Opportunity to support wildlife conservation funding

By Dani Dagan

©Tim Lumley

As an active member of the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition steering committee, The Wildlife Society encourages TWS members to attend the Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In on March 1-2, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

The Teaming With Wildlife Coalition works to secure federal funding for wildlife conservation, and is the leading advocate for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program. Comprised of over 6,400 member organizations that represent state fish & wildlife agencies, wildlife biologists, hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, hikers and nature-based businesses, this coalition is the largest and most diverse ever assembled in support of wildlife conservation funding.

The Fly-In includes advocacy training, meetings with congressional staff, and a reception on Capitol Hill. TWS members who have participated in the past have found the experience eye-opening and rewarding.

The annual fly-in brings individuals from across all 50 states to Capitol Hill in a focused effort to show national support for state wildlife funding programs in the federal appropriations process. In 2000, the Teaming With Wildlife coalition successfully encouraged Congress to create State and Tribal Wildlife Grants – the primary program supporting State Wildlife Action Plans – to address the conservation of all wildlife and habitats of greatest concern, including species that are neither game nor listed as endangered.

Appropriations for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants have decreased in recent years from a high of $90 million in FY 2010 to a low of $58 million in FY 2015. The fly-in is an opportunity to advocate for the program, which is unique in that it supports efforts to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

“Advocating for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program in Congress is essential in building support and ensuring its persistence,” said Keith Norris, TWS Director of Government Affairs & Partnerships. “This program enables state wildlife agencies to properly manage and conserve all species, and more funding is necessary to ensure wildlife professionals can do their work of sustaining wildlife populations and their habitats.”

This year, the Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In features a rollout of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendations for the future of wildlife conservation funding. The panel of experts has been hard at work developing an answer to the important question: What is the best and most equitable way to fund fish and wildlife conservation to ensure their sustainability? Fly-In attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the associated dialogue and media event, and be the first to advocate for the panel’s recommendations in Congress.

Participate in the 2016 Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In by registering with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

Dani Dagan is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

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