-rich coastal habitats, such as the Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Florida and the Pacific Northwest.
*Major declines and extinctions in coldwater fish such as trout and salmon as water temperatures rise
*Substantial declines in estuaries and wetlands
*Changes in habitat, food sources and migration patterns for America’s waterfowl, particularly in the prairie pothole region.

The National Wildlife Federation report covers eight regions of the U.S., from the Arctic to the Atlantic coast, and details concrete examples of wildlife struggling to adapt to the climate crisis:
*Wyoming’s worst fire season in history, which decimated 560,000 acres and included 1,400 fires.
*Climate change is creating conditions fueling more mega-wildfires, which are having devastating impacts on fish and wildlife habitats and are putting people and property in harm’s way. Meanwhile, more intense droughts in places like the Great Plains dry up “prairie potholes,” breeding grounds for millions of waterfowl, and impacts drinking water supplies.

The impacts of climate change not only affect the wildlife and habitat that sportsmen hold sacred, but have real economic impacts related to these activities. “Sportsmen and women are an economic force,” according to a new Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) report, America’s Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy. “The $90 billion they spent in 2011 would land them at #24 on the Fortune 500 list…From boats to shotguns to land purchased for a place to hunt or fish, on average each sportsman and woman spent $2,407 that year.”

With more and more places impacted by climate change these very real numbers are in jeopardy. Add conservation dollars from the excise taxes on equipment, fuel and fees for licenses and stamps along with “generous support of conservation organizations through memberships and contributions and you’re looking at another $3 billion for conservation over the course of a year,” the CSF report states.

The National Wildlife Federation report Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis recommends a four-pronged attack to confront the climate crisis’ threats to wildlife and communities:
*Address the underlying cause and cut carbon pollution 50 percent by 2030;
*Transition to cleaner, more secure sources of energy like solar power, wind and next-generation biofuels while avoiding dirty energy choices like coal and tar sands oil
*Safeguard wildlife and their habitats by promoting climate-smart approaches to conservation.
*Help communities prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change such as wildfires, more extreme weather, and more severe droughts.

“We know what’s causing the climate changes sportsmen are seeing in the field and we have the solutions to secure our climate and safeguard our wildlife for future generations,” said Lew Carpenter, regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation.“What we need is the political leadership to make smart energy choices and wise investments in protecting our natural resources.”

Read the report here. Get more National Wildlife Federation news at NWF.org/News.

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The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

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New report addresses recreational and commercial fishing apportionment

Alexandria, VA – January 30, 2013 – For many years, the sportfishing industry has called for a reexamination of the outdated and inequitable allocations of many marine fisheries that are limiting recreational fishing participation which has an economic impact on the coastal 20130130-112118.jpgcommunities it supports. The report released today by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) – “Marine Fishery Allocation Issues: Findings, Discussion, and Options” – summarizes how saltwater fisheries have historically been apportioned between recreational and commercial fishing and provides options on how to improve the allocation process.

“Allocation has been the 800 pound gorilla in the room during fisheries management discussions, however, we’re hopeful that this new report will help spark a renewed interest in revisiting these issues,” said American Sportfishing Association (ASA) President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Many biological and socioeconomic changes have taken place in saltwater fisheries, from rebuilding fish stocks to more people fishing in saltwater. We appreciate that NMFS has started the important process of revisiting current allocations, many of which are based on decades-old criteria.”

In fisheries with both a recreational and commercial component, fisheries managers are required to allocate a percentage of the harvestable fish to each sector in a manner that is “fair and equitable,” as described in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Many recreational anglers believe that these fixed percentages are highly subjective and favor the commercial sector. For example, despite studies that show the economic benefits of shifting a greater proportion of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery to the recreational sector, approximately 300 commercial boats take 51 percent of the total harvest every year, while hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers are allocated the remaining 49 percent.

“Clearly the current piecemeal approach hasn’t worked and has left many anglers and industry members frustrated by the level of inaction,” said Nussman. “This report provides valuable insights and suggestions that NMFS and the Regional Fishery Management Councils should act upon, including the need for formalized guidance on issues to consider when making allocation decisions. This must be the next step, and NMFS must take the lead, working with Councils and stakeholders, to develop this guidance.”

Nussman concluded, “Allocation decisions are inherently difficult, but we can no longer allow that to be an excuse to keep outdated allocations in place. There are too many jobs at stake to continue down the path of inaction.”

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Anglers’ expenditures have a significant impact on the nation’s economy

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Lew Carpenter of National Wildlife Federation, left, and Eric Cosby of Top Brass Tackle in the Mississippi River Delta with a bull redfish. Photo: Land Tawney

Recreational fishing is more than just a pleasant getaway for millions of Americans. As an industry, it provides a living for countless people in businesses ranging from fishing tackle and boating manufacturing to travel and hospitality to publications, magazines and much more.  As reported in Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, a new fishing statistics report produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry, the number of anglers increased 11 percent over the past five years and fishing tackle sales grew more than 16 percent. When expenditures are multiplied by our nation’s 60 million anglers, their dollars have a significant impact on our nation’s economy.

Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation highlights how recreational fishing not only endures as an activity that permeates all social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a significant role in the country’s most successful fisheries conservation efforts.

“As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on this nation’s economy,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “Just by enjoying a day on the water, men, women and children across the United States pump billions of dollars into this country’s economy.”

Nussman further said, “And it’s not just the economy. In many ways, America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.”

According to the new study, America’s nearly 60 million anglers are estimated to spend $46 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Despite the economic difficulties facing the U.S. economy over the past five years; the total amount spent on sportfishing, which encompasses tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent.

A number of reports strongly indicate that fishing is identified by American families as one of the best ways to spend quality time together. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, fishing as a leisure-time activity ranks higher than playing basketball or softball, skateboarding, jogging or hiking.

Lew Carpenter hauls in a fine South Platte River brown. Photo: Matt Vincent

Lew Carpenter hauls in a fine South Platte River brown. Photo: Matt Vincent

“Despite the uncertain economic conditions that beset all Americas, or because of it, anglers continue to fish and spend even more time outdoors,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “A growing interest in the outdoors helped fuel the growth in angler numbers which we believe will create even more momentum in fishing participation and sales in 2013 and beyond.”

Substantially more than any other groups, anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. Special taxes on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channel more than $1 billion of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs each year.

ASA’s new analysis is based on data from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sportfishing in America was compiled for ASA by Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Facts about Recreational Fishing

·         There are approximately 60 million anglers in the U.S. of which 46 million are estimated to fish in a given year.

·         One of every four anglers fishes in saltwater.

·         Fishing tackle sales grew over 16 percent in the past five years.

·         Since 2006, angler numbers grew 11 percent.

·         More Americans fish than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined.

·         If fishing were a company, the amount spent by anglers to support fishing-related retail sales would rank number 51 on the Fortune 500™ list.

·         Fishing generated more revenue ($48 billion) than Lockheed Martin ($47 billion), Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) or Google ($38 billion).

·         The economic activity generated by sportfishing is greater than the economy, measured in Gross State Product, of 17 states.

·         At more than 46 million anglers, more than twice the number of people fished in 2011 than attended every NFL game combined.

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Next week the shooting, hunting and outdoors industry again will engage in one of the largest trade shows I’ve ever experienced. The SHOT Show is the once-a-year gathering place for manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, publishers and wildlife conservation organizations. It’s where a passion for firearms, ammunition and outdoors equipment, plus the industry’s unified support for the Second Amendment, are on display.

lew

Author Lew Carpenter at SHOT Show 2012 Media Day with a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 in .300.

This is the 35th annual SHOT Show. The first SHOT Show was in 1979 in St. Louis, Missouri, and more than 60,000 professionals in the shooting, hunting and outdoors industry attended SHOT Show in 2012. In addition more than 2,000 members of the outdoor and mainstream media, including international media, cover the show.

It’s an incredible event, and one where today’s important issues will be discussed with, no doubt, a wide spectrum of opinions. Top-tier issues that affect this industry will certainly include universal background checks for gun buyers, modern sporting rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

In 2012, modern sporting rifles (like the one seen in the picture above) accelerated in popularity. This year’s show will be no different, with an abundance of peripheral accessories to compliment these popular rifles. As hunters and shooting enthusiasts we all have a responsibility to engage in honest, open discussion about the safety of our communities and family members. SHOT Show is an important gathering place where people of integrity will have these discussions.

Other issues of concern to sportsmen will also be on tap. Primarily, conservation.

Personally, I have been engaged for the past four years in the Vanishing Paradise campaign – a movement to restore the Louisiana wetlands. And, as many of you understand, the Mississippi River Delta supports incredible fishing and is the winter home for 70-percent of the waterfowl in the Central and Mississippi flyways.

Vanishing Paradise team members Andy McDaniels and Land Tawney wait for waterfowl in the Louisiana wetlands.

Vanishing Paradise team members Andy McDaniels and Land Tawney wait for waterfowl in the Louisiana wetlands.

Due to efforts by Vanishing Paradise and other conservation organizations, The RESTORE Act last July passed through Congress with strong support from the sportsman’s community, and we can expect that most of the money (80-percent) from any Clean Water Act fines will be sent back to the states affected by the spill.

Unfortunately, the oil spill isn’t over—and America’s hunters and anglers know it.

Every week it seems that scientists discover a previously unknown consequence of the spill. For example, scientists recently announced  that species like mahi mahi—if even briefly exposed to small amounts of oil while still in their eggs—grow up unable to swim as fast as unexposed fish.

It is not surprising that in one recent poll, 81% of hunters and anglers said they thought BP should pay the maximum penalty for their role in the spill.

Last month, the Department of Justice hammered out a plea agreement where BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle the criminal claims against it. Importantly, the company also acknowledged negligence in the deaths of 11 rig workers.

But this criminal settlement doesn’t mean it is all over—far from it.

The Justice Department is still pursuing civil claims against BP under our nation’s environmental laws. If found guilty of gross negligence at trial—and Justice seems to think it has a strong case—BP would face fines in the range of 20 billion under the Clean Water Act alone.

The company also faces billions of dollars in assessments under the Oil Pollution Act. This law requires the company to pay the costs of restoring the Gulf back to the condition it was in at the time of the disaster. To give you a sense of the potential scale, if BP paid the same amount per gallon as Exxon did in the Valdez case, we’d be looking at roughly $30 billion dollars for restoration.

These may seem like large numbers, but it will take an investment on this scale to make the Gulf whole again. It is the Department of Justice’s job to see that BP is held fully accountable. And it is our job, as hunters and anglers, to keep the heat on the Justice Department to make sure it happens.

Please speak up and demand that BP own up to its carelessness in the Gulf and that the Justice Department hold the company fully accountable. America’s hunting and fishing legacy depends on it.

Out West

SHOT Show is also an important place to discuss areas out West where I, like many of you, hunt mule deer, elk, pronghorn and other great species. If you have an interest in supporting and saving our great western hunting legacy, OPL_Sigplease see the Our Public Lands website. Ourpubliclands.org is a place for hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to get information about the public lands where they enjoy their favorite activities. The public lands issues on the website focus on:

FRIENDS OF COLORADOOUTDOORS.NET

Finally, SHOT Show is a place to reconnect with old friends. And although there are too many to list here, I’m going to take a moment to highlight two great partners who have helped with the Vanishing Paradise campaign and whose senior leadership have been friends of mine for decades.

RealTree Camo has developed the industry’s most realistic pattern ever. Last week the company unveiled its new camo pattern, Realtree Xtra, also available in Realtree Xtra Green.Image

The breakthrough in camo pattern realism comes from a combination of design and printing technology that delivers three distinct fields within one camo pattern: a foreground, mid-ground, and background.

“New Realtree Xtra and Xtra Green truly live up to their names, giving hunters extra effectiveness in the field,” said Realtree Designer and President Bill Jordan. “All throughout the development process, we focused on creating incredible depth, visual confusion and 3D effects in the pattern mid-grounds and backgrounds while still retaining total sharpness and detail in the foreground elements. The result is as close to nature as we’ve ever gotten.”The Realtree Xtra and Realtree Xtra Green camo designs feature 12 warm, natural colors-one with more green. The new designs provide all-season utility for hunters and outdoorspeople. Its subtle shadows, highlights, and textures blend with more terrain and lighting conditions than any other camo pattern available and make Realtree Xtra the most versatile camo on the market.

And our friends at Plano Molding have completely remodeled the Plano website. The new and improved version showcases all Plano products and is much easier to navigate. It also features videos and articles by members of photoPlano’s pro staff and highlights products that they personally endorse. Head on over to www.planomolding.com and have a look around.

Hope to see you all at SHOT Show 2013 and safe travels to the City of Sin!

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