Outdoor News Bulletin

Outdoor News Bulletin

March 2020 Edition | Volume 74, Issue 3 | Published since 1946

Steve Williams' Welcome and Opening Remarks at the 85th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference

Welcome to the 85th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. I want to thank all the state agency, federal agency, non-governmental organizations, businesses, industries, and exhibitors for your participation and financial support to make this conference successful. Thank you, Jim Douglas, for the welcome to Nebraska – a special place in the heartland of America. Finally, I would like to welcome Aurelia Skipworth, the new Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Aurelia, we are honored that you could make time in your busy schedule to participate in this conference.

Read more >

Senate Expected to Move LWCF, Deferred Maintenance Package After President Signals Support

After decades of work, it appears that full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) may become a reality. In early March, President Trump tweeted his support for a package that would include mandatory spending for LWCF along with funding for public lands deferred maintenance. U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Richard Burr (R-NC) followed by introducing the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) on March 10. While the bill was expected to be fast-tracked in the Senate later this month, the uncertainty that has developed with the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make significant changes to the legislative calendar.

Read more >

Northern Latitudes Partnerships Promote Environmental and Economic Sustainability in Alaska and Canada

Three diverse partnerships are promoting sustainable environments and communities across Alaska and northwestern Canada. The Aleutian-Bering Sea Initiative (ABSI) and Northwest Boreal Partnership (NWBP) are successors to Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) established in 2011. Along with the Western Alaska LCC (WALCC) these partnerships have continued to operate, with support from the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), the Alaska Conservation Foundation (ACF), and Volgenau Family Foundation following the withdrawal of support for LCCs by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 2017. ABSI, NWBP, and the WALCC continue to contribute vital information and conservation products for their members. For example, ABSI designed Geo-fences in Alaska’s arctic marine waters in partnership with industry, agencies, and tribes to help redirect shipping to protect vital marine mammal habitat and reduce the risk of vessel grounding, oil spills, or illegal entry into Alaska. The NWBP published Drivers of Landscape Change in the Northwest Boreal Region, a comprehensive synthesis of the science related to resource management and climate adaptation across 1.3 million square kilometers in Alaska and northwest Canada. The WALCC is facilitating collaborative projects to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise, loss of permafrost, and changing ice dynamics on critical migratory bird habitat and communities along Alaska’s west coast. Steering Committees from the three partnerships met recently in Anchorage to develop strategies to seek programmatic funding to support the collaboration essential to landscape scale conservation across the region.

Read more >
Cooperative Research Unit Corner

New Habitat Suitability Maps for At-Risk Herpetofauna Species in the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

Five at-risk species of herpetofauna – the gopher tortoise, gopher frog, striped newt, southern hognose snake, and Florida pine snake – have been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are the subjects of conservation planning efforts of federal, state, and other partners in the Southeast. To inform listing and conservation decisions, the USGS Georgia Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit developed habitat suitability models to characterize and map habitat suitability across each species’ range. Through a collaborative effort, the researchers are using field data and advanced modeling approaches to predict current habitat conditions for each species to inform listing decisions and conservation planning. The spatial data describing the habitat conditions have been released on ScienceBase.

Read more >