• Quail, California - Photo Credit California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Sea Turtles, Texas - Photo Credit Texas Parks and Wildlife
  • Coyote, Alberta Canada - Photo Credit Gordon Court
  • Black Billed Magpie, Colorado - Photo Credit Wayne D. Lewis

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Ken Mayer has been involved in sagebrush conservation issues for 30 years and now serves as the Coordinator of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Fire and Invasive Initiative. He also serves as the Chairman of the WAFWA Fire and Invasive Working Group.

You might be the anomaly these past few summers and falls if you live in the western United States and can see a horizon clear of brown smudge from the smoke of the pervasive wildfires. The news is saturated with the reports of devastating blazes and taxed fire-fighting resources across the West. The immensity of these fire seasons is overwhelming. So many of us in the conservation community have heavy hearts when we think about environmental and human costs involved in these wildfires, especially the effect on the local communities and all our state, federal, industry, non-profit, and other partners that are directly and indirectly involved in fighting these fires and then dealing with the aftermath of the invasion on non-native invasive annual grasses.

We have slid into a self-fulfilling cycle in sagebrush country where large fires burn huge swaths of sagebrush (especially in the Great Basin), and invasives grasses then fill in that fire’s scar.  The smallest spark can ignite those fine fuels, just as soon as they’ve dried out each summer. Sagebrush takes decades to grow back into their native locations after fire. Unfortunately, the speed at which invasive annual grasses take over doesn’t give the sagebrush a chance, and if the same area burns again soon after (which often happens), the sagebrush is virtually eliminated, resulting in the conversion to an invasive annual grass savanna.

If you went to the doctor and they said you have cancer, but it’s still early stage, what do you do? It’s all-hands-on-deck to try all the treatments to cure it before it progresses too far--right? You wouldn’t wait for the invention of a single cure-all pill to start fighting. Cheatgrass and other invasive annual grasses have to be treated the same way. We cannot wait until we have the perfect solution to start addressing this pending natural disaster. If we wait, it may be too late!

Though we all get excited about the next cheatgrass-killing bacteria or biocontrol, we have a number of tools in our toolbox right now to fight this invasive spread. One small tool came out this spring when the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released a report assessing the fire and invasive management options for sagebrush conservation. The “Wildfire and Invasive Plant Species in the Sagebrush Biome: Challenges that Hinder Current and Future Management and Protection – A Gap Report Update” builds on previously published work to summarize the policy, fiscal, and science challenges that land managers encounter in conserving sagebrush, especially regards to the invasive annual grass/fire cycle.

The goal of this Gap Analysis Report Update is to provide a roadmap, for the decision-makers responsible for managing the sagebrush sea, to the challenges and the tools available to address this crisis.  This report points out what the problems are, what successes we are having, and the gaps we need to address, with suggestions on what needs to be done.. This report is being embraced throughout the conservation community, however we need to continue to elevate this to the decisions makers.

The top five gaps are organized in term of priority and severity. The first and most pressing gap can be summarized as the lack of capacity, common conservation priorities and consistent long-term dedicated (line-item) funding for invasive plant management programs. In other words, the cost of managing these infestations increases exponentially as invasives spread. The funding appropriated each year to government programs is often barely enough to cover base salaries.

Reading of the seemingly insurmountable challenges sagebrush country faces can be depressing, especially as we breathe this smoky August air. Yet, the development of this multiagency report has been one of the most productive collaborations I’ve been involved with in my career. We know the problems and we have tools to work on them. Invasives are going to win if we hesitate. We do not have time to wait. Now we just have to have the fortitude and shared vision to get it done.

By Ken Mayer

ken.e.mayer@gmail.com

As part of the 2018 People of the Sage: Fire & Invasives series, this article is telling the stories of the people combating the twin threats of wildfire and invasive species by showcasing their work in sagebrush country using innovative, successful conservation practices that are both proactive and reactive. To see more posts from this series search for #SagebrushCountry and #fireANDinvasives on social media.

 

 

Posted by WAFWA at 8/27/2018 9:51:00 PM
Monday, August 13, 2018

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is awarding $232,640 in grant funding for eight projects that benefit native trout species across the western United States. The community-based projects are funded through the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The projects were selected because of their emphasis on collaborative action to address some of the biggest challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.

"Our main objectives are to leverage and support strategic, local efforts that stabilize, recover and improve populations of western native trout,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “In addition to the grant funding we’re providing through the National Fish Habitat Partnership, local partners have secured additional matching funds totaling $2.33 million dollars for these projects.”

The following native trout habitat projects have been approved for funding by WNTI for 2018:

COLORADO: Rock Creek Recovery Program Phases 3 and 4
This project will create a connected population of Greenback Cutthroat Trout across Rock Creek and its tributary Black Canyon, eliminate whirling disease from a portion of the drainage where it is established, and provide seven stream miles for native trout on a combination of private land and National Forest. The project includes an innovative approach to intermediate barriers, featuring two temporary barriers that can be removed and replaced as needed, along with one permanent barrier at the downstream end of the project reach. The lead partner is Colorado Trout Unlimited.

IDAHO: Kootenai River GMU Redband Assessment
This project seeks to improve the current level of knowledge regarding Interior Redband Trout distribution and abundance in the Kootenai River Basin and provide information critical for the protection and or restoration of Redband Trout populations and their habitat in the basin. The lead partner is Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

IDAHO: Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project, Phase 2
This is the second phase of a project to improve riparian conditions and habitat for Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, northern leatherside chub, boreal toad, western pearl shell mussels and bluehead suckers. The lead partner is Trout Unlimited.

NEW MEXICO: Leandro Creek Restoration Project
The project will isolate and extend 2.5 miles of current habitat for a core Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout population with an additional 5.25 miles of habitat on Leandro Creek through construction of a new barrier to replace an aging wooden barrier and control of non-native salmonids. The lead partner is Turner Enterprises, Inc.

OREGON: Deep Creek Town Diversion Fish Passage
Restoring fish passage for Warner Lakes Redband Trout and Warner Sucker is the focus of this project, which will complete a fish passage solution for a diversion dam that has been an upstream fish passage barrier for over 100 years. The lead partner is Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council.

OREGON: Wood River Ditch Fish Screen
This project will eliminate entrainment of native fishes while ensuring water delivery to private landowners and water users by installing a functioning fish screen and energy efficient irrigation pumps, representing an important step in protecting Redband Trout populations in the upper Klamath basin. The lead partner is Trout Unlimited.

WYOMING: Coal Creek Bank Stabilization and Sediment Reduction
This project benefits an important Bonneville Cutthroat Trout stream in western Wyoming by improving riparian and aquatic habitat condition and function, reducing sediment loading, enhancing stream habitat connectivity, and improving road function. The lead partner is Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

WYOMING: West Pass Creek Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Restoration
This multi-phased project involves removing nonnative trout and establishing a temporary fish barrier to protect a pure population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. Completion of subsequent phases will expand native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout to a 6-mile stream network, and will boost recruitment and the resiliency of the species in the West Pass Creek drainage. The lead partner is Wyoming Game and Fish Department.


WNTI is an initiative of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that seeks to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed almost $5 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with an additional $19 million public and private matching dollars for 123 priority native trout conservation projects. 

For more information about these projects, visit https://westernnativetrout.org/2018-funded-projects/

Media Contact:
Therese Thompson (303) 236-4402
tthompson@westernnativetrout.org

Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Posted by WAFWA at 8/14/2018 4:50:00 AM
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Partnership will benefit trout in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming

Resources Legacy Fund is partnering with the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) through the Open Rivers Fund to reconnect parts of the Upper Bear River in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The partnership will benefit Bonneville cutthroat trout, recreational fishing, and ranchers who divert water for irrigation. The partnership will ultimately fund eight restoration projects that will remove five diversion dams, three additional barriers and restore stream and riparian habitat.                                   

The projects funded through the Open Rivers Fund are expected to be completed by early next summer. The Open Rivers Fund is a 10-year, $50 million program of Resources Legacy Fund, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It supports local community efforts to remove obsolete dams, modernize infrastructure, and restore rivers across the West. Resources Legacy Fund works with donors to create significant outcomes for the environment and for people.

Resources Legacy Fund granted $278,000 this summer to WNTI to remove three agricultural diversion dams on the Upper Bear River in Wyoming, and replace them with fish passable structures that also maintain the ranchers’ points of diversion. Two more diversion dam removal and replacement projects in Idaho are in the planning stages. Three additional projects in Wyoming and Utah are contemplated next year following completion of the initial projects.

“Our partnership with Western Native Trout Initiative will demonstrate ways to both upgrade irrigation infrastructure and reconnect rivers for fish,” said Kathy Viatella, Program Officer for the Open Rivers Fund. “We hope these initial projects show ranchers across the West that there are ways to reduce irrigation diversion maintenance and costs while freeing native species to reclaim lost habitat.”

Multiple irrigation diversion structures and other barriers fragment the Upper Bear River drainage, which spans Northern Utah, Southeast Idaho, and Southwest Wyoming.  WNTI is working with many partners to remove and replace aging infrastructure in order to protect Bonneville cutthroat trout strongholds, restore habitat connectivity, and open up access to high-quality upstream habitats and cold, clean water on both public and private lands.

“We are thrilled about this new collaboration between WNTI and Resources Legacy Fund that will benefit native fish, landowners, and recreationists in the Upper Bear River drainage,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “Successfully addressing native trout recovery is a landscape-scale problem that requires collaboration from all interested parties in both the public and private sectors.”

WNTI is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a recognized National Fish Habitat Partnership that works to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species and sub-species across their historic range. The program funds efforts that raise awareness of the importance of native trout and focus limited financial and human resources toward the highest-impact, locally-led, on-the-ground projects.  Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed over $5 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with an additional $23 million public and private matching dollars for 139 priority native trout conservation projects.  With the collaboration and coordination of WNTI Partners, 87 barriers to fish passage have been removed, 1,130 miles of native trout habitat have been reconnected or improved, and 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout conservation populations have been put in place.

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Media Contact:
Therese Thompson
303.236.4402
tthompson@westernnativetrout.org

Photo Credit: Jason Jaacks – Resources Legacy Fund

 

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

 

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Posted by WAFWA at 8/8/2018 3:43:00 AM
Monday, July 16, 2018

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has honored conservation professionals from several western states with awards commending their work to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The awards were announced July 16 at WAFWA's annual conference, held this year in Eugene, Oregon.

John D. Groendyke from Oklahoma was honored with WAFWA’s most prestigious award, the Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award.  Groendyke was honored for his more than four decades of leadership on the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. Since his first appointment to the Commission in 1976, Groendyke has demonstrated an incredible commitment to fish and wildlife resources and has participated in nearly every major conservation decision or initiative in the state of Oklahoma during that timeframe. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin reappointed Groendyke to the Commission for a historic fifth term in 2012, and stated how remarkable it is that he has continuously served under seven governors for both the Republican and Democratic parties. The award Groendyke received is named for Phillip W. Schneider of Oregon, whose legendary commitment to fish and wildlife resources spanned more than 40 years in a career in which he served as director of the state’s game and fish agency, and later as a commissioner and commissioner emeritus of Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Wyoming Game Warden Dustin Shorma was honored with WAFWA’s Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award for his dedication to duty. He’s been a game warden for more than 18 years and is widely recognized as being one of the hardest-working, effective and most dedicated wildlife officers in Wyoming. He’s known for his attention to detail in building cases that can be successfully prosecuted. He uses technology to help crack complex cases and shares that knowledge. His leadership and mentoring have had a profound impact on wildlife law enforcement in Wyoming. Shorma’s work ethic and personable, friendly demeanor have gained him the respect and appreciation of landowners and sportsmen and women throughout his district. He serves as a model for landowner relations, law enforcement, and responsible wildlife management which together garner public support for the conservation work of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award memorializes Idaho Fish and Game officers Bill Pogue and Conley Elms, who were killed in January 1981 while trying to arrest a poacher in a remote region of southwestern Idaho.

There were two honorees for WAFWA’s 2018 Professional of the Year Award. Doug Howie was recognized for his consistent professionalism and resourcefulness in administering North Dakota’s Private Lands Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program.  PLOTS is one of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s highest profile programs, and Howie is a critical player in its success. PLOTS is widely recognized as one of the most successful access programs in the country, and Howie’s dedication has impacted thousands of sportsmen and women.

Jason Schooley was honored with WAFWA’s 2018 Professional of the Year Award for his contributions in managing Oklahoma paddlefish stocks based on sound scientific data, population modeling, and angler input. He’s been widely published, and shares information with anglers across the world via websites. He regularly speaks to angling groups to share his knowledge of paddlefish and general fisheries biology and ecology. Because of his efforts, the Oklahoma Paddlefish Research Center is known to anglers and scientists world-wide as a valuable asset to science-based paddlefish stock management.

WAFWA honors the conservation efforts of federal partners with the Federal Conservation Partner of the Year Award. This year’s recipient was the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma, which was honored for its commitment to natural resource conservation. The facility covers 45,000 acres, encompassing timberland, grasslands, brush land and aquatic habitat and wetlands. While meeting its military mission, the ammunition plant does an exemplary job of stewarding the natural resources within the facility boundaries. Quality deer management, agricultural outlease, invasive species control and pest management, threatened and endangered species, wetlands rehabilitation, and public outreach are the major components of the program.

Other awards conferred included the President's Award, which went to the Intermountain West Joint Venture. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission was honored with the Commission of the Year Award. Julie Meka Carter, Jon Sjöberg and Therese Thompson were recognized for their work with the Western Native Trout Initiative with the WAFWA Contributor of the Year Award. Tony Rodgers and Matt Skogg received a Special Achievement Award for their work to implement a new streams management program in Oklahoma. Jeff Tibbits (OK) and Tom Mackin (AZ) were each honored with WAFWA’s 2018 Special Recognition Award. WAFWA recognized the Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor by honoring Joshua Coursey and Joey Faigl from Wyoming.  WAFWA also conferred lifetime membership awards to four individuals for their career accomplishments and service to the organization: Kevin Hunting (CA), Edward (Pat) Madden (AZ), Ross Melinchuk (TX) and Jim Unsworth (WA).

 

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/
 

 

Contact: Larry Kruckenberg 307.631.4536
larry.kruckenberg@wafwa.org

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Posted by WAFWA at 7/16/2018 9:51:00 PM
Monday, May 21, 2018

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has released a new report that provides a comprehensive assessment of fire and invasive management options for the conservation of sagebrush in the western United States. The report was produced by a multi-agency Wildfire and Invasive Species Working Group and updates a gap analysis report published five years ago. It includes an overview of remaining work to be accomplished, with recommendations for actions to improve the conservation and management of the sagebrush biome.

The report is titled “Wildfire and Invasive Plant Species in the Sagebrush Biome: Challenges that Hinder Current and Future Management and Protection – A Gap Report Update.” It builds on work published in 2013 that summarized the policy, fiscal, and science challenges that land managers have encountered in conserving sagebrush, especially regarding control and reduction of the invasive annual grass/fire cycle.

“This Gap Report Update is the latest addition to the list of products developed by the multi-agency working group that are designed to help identify the conservation challenges, or gaps, associated with the fire and invasive threat to sagebrush and offer ideas to address those challenges,” said Ken Mayer, WAFWA consultant and chairman of the working group. “The Gap Report Update identifies the five top challenges that need focused attention to address the pervasive invasive annual grass driven wildfire cycle that has gripped the western rangelands.”

Researchers documented that the number one conservation issue facing the western sagebrush rangelands is the lack of program capacity and necessary structure for invasive plant management at all levels of government. Specifically, the report states that the severely limited capacity for invasive plant prevention, early detection and rapid response to control and manage invasive plants, along with regulatory activities and associated native plant restoration operations, is directly tied to the lack of common conservation priorities and consistent long-term dedicated funding for invasive plant management programs. The report identified five top priority gaps and 17 areas of concern that will help all agencies and organizations working on sagebrush conservation to better focus on the major challenges.

“The Gap Report Update has something for every level, public and private, to consider helping address the fire and invasive threat,” said Virgil Moore, Director of Idaho Department of Fish and Game and director liaison of WAFWA’s Sagebrush Initiative.  “We encourage the leaders of the agencies and organizations working on sagebrush conservation to review the recommendations in the report and determine if there are actions they can take directly to address the gaps. It will take a broad-based coalition working together to ensure healthy sagebrush ecosystems are available for generations to come.”

Since its creation in 2013, WAFWA’s Wildfire and Invasive Species Working Group has been working to identify fire and invasive management problems and develop tools and approaches that managers can use to address these pervasive issues. The initial gap report produced five years ago informed the 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act status review of the greater sage-grouse.

In 2015, citing unprecedented landscape-scale conservation efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that greater sage-grouse did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.  The collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse conservation effort, in which WAFWA plays a key role, is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history.

New report available here: Wildfire and Invasive Plant Species in the Sagebrush Biome: Challenges that Hinder Current and Future Management and Protection – A Gap Report Update

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Media Contact: Ken Mayer, 775.741.0098, ken.e.mayer@gmail.com 
Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department

 

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Posted by WAFWA at 5/21/2018 10:09:00 PM
Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) and its partners are once again offering opportunities for community organizations to tap into dollars to protect, restore or recover western native trout in the rivers, lakes and watersheds where they are found. The 2018 Small Grants Program Request for Proposals (RFP) will be accepting applications until June 15, 2018.

The program specifically funds innovative projects that “jump start” or complete smaller, high-impact efforts. Projects considered for funding under the Small Grants Program may include riparian or instream habitat restoration, barrier removal or construction, population or watershed assessments needed for prioritization and planning, water leases or acquisitions to improve in-stream flows, and native trout-focused community outreach and education.  Individual projects can be funded at a maximum of $3,000.

“These $3,000 grant awards may be a relatively small dollar figure, but they are having a big impact,” said Therese Thompson, WNTI Coordinator.  “Over six previous years of funding, this grant program has consistently catalyzed some of the most innovative community-based projects that are making a difference for native trout conservation across the western U.S.”

The 2018 Small Grants Program is supported by generous donations from project partners at Running Rivers, RepYourWater, and Basin+Bend and contributions from numerous individual donors.  The full RFP can be found here.

WNTI is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a recognized National Fish Habitat Partnership that works to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species and sub-species across their historic range. The program funds efforts that raise awareness of the importance of native trout and focus limited financial and human resources toward the highest-impact, locally-led, on-the-ground projects.  Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed over $5 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with an additional $23 million public and private matching dollars for 139 priority native trout conservation projects.  With the collaboration and coordination of WNTI Partners, 87 barriers to fish passage have been removed, 1,130 miles of native trout habitat have been reconnected or improved, and 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout conservation populations have been put in place.

Media Contact:

Therese Thompson, 303.236.4402, tthompson@westernnativetrout.org

Photo Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

For more information about the Small Grants Program, visit www.westernnativetrout.org

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

 

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Posted by WAFWA at 4/19/2018 9:42:00 AM
Friday, February 9, 2018

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) commends today's signing of Executive Order 3362 by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The executive order is aimed at improving western big game habitat and associated migration corridors. The signing and announcement was made by the Secretary while attending the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City. 

"We applaud Secretary Zinke for recognizing and highlighting the importance of big game populations in the western United States, along with his efforts to bring a new and heightened focus to maintain key big game habitats and crucial migratory linkages," said Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and WAFWA President. "The state fish and wildlife agencies represented by WAFWA are eager to work with the Secretary and others on this legacy initiative to ensure a healthy future for western wildlife and wildlife-based recreation."

Click here for DOI press release

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.
 

Posted by WAFWA at 2/10/2018 4:24:00 AM
Friday, September 29, 2017

 

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has announced a call to prepare and submit proposals for funding social science projects to better understand the human dimensions aspects of managing and conserving the sagebrush ecosystem. Funds will be provided through the Sagebrush Science Initiative, a collaborative effort of WAFWA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Project results will be included in the Sagebrush Conservation Strategy, the development of which is being coordinated by WAFWA, and are expected to inform collaborative, multi-organizational efforts to sustainably manage sagebrush systems. WAFWA has previously released two Requests for Proposals, which subsequently funded nine projects for biological science to inform management of sagebrush-dependent species. This will be the first call for social science research.  

“We recognize that conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem must recognize and provide for human perspectives and needs from this system,” said Tom Remington, WAFWA’s science coordinator. “To be successful, we need to understand the stakeholder’s needs and concerns, their perspectives on potential conservation strategies, and other human dimensions of sagebrush conservation.”

Approximately $200,000 has been earmarked for social science grants, and several are expected to be awarded. The deadline for submitting proposals is Nov. 30, 2017. Proposals will be reviewed and ranked by the Sagebrush Science Initiative Oversight Committee, a group of scientists and managers familiar with sagebrush conservation from federal and state agencies as well as universities.  Final selection of project awards will be made by Dec. 29 2017.

 

Full details are available HERE

Media Contact: Tom Remington

970-221-3310, remingtontom@msn.com 

 

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Posted by WAFWA at 9/29/2017 8:36:00 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) has awarded $18,800 out of its small grant program for eight projects, which will be matched by $98,014 in other public and private funding. More than $116,814 in conservation efforts benefitting western native trout will occur as a result.

“We’re very grateful to our partners at Rocky Mountain Flyathlon, Orvis, and all our individual donors for supporting our 2017 Small Grants Program,” said Therese Thompson, WNTI Project Coordinator. “The community-based projects were selected because of their emphasis on collaborative action and outreach to help address challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.”

Project summaries:

Arizona and New Mexico: Get To Know Your Native – Gila Trout                                                              $1,500
Applicant: Arizona Council, Trout Unlimited
This project is a coordinated education and outreach effort focusing on raising awareness for the native Gila Trout in Arizona and New Mexico. 

California: Research Opportunities for Undergraduate Training at West Hills CCD                                  $3,000
Applicant: West Hills Community College District
Work with the National Park Service focuses on the establishment of an environmental education program and undergraduate research program focused on the biology and habitat of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, which is supported with this small grant.   

Colorado: Habitat Monitoring and Stream Assessment Program                                                                $3,000
Applicant: Colorado Trout Unlimited
This project will coordinate efforts among Colorado Trout Unlimited chapters with input from state and federal agency partners to monitor water temperature profiles in existing Greenback and Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout habitat, use stream temperature analysis to identify new habitats that could support the fish within their native ranges, and promote community engagement in native trout restoration through citizen science and public outreach.

Colorado: Middle Fork Carnero Creek Culvert Replacement                                                                        $3,000
Applicant: US Forest Service - Rio Grande National Forest
The objective of this project is the replacement of an aged culvert with an open arch design, which will provide road safety while re-opening 7.2 miles of habitat for Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. 

Colorado: Butler Creek Riparian Restoration                                                                                                 $1,150
Applicant: Middle Colorado Watershed Council
This project will restore native vegetation along a riparian corridor by re-establishing native riparian vegetation, specifically willows, to benefit Colorado River Cutthroat Trout habitat.

Idaho: Bates Access Signs and Stewardship                                                                                                  $2,500
Applicant: Friends of the Teton River
Project partners will print interpretive signage and construct 2 interpretive kiosks at a new Teton River access point bridge near Driggs, Idaho, focusing on conservation and stewardship of water resources and current efforts to conserve Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. 

New Mexico: Gila Trout Restoration Project informational sign on Willow Creek                                     $1,650
Applicant: Gila/Rio Grande Chapter of Trout Unlimited
This project will create an informational sign, printed on an aluminum panel using a 4-color process describing the effects of recent wildfires on Gila Trout habitat and ongoing conservation and stream habitat restoration work.

Utah: Jacobs Creek Upper Culvert Fish Passage                                                                                           $3,000
Applicant: Trout Unlimited
The project will improve accessibility of spawning habitat and fish migrations for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout through a culvert on Jacobs Creek, a tributary to the Weber River. This project is a continuation of work on the Weber River featured in the Blueheads and Bonnevilles film produced in 2016 by the Western Native Trout Initiative and Desert Fish Habitat Partnership and is partially funded by a crowdfunding effort specifically for additional conservation projects on the Weber River.

 

Media Contact:Therese Thompson, 303.236.4402  tthompson@westernnativetrout.org 

For more information about the Small Grants Program, visit http://www.westernnativetrout.org/

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Photo Credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Bear Lake Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future. 

Posted by WAFWA at 9/20/2017 5:28:00 PM
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cutline for the photo: WAFWA award winners (left to right): Craig McMullen (AZ), Joanna Prukop (NM), Mathew Heller (MT), David Stambaugh (NM), Nicole Kozicki (CA), and Jim Heffelfinger (AZ)

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has honored conservation professionals from several western states with awards lauding their work to conserve fish and wildlife resources.

Joanna Prukop from New Mexico was honored with WAFWA’s most prestigious award, the Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award. Prukop’s distinguished career began at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in 1976 as a conservation officer. She served as a regional public information officer before becoming Northeast Regional Division Chief in 1986, the first female to serve in that role. She also was a founding member of the New Mexico Association of Environmental Education. She retired from state service after more than 26 years, but her dedication to conservation continued and she was tapped by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in 2003 to be Cabinet Secretary for the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. In that role she led efforts to improve environmental protection by working with the energy industry and also improved the state park system by providing increased natural area protection and providing park visitors with additional recreational and educational opportunities. Among numerous other boards and committees, Prukop served on committees for the Western Governors’ Association, New Mexico’s Natural Lands Protection Committee, the Governor’s Clean Energy Development Council and also was the first chair of the Energy Policy Committee of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The award Prukop received is named for Phillip W. Schneider of Oregon, whose legendary commitment to fish and wildlife resources spanned more than 40 years in a career in which he served as director of the state’s game and fish agency, and later as a commissioner and commissioner emeritus of Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission.

California Fish and Wildlife Officer Nicole Kozicki was honored with the Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award for her tireless pursuit of environmental crimes during her 28-year career. She joined the California Department of Fish and Wildlife when she was 20 years old as part of the agency’s very first Fish and Game Academy. Early on, she specialized in the field of environmental crimes. She has investigated hundreds of cases which involved the take of state and federally listed threatened and endangered species. Her cases have brought public awareness to the importance of saving vital habitat in urban areas of California.  The Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award memorializes Idaho Fish and Game officers Bill Pogue and Conley Elms, who were killed in January 1981 while trying to arrest a poacher in a remote region of southwestern Idaho.

Craig McMullen from Arizona received WAFWA’s Professional of the Year Award for his career achievements at the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He’s been with the agency since 1993, first as a wildlife manager, but quickly moved up the ladder to positions of increasing responsibility. He has served as a habitat specialist, field supervisor and chief of a new Wildlife Recreation Branch, which was created in 2009. In 2012 he returned to his field roots and took over as Flagstaff Regional Supervisor. His colleagues say that over the course of his 24-year career, he has demonstrated the leadership, managerial and technical skills of a consummate wildlife professional.

WAFWA is proud to honor the conservation efforts of federal partners with the Federal Conservation Partner of the Year Award. This year’s recipient is Mathew Heller, who is a data manager and GIS specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana. Heller was nominated by WAFWA’s Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool Technical Team for his support of ongoing efforts to provide more efficient and effective access to state wildlife data to better inform on-the-ground conservation efforts.

The awards were presented July 10 at WAFWA’s annual conference, held this year in Vail, Colorado. The conference was hosted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Other awards conferred included the President's Award, which went to the Mule Deer Working Group, led by Jim Heffelfinger from Arizona. The Commission of the Year Award went to the New Mexico State Game Commission. The WAFWA Contributor of the Year Award went to Scott Lavin with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The Alaska Wood Bison Reintroduction Effort received a Special Achievement Award, and special recognition went to the Western States Wolverine Conservation Effort. WAFWA recognized the outstanding citizen wildlife contributor by honoring David Stambaugh from New Mexico. WAFWA also conferred lifetime membership awards to three individuals for their career accomplishments and service to the organization: Ron Anglin (OR), Greg Sheehan (UT) and Larry Voyles, (AZ).

Media Contact:
Larry Kruckenberg, 307.631.4536

 

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Photo Credit: Mike DelliVeneri Colorado Parks and Wildlife 

Posted by WAFWA at 7/13/2017 5:40:00 PM
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