The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today released its 2013 Conservation Policy Agenda, outlining practical, solutions-focused approaches to natural resource management challenges. In an era characterized by partisan gridlock, the need for balanced strategies that speak to both sides of the political divide is more crucial now than ever before.
The TRCP’s 2013 playbook of priority issues for the sportsmen’s community includes a new focal area for the group – water scarcity and the need for policy that safeguards and responsibly manages the nation’s water supply and its dependent fish and wildlife – and spotlights new and ongoing federal funding challenges and policy issues key to the nation’s public and privately owned lands.
“With the inauguration over and the 113th Congress under way, sportsmen once again are leading the way by engaging with our elected leaders to advance policy that is important not only to hunters and anglers but to all citizens,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “To that end, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is redoubling our efforts to identify solutions to natural resource challenges – ranging from responsive water management practices to budgets that sustain and expand conservation practices and outdoor opportunities – in 2013 and beyond.
“Federal conservation programs – and the need to strongly fund them – overlap everything that we work to accomplish at the TRCP,” Fosburgh continued, “and budgetary issues will remain a top priority as we work to promote conservation on Capitol Hill.”
Developed collaboratively with the TRCP’s individual and organizational partners, which include national hunting, fishing and conservation organizations, labor unions, outdoor-related businesses and grassroots sportsmen, the report outlines the sportsmen’s consensus priorities over the coming year.
Issues highlighted in the TRCP 2013 Conservation Policy Agenda include the following:
· developing new incentives to safeguard fish and wildlife habitat – and to sustain and expand public access for hunting and fishing – through strongly funded conservation programs in the federal budget;
· defending disproportionate cuts to the funding of and the elimination of existing key federal conservation programs;
· facilitating passage of a full, five-year farm bill with a strong conservation title as swiftly as possible;
· strengthening existing federal funding for water conservation programs within the Bureau of Reclamation, Corps of Engineers and Natural Resources Conservation Service and opposing ill-conceived new water development schemes;
· advancing the BLM’s work to administratively conserve high-value backcountry fish and wildlife habitat through land-use planning processes with input from Western sportsmen and other stakeholders;
· securing climate change policy that provides long-term funding for state resource agencies to address the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife;
· engaging with saltwater recreational anglers and businesses on the Gulf Coast to provide specific restoration proposals that enhance the conservation and management of Gulf fisheries impacted by the 2010 oil spill, and furthering consideration of these proposals through the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process and by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council;
· restoring balance in the management of public lands and fish and wildlife resources by engaging federal and state agencies to implement effective multiple-use, sustained yield practices;
· influencing renewable energy development policy on public lands.
“As chairman of the TRCP policy council, I get to work with many of the nation’s premier conservation policy leaders,” said Jim Martin, TRCP board member and conservation director of the Berkley Conservation Institute. “The result of our work is a strategy to move the needle on the most important policy issues to sportsmen and -women in America. Each year we develop this agenda to guide our advocacy and communications efforts. The result testifies to the TRCP’s uniqueness: It is a partnership of many of the most respected organizations in the sportsmen’s community.”
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.