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  • May 30, 2012

    Conservation Update: Sportsmen Stress Importance of Living Within Our Environmental Means

    By Bob Marshall

    "Living within our means" is a phrase and idea that no one has been able to escape during the last few years, as the economy tanked and the national debt climbed. The phrase has become the political battle cry du jour, one few would disagree with.

    Unfortunately, the same sense of prudence hasn't been as popular among politicians when it comes to the environment. Many instead favor over-spending public lands and waters, a risky policy that has much of the nation's remaining premiere fish and wildlife habitat on the edge of debasement.

  • May 29, 2012

    Hero for a Day 2012: Constructing a Water Source for California Big Game

  • May 25, 2012

    BREAKING NEWS: Recent Signups Keep CRP Acreage Near Cap

    By Bob Marshall

    Fish, wildlife and sportsmen got good news Friday when Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, announced recent and future sign-ups of 5.65 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program, keeping that keystone conservation program close to its current authorized cap of 32 million acres.

    But in an interview with Field & Stream, Vilsack also urged sportsmen to keep the momentum going by urging their congressmen - particularly House members - not to swing the budget axe on conservation funding in the new Farm Bill currently under consideration.

  • May 22, 2012

    Hero for a Day 2012: Assessing the Health of an Ohio River Tributary

  • May 22, 2012

    Conservation Update: Report Shows Energy Companies Sitting on 70 Percent of Leases

    By Bob Marshall

    Sportsmen's groups got some new ammunition in their fight against the energy industry's push to open more public fish and wildlife habitat to development: A new Department of Interior report shows that 70 percent of public areas under lease by energy companies currently are "inactive" - meaning they are neither producing energy or part of an approved or pending development plans.

    This helps put the lie to claims by energy's friends in Congress that public lands "locked up" for fish and wildlife are creating a supply problem causing high gas prices.

  • May 15, 2012

    Conservation Update: Sportsmen's Groups Step Up Campaign for Sodsaver

    By Bob Marshall

    Some critics of my posts occasionally claim to see a hidden political agenda when I report specific actions by specific politicians and parties that threaten serious damage to programs that protect the resources supporting our sports. Some even believe I exaggerate the support from hunting and fishing groups for those programs and protections.

    For this post, I'll let the nation's hunters and anglers speak for me.

    In this case the issue is "Sodsaver," a feature of the Farm Bill that has protected our precious but dwindling base of upland cover since 1985. It doesn't cost taxpayers anything. It works by telling farmers they will lose government subsidies if they decide to plant land that hasn't felt a plow in at least 20 years. Yet there are some in Congress who would see it weakened or killed.

  • May 15, 2012

    Hero for a Day 2012: Building a New Shell Reef in Tampa Bay

    Tampa Bay Watch volunteers bagged two tons of oyster shells and laid them down to form a new reef, which will reverse erosion from boat wakes and wave action. For more information, visit our Hero For a Day page.

  • May 11, 2012

    House Goes After Trout Stream Protections--Again

    by Bob Marshall

    Are they crazy or brilliant?

    That's a question Trout Unlimited and a growing number of sportsmen are asking about the House leadership after it launched yet another attempt to block a proposed new wetlands guidance that could restore protection to millions of acres of wetlands, including headwaters of trout streams across the West.

    The latest effort comes from the House Appropriations Committee, which voted along party lines for a measure that would prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from spending any money to implement the guidance, expected to be issued by the Obama Administration in the next few months.

    Two House GOP budgets previously contained similar policy directives, neither of which made it through Congress. But the fact this try came so late in the game – and from a different vector – makes many conservationists nervous.

  • May 9, 2012

    Remembering What the Dust Bowl Taught Us About the Importance of Conservation

    By Chad Love

    Some readers may recall a blog post I wrote a couple years ago wherein I opined that one of the most transformative events for the future of hunting and fishing in this country occurred in the swirling, dust-choked winds of the southern plains on April 14, 1935.

    Your humble scribe wrote...

    April 14th marks the 75th anniversary of an event that, while almost completely forgotten today, probably did as much as anything else to improve hunting and fishing in a large part of the country. Everyone, of course, is familiar with the term "Dust Bowl." But it was the unbelievable dust storm that hit the southern plains on April 14, 1935, "Black Sunday", that inspired the term. So where's the connection between hunting, fishing, and Black Sunday? It jarred our national conservation consciousness in a way nothing else ever had.

  • May 8, 2012

    Conservation Update: Colorado Roadless Areas One Step Closer to Protection--Maybe

    By Bob Marshall

    While some Western congressmen may be trying to "release" roadless and wilderness areas, sportsmen in their home states cheered last week as the Colorado roadless rule to protect such habitat moved one step closer to completion.

    The Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership praised the release of the U.S. Forest Service's final environmental impact statement of that rule in a combined statement that said "while citing the need for final refinements called this version an "on-target plan for managing more than 4 million acres of public lands." The rule can become law in 30 days.

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