Federal Conservation Package Introduced in House

The SCORE Act would continue to support conservation programsNational PF Press Release

Today, the four House leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Reps. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Gene Green (D-Texas), and Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), introduced the bipartisan “Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act,” or SCORE Act, in the 114th Congress. Combined with the previously introduced SHARE Act (HR 2406), these bills constitute a major victory for fish and wildlife habitat, and improved access for America’s hunters and anglers.

Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), all past chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, are also supporting SCORE.

“The sportsmen’s community can stand squarely behind this bill as a great step forward in protecting our ability to fund and implement the conservation of at-risk habitats, species, and access,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “It’s a great example of bipartisan legislation that addresses the needs of America’s hunters and anglers, and we’d like to see a lot more of that consensus.”

The bill contains seven provisions to reauthorize or implement legislation that helps fund conservation programs on federal and private lands, which boosts sportsmen’s access to quality hunting and fishing, including reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). Prior to its expiration in 2011, FLTFA had leveraged strategic federal land sales to fund 39 priority conservation projects, including many that expanded sportsmen’s access to world-class hunting and fishing opportunities.

“There is a lot to like in this legislation,” said Kameran Onley, director of U.S. government relations for
The Nature Conservancy. “It shows a significant bipartisan commitment to conservation and wildlife habitat protection, as well as sportsmen’s access and recreational opportunities that help grow our economy. We’re encouraged to see the bill include so many effective, fiscally-sound programs that provide both economic and conservation benefits.”

The Act would reauthorize two conservation grant programs with matched-dollar incentives: the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. Each federal dollar invested in these grant programs is matched, on average, three times over by non-federal dollars that have major on-the-ground impacts for the conservation of wetlands, waterfowl, and other wildlife. “Conserving and protecting our nation’s wetlands is at the core of
Ducks Unlimited,” said DU’s Chief Policy Officer Margaret Everson. “NAWCA funding is a critical component for DU to carry out our mission of conserving, restoring, and managing wetlands and habitats for North America’s waterfowl. We’re pleased this legislation calls for the reauthorization of these programs and appreciate the continued support for our community from Representatives Wittman, Walz, Duncan, and Green.”

Federal support will help continue to preserve and protect wetlands and other sensitive habitatsA provision often referred to as Making Public Lands Public, which has garnered significant bipartisan support as a standalone piece of legislation, is also a part of the package. It requires that 1.5 percent of annual Land and Water Conservation Fund monies be made available to establish and expand recreational access to federal public lands. “We are thrilled to see bi-partisan support for the SCORE Act, and we are particularly excited to see the ‘Making Public Lands Public’ provision included,” said Land Tawney, executive director for
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA). “Public lands are the cornerstone of our sporting heritage and public access to these lands is a priority for BHA. We look forward to swift action and ultimate passage of the SCORE Act. The steak has sizzled on the grill long enough—it’s time to set the table and pass a sportsmen’s package.”

SCORE includes a sense of Congressional support for the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, which was previously introduced in Congress in 2014 to improve fish habitat through partnerships that foster conservation projects or enhance recreational fishing opportunities. These partnerships would “support the economic significance of fish habitat resources and the recreational, subsistence, and commercial fishing linked to these resources in the United States.”

“The recreational fishing industry strongly supports and, in fact, depends on healthy fish habitat that provides abundant fish stocks, which are enjoyed by our nation’s 60 million anglers,” said Mike Leonard, ocean resource policy director for the
American Sportfishing Association and National Fish Habitat Partnership board member. “In addition to the other public access and habitat improvement provisions in this bill, we strongly support the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act and hope to see it advance in this Congress as part of a broader sportsmen’s package.”

Finally, Walz’s bill would reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a congressionally-chartered grant-making organization that works with public and private stakeholders, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife, which assists private landowners in preserving habitat for federally-managed species. "It's vitally important that Congress now pass the SCORE Act, so that these important conservation measures can continue and the investments the American public has made in wildlife conservation programs can reap rewards for years to come," said David Houghton, president of the
National Wildlife Refuge Association. "We're particularly pleased to see reauthorization of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, because this important program helps private landowners keep working lands working."

The
National Wild Turkey Federation also supports this legislation, which pairs well with their ‘Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt’ initiative. “This bill helps us protect habitat that supports wildlife and hunting access, thus protecting our hunting heritage for millions of Americans to enjoy,” said Becky Humphries, chief conservation officer for NWTF.

SHARE, which has also been supported by sportsmen’s groups, assures access for hunters and anglers, while SCORE seeks to improve habitat. Together, these bills assure a bright future for American sportsmen and women.

“The SCORE Act has major implications for wildlife habitat conservation in the United States and provides vital funding for partnership efforts to preserve and safeguard America’s outdoor traditions,” said Howard Vincent, president and CEO of
Pheasants Forever, Inc. “Pheasants Forever and its members urge Congress to swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation for our nation’s wild places, wildlife, and all who enjoy it.”

 

First Young Guns Day is Sun. 7/26

LCPF Press Release

Lyon County Pheasants Forever (LCPF) and the Redwood River Sportsman’s Club (RRSC) will be hosting the first of four Young Guns Days on Sunday, July 26 from 1 to 4 pm.  LCPF will cover the costs of all ammunition for 12 and 20 gauge shotguns, and provide ammo for the .22 rifles and .177 air rifles available for young shooters to try out on the range. The chapter will also cover the costs of clay targets if shooters want to try trap or skeet shooting at the RRSC facility, located 8 miles southeast of Marshall, Minn. Young shooters are encouraged to bring their own firearms, if they have them, or they will be able to use those contained in the Young Guns package which was awarded to LCPF in 2012 by Pheasants Forever’s Shooting Sports Initiative.  Participants can use Stoeger Air Rifles, Ruger .22 rifles and TriStar Viper 20 gauge shotguns from the Young Guns package.

“We’re happy to offer the Young Guns events again this year, as they are a great way to introduce young people to shooting sports and get kids actively involved in the outdoors,” said Nick Simonson, LCPF President.

Participants are requested to pre-register for the events and can do so by contacting Simonson at (507)829-9553 or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . All members of the family are invited and encouraged to attend the events to learn more about the fun of shooting sports and about all of the options available at RRSC for shooters of all ages.  Learn more by visiting LCPF on Facebook.

 

$4M in NAWCA Grants Awarded in MN & IA

$4 Million in NAWCA money has been allotted to help habitat in Minn. & IowaNational PF Press Release

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has awarded $4 million in North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants to Pheasants Forever and partners in Minnesota and Iowa. Grant resources from NAWCA, combined with matching funds from Pheasants Forever and partners, will help to fund multi-year initiatives to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands and upland habitat for pheasants, waterfowl and additional wildlife on 5,138 acres.

NAWCA funding accelerates stateside partnership efforts designed to improve conditions for wetlands and waterfowl. Key partners for the most recent funding cycle include the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund. “Partnerships are critical to the success of any large scale venture. This is a prime example of partnership by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Minnesota Legislature, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, Pheasants Forever, and numerous other dedicated collaborators,” stated Mark Johnson, executive director of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. “These large scale conservation measures will benefit our natural resources for future generations to enjoy."

Iowa/Minnesota Prairie Potholes Grant


The Prairie Pothole Region of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa is known to be highly productive for both agriculture and wildlife. Due to intense habitat conversion, drainage, and high land and commodity prices, only remnants of this once prolific landscape remain. The proposed grant funding, along with matching dollars from project partners, will accelerate wetland and upland habitat conservation by acquiring and restoring 1,832 acres for a host of wildlife species on public lands.

Partners for the Iowa/Minnesota Prairie Pothole grant include: Pheasants Forever, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Palo Alto County Conservation Board, Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, LeSueur River Seeding and Conservation, and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Southwest Wetland Initiative of Minnesota II Grant


This is the second phase of a multi-year initiative to accelerate the permanent protection of prairie-wetland complexes in southwest Minnesota. In addition, the project aims to ensure that Waterfowl Production Areas and Wildlife Management Areas are providing maximum benefits for pheasants, waterfowl, and other wetland-dependent species. During this phase, partners will permanently protect, restore, and enhance 2,040 acres of public land in Minnesota’s primary pheasant range.

Partners for the Southwest Wetland Initiative of Minnesota II Grant include: Pheasants Forever, Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Berens, Rodenberg and O’Connor, and the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources.

West Central Minnesota Wetlands Grant

Minnesota prairie wetlands – areas of high value for numerous plant and animal species including pheasants and waterfowl – have been converted in recent years with continued land use changes. In an attempt to reverse this trend, Pheasants Forever and partners will permanently protect 971 acres of prairie wetlands while building upon existing public wildlife complexes. Further, the proposal restores 294 acres of emergent wetlands and associated prairie grasslands important to breeding waterfowl and ring-necked pheasants.

Partners for the West Central Minnesota Wetlands grant include: Pheasants Forever, Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Sunway Inc, and Daniel Schmeig.

About NAWCA Grants

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Bird Habitat Conservation is responsible for facilitating the Act’s Grants Program.

 

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