HSC Signs On To Letter Supporting Habitat Enhancement Now Act (H.R. 6854 – HEN Act)
The HEN Act will authorize $1.5 million in competitive grant funding each year for 5 years. This relatively small investment would result in the construction, installation, and maintenance of nearly 20,000 hen houses resulting in the production of tens of thousands of additional mallards throughout the country. Breeding duck populations in California face ever-increasing pressure from wetland habitat loss. The HEN Act will authorize an additional $1.5 million annually for 5 years to incentivize willing landowners to establish nesting cover and create essential brood habitat on their property in California.
HSC Signs On To Letter Supporting Funding for Migration Corridors
A letter was sent to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the White House Office of Management and Budget requesting support of fiscal year 2025 funding for the efforts of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to maintain, conserve, and enhance wildlife migration corridors and seasonal ranges, particularly for big game species. Funding priorities include DOI coordination and support, USGS science and mapping support, USFWS science applications program, dedicated wildlife corridors funding for NFWF and the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
New York Big 5 Act
The state of New York is once again attempting to ban the import of legally and ethically hunted game animals. The “Big Five African Trophies Act” to ban the importation, transportation and possession of certain African wildlife species and products has been reintroduced for the 2023-2024 session. The animals included are the African Elephant, African Leopard, African Lion, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros and African Giraffe. The bill also requires the owner of any part or taxidermy of the listed animals to obtain a certificate of possession from the secretary of state, even if they are in possession of such if this law should be passed. Status (1/3/24): Died in Assembly, Returned to Senate, Returned to Environmental Conservation Committee.
H.R. 615 & S. 1185: Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act of 2023
To prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from prohibiting the use of lead ammunition or tackle on certain Federal land or water under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, and for other purposes. Status: H.R. 615: Committee on Agriculture discharged 09/20/23; S.1185: Introduced in Senate 04/18/23.
S.873 – America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2023
To improve recreation opportunities on, and facilitate greater access to, federal public land, and for other purposes.
Improved recreation infrastructure: target shooting ranges, biking, climbing, internet connectivity, expand recreation seasons, expand federal land access, parking, mapping, modernization of federally owned campgrounds, forest service pay for performance projects, ID of new recreation opportunities, Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation. Status: 07/26/2023: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Reported by Senator Manchin with amendments. With written report No. 118-79.
Feds seek input on grizzly bear reintroduction in North Cascades (WA)
The next step for the National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to reintroduce grizzlies to the North Cascades Ecosystem encompassing the park and surrounding public land. A second component of the project involves the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plans to release a proposed rule under section 10(j) of the act on Friday. Status: commentary period ended Nov. 13; Update pending. Information is available now in the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/09/29/2023-21418/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-establishment-of-a-nonessential-experimental.
Pebble Mine: Alaska
January 2024: The U.S. Supreme Court denied Alaska’s bid to revive the copper and gold Pebble Mine proposal blocked by EPA. In 2023 the EPA stopped the mine proposal, citing concerns with potential impacts on a rich aquatic ecosystem that supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.
Report: European Acceptance of Trophy Hunting
This report shows that a majority of EU citizens accept hunting. Only 23% disagree with keeping animal parts, a practice often referred to as “trophy” hunting, whilst 77% either approve or are neutral. This starkly contrasts the claim that 85% of Europeans oppose “trophy” hunting made by the Humane Society International. This misdirection has resulted in several national parliaments initiating efforts to ban “trophy” imports. Conducted Nov. 2023 by YouGov1 and commissioned by the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) and partner organizations. See: https://www.cic-wildlife.org/europeans-are-accepting-of-hunting-trophies-according-to-yougov/.
Grizzly bear reintroduction to the Bitterroot Mountains: MT
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has until late 2026 to issue a new environmental impact statement for the recovery of grizzly bears in the Bitterroot ecosystem of southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho. Located on the western border between Montana and Idaho, the area was historically home to thousands of bears. Public comment is being accepted until March 18. See: https://www.regulations.gov/document/FWS-R6-ES-2023-0203-0001.
Louisiana Federal Court Upholds 2016 Delisting of the State’s Black Bear
1/29/24: the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana dismissed a plaintiffs’ challenge to the removal of Louisiana black bear from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list of threatened species. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is in the final stages of considering whether to open a limited black bear hunting season to begin in December 2024. The Commission would issue a maximum of ten permits to hunt the Tensas River subpopulation of black bears.