Recreational Hunting and Wildlife
Conservation Plan Released
In December, the Sporting Conservation Council (a federal advisory committee) and diverse partners from agencies and conservation organizations released a 10-year plan, “Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation.”
The plan was a product of executive order 13443, issued by President Bush in 2007, that directed Federal agencies to “facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.” The order first spurred a White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy in October of 2008. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) authored the actions in the 10-year plan after considering the goals and recommendations generated by conference attendees.
The plan included 58 actions that addressed diverse conservation-related goals. The plan broadly recommended increasing conservation funding and improving habitat conservation. It also promoted increasing understanding of the effects of climate change on wildlife and conserving wildlife while developing energy on public land. Specific habitat actions recommended in the plan included creating a grasslands conservation initiative and creating a national strategy to coordinate the placement of wind farms and transmission lines with needs of early successional wildlife species.
The plan included actions broadly aimed at preserving our hunting heritage, such as expanding access to public and private land, promoting hunter recruitment and retention, and helping state, federal and tribal agencies coordinate harvest management programs. Some initiatives focused on sportsmen and women included establishing an all-inclusive informational website on hunting on federal land and reviewing liability rules for landowners that open their property to the public.
Although the Obama administration has not yet indicated how they will use the 10-year plan, if at all, a Bush administration CEQ official has indicated the plan is being considered by the new administration.