resources for promoting the interest of Friends and refuges with the community and with decision-makers

ADVOCACY CHAMPIONS

  • Post category:Advocacy
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Many people believe that nonprofit organizations are not allowed to advocate or lobby. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonprofits like Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex use advocacy, and on occasion lobbying, to help meet their mission of support for the refuge complex and the system of refuges across the nation. Friends are the Advocacy Champions of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Photo Credit: City of Tualatin

During the past year, Friends of Tualatin River NWR have been actively involved in monitoring and speaking out on both local and national concerns that impact our local refuge and the refuge system. At the local level, Friends and FWS Staff at the refuge and regional level have continued to monitor efforts to create a rock quarry on Tonquin Rd in Sherwood, just feet away from one of the few pristine units of our refuge. The Tonquin Road area was shaped by the Missoula floods about 15,000 years ago when an ice dam broke in western Montana and changed the land in the Northwest. Following public comment, the State requested further information from the owners. The deadline for that response is September 30, 2020. Friends will continue to work with FWS to document concerns regarding the negative impacts that a quarry in the proposed location can have on our refuge.

Monitoring the impacts of different land uses adjacent to or around the refuge are important to supporting our mission. As we strive to protect the natural, historical, and cultural, resources of the refuge we are also protecting them for your communities.

“Throughout my Service career, I was continually reminded of the value of friends and Friends organizations, and the important voice they give through advocacy (and yes, that includes “lobbying”) that career Service employees are restricted from doing. Friends are private citizens, and they have all the rights and privileges of citizenship, including the constitutional right to petition their government.” — Dan Ashe, Former Director of US Fish and Wildlife

Resources:
What is Advocacy?
https://bolderadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/What_Is_Advocacy.pdf

What is Lobbying Under the 501(h) Election?
https://www.bolderadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/What_is_lobbying.pdf

Influencing Legislation – Taking the 501(h) election
https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/taking-the-501h-election

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What Are You Doing During Summer Recess?

  • Post category:Advocacy
  • Reading time:2 mins read
Photo credit: Alex Galt/USFWS

Traditionally, August is a time for members of Congress to head home and work in their district or state. This year because of the need for a fifth coronavirus relief package, those plans are in turmoil.

When your legislators are in the district or state, it is a perfect time to get them out to your refuge or hatchery to thank them for the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The Act boosts funding to reduce the maintenance backlogs on public lands and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a tool to conserve landscapes and invest in parks and outdoor recreation.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to discuss with your board and Service staff about inviting your members of Congress to your site. It’s an opportunity for you to show them why you give your time to your refuge/hatchery and why it is an asset to your community.

If you have never requested a meeting with your members of Congress then check out the advocacy webinars created by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends.

The second webinar in the advocacy series addresses how to make and prepare for a meeting with legislators. Friends, check out the weinar and if you have questions or need advice let us know.

Resources:
Great American Outdoors Act https://bit.ly/3itPc9T

Land and Water Conservation Fund https://bit.ly/2FflNCf

Recording of webinar https://bit.ly/2DXGxxq

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You’re Invited to a Conversation about Arctic NWR

  • Post category:Advocacy
  • Reading time:1 mins read
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation’s most majestic public lands, home to the Porcupine Caribou Herd, denning polar bears, musk oxen, wolves, and nearly 200 species of migratory birds. Its biological heart, the coastal plain, is no place for oil and gas development. 
 
As goes that Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, could go any refuge. Joining the effort to protect the Arctic Refuge, in turn prepares refuge advocates to protect their local refuge.  The National Wildlife Refuge Association is hosting a series of conversations designed to educate and engage refuge friends groups through an online discussion.  Please join Kristen Berry for a one hour online discussion to learn how you can help. 
 
We are offering several sessions that you and other refuge advocates can join in order to get the latest information and support in finding out the best ways you can contribute your voice to the effort to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. These will be small, intimate groups where you can ask questions and learn how you can join the fight.
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Expanding Hunting & Fishing at Refuges & Hatcheries

On April 9th the Administration announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing across more than 2.3 million acres at 97 wildlife refuges and 9 national fish hatcheries. This proposed rule would create approximately 900 distinct new hunting and fishing opportunities. A chance to hunt or fish an additional species at a particular refuge or hatchery is defined as an new opportunity.

The proposed rule also continues the Administration’s effort toward revising U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s hunting and fishing regulations so they more closely align with the state regulations where a refuge is located. When additional regulations are need for safety or conservation compatibility reasons then the Service will try to ensure that these regulations are consistent on all refuges in a particular state.

To see if your local refuge or hatchery will be impacted by this proposed change go to the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/09/2020-06258/2020-2021-station-specific-hunting-and-sport-fishing-regulations. Scroll down the document to Table 1 to see if and how your refuge or hatchery will be affected or view an online list and map.

You, as a member of the public, are encouraged to comment on this proposed rule. To submit your comments go to the Federal Register https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/09/2020-06258/2020-2021-station-specific-hunting-and-sport-fishing-regulations and click on the “Submit A Formal Comment” green tab. The deadline for submitting your comments is Monday, June 8, 2020.

The Service’s press release about this rule is available at https://bit.ly/2Vno6rm.

Photo credit: Chuck Traxler/USFWS

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Stand Up, Speak Out

  • Post category:Advocacy
  • Reading time:3 mins read

A little over a year ago we woke to the unthinkable, a militia group was occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Fortunately the occupation ended and this week four more defendants go on trial. But the assault on public lands continues.

town-meeting-feature-imageSome members of Congress with extreme views on public lands are proposing more formidable threats in the form of legislation and thankfully the Refuge Association’s Action Alerts keeps us informed. We as Friends need to take action, we need to get in front of your legislators.

I’ve been fortunate to hear from hundreds of Friends members and you all have at least one thing in common – you are passionate about your refuge. I saw this passion in Tim Blount, when as the Executive Director of the Friends of Malheur, went to the Hill last January and spoke to his congressional team and the natural resources and judiciary committees. He demonstrated that his commitment to the refuge went far beyond its boundaries to include the community and the entire Refuge System.

Like Tim we all need to speak up for our refuge, community, and the Refuge System. Next week members of Congress will be in their districts for a week-long recess. Please join in contacting their offices and ask him/her when and where their next town hall forum will be. If they don’t know, ask to be added to their email list so you’ll get notices of future meetings. If you need their phone numbers go to Senate and/or Representative.

Gather a few Friends and go to the town hall forum. We can make a difference. Ask them questions to solicit their support for public lands and in particular for your refuge. We can use the message the Refuge Association sent on February 7th to formulate a question such as:

I and many of your constituents value our public lands and urge you to oppose any legislation that seeks to transfer the title or management of our public lands or legislation that would harm the National Wildlife Refuge System. These lands, like our local ______ National Wildlife Refuge, are incredibly important not just for wildlife, but also for all Americans to whom they belong. Will you commit to voting to keep our public lands public and our Refuge System safe and secure?

Try to get a video of their response and please post your experience on Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates Facebook group. This information will be helpful as we work together to support the Refuge System.

Fellow Friends members please make sure you are receiving the Refuge Association’s Action Alerts and GO to your representatives town hall forum and STAND up for you refuge. Let your representatives and everyone else at the forum know how important these public lands are to you and your community. Thanks.

 Joan Patterson is the former Director of Grassroots Outreach of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and has served on the Friends boards at Tualatin River, Potomac River and the Duck Stamp/Migratory Bird.

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