other By: Brent Rudolph, RGS & AWS | March, 21
Please consider signing the petition supporting the Hunting and Fishing Community Statement
In a report to the National Climate Task Force released yesterday (“Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful”), the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality laid out the plan for our nation’s involvement in the Thirty-by-Thirty Initiative (Thirty-by-Thirty). The initiative is a global effort to establish a goal of placing 30 percent of the planet’s lands and waters under “protected status” by the year 2030.
Late in 2020, the Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) launched the Hunt Fish 30×30 Campaign as part of a consortium of the Nation’s leading hunting, fishing and habitat conservation organizations. The campaign provides resources for the hunting and angling community and our allies to learn about and engage in Thirty-by-Thirty in a way that sustains and builds upon our long-term engagement in the North American conservation movement.
As American conservationists, the hunting and fishing community have proactively supported and provided the majority of funding for efforts to conserve our Nation’s land and waters through science-based, strategic implementation of management actions. Hunt Fish 30×30 organizations and our members and supporters have been the catalyst that has positioned the U.S. as a global leader in natural resource and biodiversity protections. We recognize the overlap between our collective work to conserve fish and wildlife species and their habitats and the global Initiative, but also recognize the need to ensure our model of conservation remains front and center in this global effort.
Specifically, the Hunt Fish 30×30 Campaign released a Hunting and Fishing Community Statement on the 30×30 Initiative that identifies a need to:
* Recognize the positive role that hunting and fishing play in conservation;
* Develop protected area definitions that allow for well-managed and sustainable wildlife-dependent activities;
* Consider existing protected areas and other management strategies that achieve biodiversity conservation in measuring progress toward stated goals;
* Support targeted, science-based conservation measures through a stakeholder-driven process to address biodiversity threats; and
* Clearly define roles and authorities for the entities charged with carrying out the 30 by 30 Initiative proposal.
A review of the report released yesterday suggests these messages are being heard. The report includes proposed “bold investments to restore our nation’s… forests” under one of the six pillars for action, to “Create Jobs by Investing in Restoration and Resilience.”
Another pillar in the report addresses expanding access to conserved lands. That is also the subject of the other press releaseissued earlier this week, announcing a Fish and Wildlife Service plan to create new or expanded hunting and sport fishing opportunities for game species across 2.1 million acres at 90 National Wildlife Refuges and one National Fish Hatchery. RGS & AWS staff and members having already begun reviewing and will comment on those proposals by the July 6 deadline.
For more than a century, hunters and anglers have sustained the opportunity for citizens and visitors of our Nation to connect with our land, water and fish and wildlife through outdoor pursuits – whether through hunting and fishing, wildlife viewing and photography or any number of other activities – whenever such activities are compatible with conservation. Participation in these outdoor activities supports and grows a deep appreciation and understanding of the link between healthy habitats and thriving fish and wildlife populations. Due to this appreciation, the lands essential to these activities are served by respectful users of these lands.
In the case of hunters, anglers and recreational shooters, their license dollars, excise taxes and fees directly support the conservation of our Nation’s fish and wildlife resources and the habitats upon which they depend.
In addition to this direct financial investment, hunters and anglers in general – and RGS & AWS members in particular – played a vital role in the past year alone in securing passage of the Great American Outdoors Act and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, leading efforts to provide funding for all Species of Greatest Conservation Need through continuously advocating for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, and ensuring the development of numerous other policies and programs that support biodiversity.
Though past development and unrestricted uses of our natural resources placed wildlife and habitats at risk, the North American model of wildlife conservation has developed a system of checks and balances that have successfully conserved populations and habitats that were on the verge of broad extirpation. The model and those charged with its implementation are not infallible, but hunters and anglers are contributors to, as well as beneficiaries of, thoughtful approaches to safeguarding our Nation’s lands and waters and finding common ground to achieve lasting results to complex management issues.
RGS & AWS have served this North American conservation mission for 60 years by committing to healthy forests, abundant wildlife, and a conservation ethic. Thoughtful implementation of the global Initiative can continue to serve these interests, and the Hunt Fish 30×30 effort can ensure our past successes and failings can provide important lessons to shape the global effort. We encourage our members and supporters to visit Hunt Fish 30×30 Campaign website and to review the Hunting and Fishing Community Statement on the 30×30 Initiative.
Also, please sign the petition posted on the site to indicate your support for the Statement.