The American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP), a forum of 49 of America’s leading hunting-based conservation organizations, has formulated and presented a booklet of conservation recommendations to the President of the United States each term. This started from the inception of the AWCP in 2000. Early this year, the AWCP reforged the conservation recommendations and forwarded Volume IV to President Barack Obama. This repeated effort is too little known within the hunting community even though the AWCP organizations include the NRA with its large membership, membership middleweights like Ducks Unlimited, the Wild Turkey Federation and state wildlife management agency representatives like the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
The cover letter to President Obama explained that the booklet of 10 recommendations were for the President’s second term of office. It reminded the President that “nearly 20 million hunters contribute over $3 billion of state and federal revenue annually through excise taxes, hunting and fishing licenses and fees.” The letter further explained that in addition to that core $3 billion, “expenditures on gear, supplies and travel generate more than $30 billion annually toward the American economy.” It reminded President Obama of the White House Conferences held by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and George Bush in bipartisan spirit. The object of the recommendations is to continue the conservation successes of the last century in the 21st century, hence the title of the booklet of recommendations, Wildlife for the 21st Century.
The title of each recommendation follows, but the substance of each is too large to include here. The booklet explains each recommendation thoroughly and includes “actions” to accomplish the recommendations. The full document can be viewed on Conservation Force’s website under Updates and Alerts at www.conservationforce.org/news.html. It is a worthwhile reading.
Conservation Force is a founding member of the AWCP. Dr. James Teer (deceased) and I attended the very first AWCP meeting in 2002 at Bob Model’s Mooncrest Ranch. Boone & Crockett was able to bring together nearly the entire hunting community in a meeting forum that continues today with a Chairmanship and Steering Committee that passes from organization to organization. The forum consists of America’s leading hunting-based conservation organizations but also The Wildlife Society, The Conservation Fund, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Catch a Dream Foundation, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Sand County Foundation, TreadLightly, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Trappers Association and an array of others with wildlife interest compatible with the hunting community.
Who says that the hunting community can’t work together for the common good? This is the 14th year of the AWCP forum and hardly a week goes by without information exchange and unified action. The current 10 recommendations of the AWCP include:
• Sustain and Promote our Nation’s Hunting Heritage with a Sportsmen’s Act and a Permanent Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council.
• Enhance Habitat on Federal Lands with Risk Assessment and Stewardship End Result Contracting Projects.
• Promote Access to Federal Lands for Hunting and Recreational Shooting.
• Help Achieve State Wildlife Population Goals through Federal Land Management and Coordinate with Other Governments on Large-Scale Plans.
• Enhance Private Land Hunting and Habitat Conservation by Reauthorizing the Farm Bill and Improving Tax and Water Policy.
• Fund Wildlife Conservation by Limiting Proportionate Reductions, Expanding User Pays-Public Benefits Policies, and Promoting Partnerships with the Private Sector.
• Improve Energy Development by Meeting State Wildlife Population Goals and Developing Guidelines for Siting Projects.
• Address Climate Change with Strategies to Aid Wildlife in Adapting.
• Address Wildlife Diseases and Invasive Species by Separating Wildlife and Domestic Animals on Federal Lands and Collaborating with States, Landowners, and Businesses.
• Update the Endangered Species Act by Enhancing the Science Basis in the Listing/Delisting Program.