Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Our Public Lands (Part 2.1)

In Our Public Lands (Part 2) I wrote “In coming posts I will write about what the agenda might include…”

Well between guiding, holidays and year end business commitments I haven’t had a chance to give it the attention I wanted. But I have been seeing some lists pop up that offers some great suggestions.

Land Tawney of Hellsgate Hunters and Anglers did outstanding job of getting the ball rolling in Sportsmen’s Priorities for 2013 on their Montana Bully Pulpit blog. Tawney writes in the intro:

“This past year hunters and anglers enjoyed the spotlight in congress; something we rarely realize.  The Sportsmen Act of 2012 became a political football and didn’t come to fruition.  While I enjoy the fact that our issues were front and center, ultimately we didn’t get it done.  It’s time to capitalize on the attention and double down on our efforts.  Together, we can protect our heritage for our children’s future.  Just think if we could get it all done….”

Here is Tawney’s list, be sure to read his post to learn more about the issues and why they are important to sportsmen.

  • Passage of the Sportsmen Act
  • Restoration of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Full Funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
  • National Sodsaver and Conservation Compliance
  • Passage of an Omnibus Public Lands Bill
  • National Flood Insurance Reform
  • Restoration of Free Roaming Bison
  • Protect Bristol Bay
  • Expand Conservation Funding Revenue
  • Climate Change

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership released their 2013 Conservation Policy Agenda recently. This is a comprehensive look at policy challenges. You should read the entire document as it provides a well-written justification for action. Download the 2013 Conservation Policy Agenda. In the press release they called out some priorities:

  • developing new incentives to safeguard precious natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat – and to sustain and expand public access for hunting and fishing – through strongly funded conservation programs in the federal budget;
  • defending disproportionate cuts to the funding of – and the elimination of existing funding to – key federal conservation;
  • facilitating passage of a full, five-year farm bill as swiftly as possible;
  • advancing the BLM’s work to administratively conserve high-value backcountry fish and wildlife habitat through land-use planning processes in consideration of input from Western sportsmen and other stakeholders;
  • securing the passage of climate change legislation that provides secure, long-term funding for state fish and wildlife agencies to address the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife by protecting and improving habitats and maintaining healthy, connected and genetically diverse populations;
  • influencing development of policy guiding renewable energy development, particularly solar and wind energy, on public lands.

There is a lot more in the report so be sure to give it a read. Here are the topics and items they cover:

  • Access
  • Climate
    • Climate Change
  • Conservation Funding
    • America’s Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation
  • Energy
    • Responsible Development Issues
  • Watersheds
    • Bristol Bay, Alaska
    • Chesapeake Bay
  • Marine Fisheries
    • Recreational Marine Fisheries Conservation
  • Private Lands 
    • Agriculture
    • Tax Incentives for Conservation Easements
    • Wetlands and Clean Water Protections
  • Public Lands
    • Backcountry Lands Conservation
    • Forest Service Planning Regulations
  • Water (new policy area for 2013)

Clearly there are some important issues in these two lists and there are other issues that should be included as well.I will be on the look out for more lists and post them when I come across them.

What do you think is missing from these lists?

Let me know what they are and why it is important. I wille on the look out for more lists and post them when I come across them.

Of course we are early in the policy process and the issues on the field and the ability to make progress with policy will no doubt change, so stay tuned.


  1. Great topic, thanks for writing about it and mentioning TRCP. Mia


  1. […] Our Public Lands (Part 2.1). Tom’s continued focus on public lands (and water) policy is a major help these days, and he highlights a couple of very active and articulate teams (Montana Bully Pulpit blog and the TRCP) who have recently outlined issues that will need thoughtful attention in the months to come. […]

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