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Multiple Use Information Resource Network - A link between the outdoor recreation community and federal and state agencies on matters of land use, conservation and administrative action that affect motorized recreation.
Updated: 20 hours 48 min ago

Restore the Antiquities Act’s Noble Vision

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:16
House Committee on Natural Resources

By: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources
October 11, 2017

In a Tuesday op-ed, I explained the constitutional threat posed by the Antiquities Act, and why its repeated abuse is inconsistent with the constitutional pillars of the rule of law and checks and balances. As it turns out, there's a reason the Founders chose these principles as the basis of our government: arbitrary rule has no incentive to be accountable to the people that policies affect. Without that accountability, political and ideological manipulation corrodes the balance of power.  

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Categories: Legislation

Antiquities Act is a Menace to Constitutional Government

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:59
House Committee on Natural Resources

By: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources

You heard it in your high school civics class: America has "a government of laws and not of men." The rule of law is the basis of the constitutional order erected by the Founders. "A government with unpredictable and arbitrary laws poisons the blessings of liberty itself." The first axiom is from John Adams, the second is from James Madison. Their sentiments were universal in the founding generation and ought to continue today. Checks and balances have no teeth when our leaders can disregard the laws and rule according to their whims.  

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Categories: Legislation

FWS Report Underscores Importance of Public Lands

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:25
New 5-Year Report Shows 101.6 Million Americans Participated in Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Activities - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Preliminary Findings Show Importance of Increasing Access to Public Lands

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching.

The survey illustrates gains in wildlife watching—particularly around the home—and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion—the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage. As a kid who grew up hunting and fishing on public lands who later took my own kids out on the same land, I know how important it is to expand access for future generations. Many folks east of the Mississippi River rely on friends with large acreages or pay high rates for hunting and fishing clubs. This makes access to wildlife refuges and other public lands more important.”

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and fishing tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers and wildlife watchers.

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments that call for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish and hike and experience the joy and beauty of these special places.

The survey, the 13th in a series conducted nearly every five years since 1955, shows that the most substantial increases in participation involve wildlife-watching—observing, feeding and photographing wildlife. The report indicates these activities surged 20 percent from 2011 to 2016, from 71.8 million to 86 million participants during that time. Expenditures by wildlife watchers also rose sharply—28 percent—between 2011 and 2016, from $59.1 billion to $75.9 billion. Around-the-home wildlife-watching increased 18 percent from 2011, from 68.6 million in 2011 to 81.1 million participants in 2016. More modest gains were made for away-from-home wildlife watchers: 5 percent increase from 2011 to 2016, from 22.5 million to 23 million participants.

More Americans also went fishing. The report indicates an 8 percent increase in angling participation since 2011, from 33.1 million anglers to 35.8 million in 2016. The greatest increases in participation—10 percent—were seen in the Great Lakes area. Total expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.

Hunting participation dropped by about 2 million participants but still remained strong at 11.5 million hunters. Total expenditures by hunters declined 29 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $36.3 billion to $25.6 billion. However, expenditures for related items such as taxidermy and camping equipment experienced a 27-percent uptick, and hunting trip-related expenses increased 15 percent.?

Regarding the decrease in participation in hunting, Zinke said: “Hunters and anglers are at the backbone of American conservation, so the more sportsmen and women we have, the better off our wildlife will be. Some of our wildlife refuges have great mentored hunting programs. I'd like to see these programs replicated and expanded across the country and reach into areas where kids don't traditionally get the opportunity to hunt, fish and? ?connect with wildlife. Some of my best family time growing up and raising my own kids was hunting an elk, enjoying a pheasant, or reeling in a rainbow. These are the memories and traditions I want to share with future generations.”

“No one does more for our wildlife and or wild places than hunters. Any decline in hunting numbers, real or perceived, is of great concern since hunting provides the lion’s share of funding for nationwide conservation work thanks to excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment that garner more than $1.6 annually,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The RMEF remains committed to growing and ensuring the future of our hunting heritage as well as elk, other wildlife and their habitat.”

This year’s survey also gathered two new categories of data: archery and target shooting. Findings show there are more than 32 million target shooters using firearms and 12.4 million people engaged in archery, not including hunting.

“Hunters and anglers form the foundation of wildlife conservation in the United States, consistently generating more funding for habitat and wildlife management than any other source,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “Industry, federal and state fish and wildlife agency initiatives that focus on hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation are crucial to sustaining these conservation dollars and ensuring the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity, access and awareness to pursue these time-honored American traditions.”

“I praise Secretary Zinke for his support of hunting and land access. The hunting and shooting sports community is grateful for an administration that recognizes the economic, recreational and traditional values of hunting and target shooting," said John Frampton, President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. "Although the numbers of hunters have declined, we are optimistic they will rebound as a result of Secretary Zinke's leadership, state wildlife agencies, non-government organizations and industries working together. Hunting in this country is not only part of our national heritage, it is an important to our country’s economy, as indicated by the expenditures in the survey.”

As a partnership effort with states and national conservation organizations, the survey has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. Federal, state and private organizations use this detailed information to manage wildlife, market products, and look for trends. Conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the survey is based on a 22,416-household sample surveyed through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews. 

For more information about the survey and to view the preliminary report, please visit https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/National_Survey.htm

Categories: Legislation

Bees are Critically Important to Humans, So Construct a Garden they Will Love

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:42
(Photo via Pixabay)

Honey bees are the greatest pollinators that farmers have, according to The Nature Conservancy. Unfortunately, bee colonies have been rapidly disappearing, and humans should know that they can do their part to create a bee haven in their own yard. There are many reasons – most of them largely speculative – as to why bee colonies are being abandoned by their inhabitants. But methods for preserving the bee population are proven. If certain measures are taken in gardening practices, we can help ensure that bees continue the pollination process so critical to man’s food supply.

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Categories: Legislation

EPA’s Top Tips for Breathing Easier in Hot, Smoky Conditions

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 14:33

Seattle (September 7, 2017) - Doctors and researchers agree: the biggest health threat posed by breathing smoke is from the fine particles, which can lodge deep in your lungs, making it difficult or impossible for your lungs to expel them naturally over time. These microscopic particles - 2.5 microns or smaller - can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, persistent coughing and can aggravate illnesses like asthma and bronchitis.

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Categories: Legislation

30 Years of Nitrogen Fertilization in Spruce-Fir Forest

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:20
High-elevation species still struggling

Rocks and sediments bind up almost 98 percent of all nitrogen. The remaining 2 percent is in motion, part of a global chemical cycle that includes humans, bacteria, plants, and the atmosphere.

“Plants need nitrogen to grow,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Steve McNulty. “However, excess nitrogen can harm plants.”

Nitrogen and sulfur can combine with oxygen to form nitrogen or sulfur oxides. These compounds become part of the atmosphere, where they react with water vapor and other elements. Eventually, the nitrogen and sulfur – now in the form of nitric and sulfuric acid – fall to the ground with the rain drops.

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Categories: Legislation

Public invited to release of California Condors

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:16
California CondorPublic invited to release of California Condors on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument  

VERMILION CLIFFS, Ariz. – California Condors will be released to the wild in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. The public is welcome to observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes will be set up and project personnel will be available to answer questions.  

The release coincides with National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance America’s public lands. National Public Lands Day involves the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, along with state and local governments and private groups.  

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Categories: Legislation

Volunteer for National Public Lands Day

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 12:40
Volunteers cleaning up

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Held every year on the last Saturday of September, National Public Lands Day brings together hundreds of thousands of individual, student and organizational volunteers to help maintain and restore America’s treasured places.

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Categories: Legislation

Endangered California condors roosting in western Sierras for first time in nearly 40 years

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 15:09

BLUE RIDGE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Calif. – For the first time in nearly forty years endangered California condors are roosting at Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Tulare County, California.

“Blue Ridge was created specifically for California condors, and to see them roosting there once again is a historic moment for us. As we grow the California condor population, their distribution continues to expand into their former range, which includes the Sierra foothills,” said Joseph Brandt, supervisory wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) in Ventura, California.

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Categories: Legislation

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Plan is working on the Landscape

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 09:10

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has released a new video demonstrating how the mitigation program in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan is successfully conserving habitat for this iconic grassland bird. The video documents work being done on a West Texas ranch that is being funded by industry participation in the plan. The video was produced through a partnership between WAFWA, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Pheasants Forever.

The range-wide plan allows industry to continue operations while reducing and mitigating impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat. Industry contributions support conservation actions implemented by participating private landowners. Pioneer Natural Resources is one of more than 160 companies that are enrolled in the plan.

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Categories: Legislation

Western Governors’ Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 09:20

Western Governors' on June 27, 2017 released the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative Special Report, highlighting mechanisms to bring states, federal land managers, private landowners and other stakeholders together to discuss issues and opportunities in forest and rangeland management.

In the report, experts and stakeholders from throughout the West share insights on land management practices and identify improvements that will enable western states to develop healthy, resilient landscapes and communities.

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Categories: Legislation

Aerial Surveys Confirm Lesser Prairie-Chicken Population is Holding Steady

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 13:50

The latest lesser prairie-chicken survey shows bird population trends remain stable after six years of aerial survey data collection. The survey indicates an estimated breeding population of 33,269 birds this year, up from 24,648 birds counted last year. Though scientists are encouraged by the numbers, they know that year-to-year fluctuations are the norm with upland birds like the lesser prairie-chicken.

“The survey results indicate a 34% increase in the number of birds, but we don’t read too much into short-term population fluctuations,” explained Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-chicken Program Manager. “The monitoring technique used for this survey is designed to track trends which more accurately reflect the amount of available habitat and population stability. The bottom line is that the population trend over the last five years indicates a stable population, which is good news for all involved in lesser prairie-chicken conservation efforts.”

Lesser-prairie chickens can be found in four ecoregions in five states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.  Wildlife biologists note prairie chicken numbers regularly fluctuate up and down from year to year due to changes in habitat conditions mainly influenced by weather patterns. The surveys this year indicated apparent population increases in three of the four ecoregions and range-wide, with an apparent decrease estimated in the fourth ecoregion.

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Categories: Legislation

Plague Confirmed at Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 13:35

June 30, 2017 - Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) near Muleshoe, Texas is informing the public that plague has been confirmed on the Refuge and is currently confined to two populations of prairie dogs.  For public safety, Paul’s Lake and the access road to the lake are temporarily closed to all public access.

Plague is widespread across the western United States and outbreaks are fairly common.  Caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, plague can be transmitted from animal to animal and from animal to human by the bites of infective fleas.

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Categories: Legislation

What They're Saying: Wildfire Crisis Edition

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:35

June 30, 2017 | House Committee on Natural Resources  

Thanks to years of neglect, the nation’s once flourishing federal forests have morphed into dense, dead and burned out wastelands. These overgrown, fire-prone thickets are increasingly susceptible to catastrophic wildfire, threatening the lives and livelihoods of countless communities. What’s even more disturbing than the escalating toll placed upon private property, human safety and the environment: it’s all preventable.

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Categories: Legislation

Mexican Wolf Draft Revised Recovery Plan Released for Public Comment

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 10:25

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft revision to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. The plan guides Mexican wolf recovery efforts by the bureau and its partners, with the ultimate goal of removing this wolf subspecies from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections and returning management to the appropriate states and tribes. The Service is now seeking public input and peer review on the draft revised plan through a public comment period and series of public meetings. The comment period will remain open through August 29, 2017.

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Categories: Legislation