What Are You Doing During Summer Recess?

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

You’re Invited to a Conversation about Arctic NWR

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.

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