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  • January 22, 2014

    EPA Report: Proposed Pebble Mine Would Destroy Fishery

    By Bob Marshall

    It’s hard to overstate the victory sportsmen and other environmentalists had over the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay last week, when the Environmental Protection Agency released its assessment on the impact that proposed operation would have on the treasured ecosystem. This headline from The Washington Post gives a succinct summary of that assessment: EPA: Mining would destroy fishery, villages, part of watershed in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

    Of course that’s what sportsmen, hunting and fishing lodge owners, environmental groups, commercial fishermen, and Native American organizations have been saying in the long struggle to keep this tragedy from happening. One of Earth’s most productive and still pristine ecosystems would be placed in mortal danger if this project ever went forward.

  • January 15, 2014

    Sportsmen's Groups Should Publish a Congressional Report Card

    By Bob Marshall

    My New Year's resolutions included the following pledges: Never avoid unpleasant subjects, but always suggest solutions.

    The following questions-and-answers are offered to honor those aims.

  • December 27, 2013

    BP Oil Spill Damage Continues in the Gulf

    By Bob Marshall

    The next time you hear politicians on Capitol Hill calling environmental regulations on the energy industry needless overkill on an industry that poses no serious threat to man or beast, please refer to the following two headlines from this week’s news:

    - More massive tar mats from BP oil spill discovered on Louisiana beaches

    - Dolphin Health 'Grave' After BP Oil Spill

    The Deepwater Horizon gusher was capped off the Louisiana coast almost 2.5 years ago, but as the folks in this neck of the marsh say, “The oil may have stopped flowing, but the spill isn’t over.”

    (Full disclosure: The wetlands of southeast Louisiana have been my playground, office, and place of worship most of my life.)

    No one on this coast is really surprised.

  • December 10, 2013

    Fifty Years Ago, the First Move to Save U.S. Wilderness

    By Bob Marshall

    In 2014, many outdoors groups will celebrate passage of one of the most important pieces of legislation ever for America's sportsmen—but I'm guessing most sportsmen won't be able to name it.

    It's The Wilderness Act, signed Sept. 3, 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson. The law included a legal definition of what the act set out to preserve:

    "A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

  • December 5, 2013

    U.S. Wetlands Are Disappearing Faster Than Ever, and We Just Watch

    By Hal Herring

    I am increasingly faced with problems that seem so very far beyond my capacity to solve them. I am almost relieved when some big problem comes flying at me that is real, clearly defined, and imminently solvable. If somebody tells me that we're out of firewood and it's about to get real cold, I've got a truck, gas and oil, an old but solid Husqvarna 262, and a Forest Service permit to cut a few cords of standing dead. I have a clear solution to the problem.

    The solution to our wetlands problem is clear as well.

  • November 22, 2013

    House Bills Remove Protections for Public Lands

    By Bob Marshall

    Do you think companies making billions drilling on your land should be required to abide by regulations to protect fish, wildlife, and habitat?
    Do you think the billions that sportsmen have invested in protecting and managing these lands and the huge industries and millions of jobs that depend on sensible regulations are important?
    Well, the answer from many in the House of Representatives to those two questions this week was a very loud “No!”

  • November 11, 2013

    Some In Congress Are Finally Paying Attention To Sportsmen

    By Bob Marshall

    It’s hard to believe after events of the last few months (see: government shutdown, sequester, conservation budget cuts) but this is just in: Congress deserves sportsmen’s praise!
    Well, maybe that’s a little over the top.
    The truth is, only some members of Congress deserve our praise so far--specifically, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who have packaged some long-overdue ideas to help fish, wildlife and sportsmen.
    Hagan is the lead author of the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions (SPORT) Act introduced this month, which includes some of the important items that were in Murkowski’s Sportsmen’s Act, which was introduced earlier this year.

  • October 30, 2013

    "Operation 111" Aims to Ensure Gulf Restoration Money Will Actually Help the Gulf

    By Bob Marshall

    Honey, as we all know, attracts bears. But it also attracts flies, ants, roaches and plenty of other things we don't really want around.

    Money for conservation efforts has a similar problem. It can attract serious conservation entities that will do great work for fish and wildlife habitat. But it can also attract unscrupulous developers, dissemblers and politically-connected hustlers who will take that money and use it for projects that have nothing to do with improving an ecosystem—except the one in their wallets.

  • October 21, 2013

    Everglades Reopens, and Everyone's Happy—Especially Florida Keys Guides

    By Mike Toth

    The government shutdown affected many Americans, but hit one group particularly hard—the backcountry fishing guides of the Florida Keys, who rely upon entry to Everglades National Park so their clients can cast for snook, redfish, seatrout, snappers and other species in a beautiful, remote, wild area.

    These 16-day closure directly affected the guides—who must buy annual permits that allow access to the Everglades—because if they can't fish, they can't take clients out. And unlike federal employees, there's no possibility of back pay. But it also took away another element.

  • October 18, 2013

    Crucial Wetlands Report Is Overshadowed by Government Shutdown

    By Bob Marshall

    We've just lived through more proof that politics is part of the wider ecosystem that determines the health of fish and wildlife habitat. Here's why.

    No sooner had President Obama signed the bill ending the government shutdown than groups began putting their calculators to the cost of that terrible bit of politics to the nation's businesses. The figures quickly jumped into the double-digit billions. But while many of those businesses can regain lost revenue, sportsmen and others concerned about conservation will never recover from the impacts suffered. That's because every day we delay addressing the causes of lost fish and wildlife habitat means acres removed forever.