POLICY ENGAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
The Wildlife Society monitors and engages in policy discussions that occur in these general topical areas. Specific policy priorities and objectives within these topic areas are reviewed on a regular basis by The Wildlife Society’s Council to strategically guide the Society’s policy actions in support of its members and science-based wildlife management and conservation.
Climate Change and Adaptation
Evidence is accumulating that wildlife and wildlife habitats have been, and will continue to be, affected by ongoing large-scale rapid climate change, the causes of which are exacerbated by human activities. The Wildlife Society promotes the implementation of strategies to mitigate these impacts and help wildlife and their habitat adapt to climate change.
Endangered Species Recovery
Threatened and endangered species play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The Wildlife Society recognizes the need to alleviate the greatest threats facing species on the brink of extinction through both regulatory mechanisms, such as the Endangered Species Act, as well as public and private partnerships. To that end, TWS produces fact sheets and technical reviews addressing endangered species recovery, and regularly provides comments on Environmental Impact Statements and other plans that may impact the recovery of threatened and endangered wildlife.
Energy Development and Wildlife
Federal and private lands contain many potential sources of energy that could be tapped to meet our nation’s growing energy needs, such as coal, oil and gas, wind, and sources of biomass for bioenergy. However, these energy sources must be explored and developed with the effects on wildlife and wildlife habitat in mind. Oil and gas development is not appropriate on all public lands and, where it does occur, must balance the needs of fish and wildlife.
Federal Employee Participation in Professional Societies
Current federal policy may limit the ability of federal employees to serve on the boards of professional societies and to attend professional society meetings and conferences. The Wildlife Society has been working for many years to change this policy by highlighting the professional development and networking opportunities that benefit federal employees and their agencies.
Funding for Wildlife Conservation and Management
The Wildlife Society engages each year in the federal budget process, to encourage the Administration to propose and Congress to appropriate adequate funding for the agencies that manage wildlife and other natural resources. Additionally, TWS sits on the Steering Committee of Teaming With Wildlife, a coalition of diverse groups with the common objective of securing an adequate, long-term funding source for state agencies to accomplish fish and wildlife conservation, wildlife-related recreation, and conservation education.
Invasive Species Prevention and Management
Invasive species negatively impact biological diversity (especially species at risk), productivity, environmental integrity, wildlife and human health, as well as economic effects. Industries affected by invasive plants and animals include agriculture, forestry, ranching, fisheries, and tourism. TWS supports the passage of effective state and federal legislation that addresses the importation, transportation and mitigation of invasive plants and animals.
North American Model/Public Trust Doctrine
The Public Trust Doctrine is considered the keystone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. It represents the common law foundation for trust status of wildlife resources in the United States. TWS published a Technical Review on the Public Trust Doctrine in 2010 and is finalizing one on the North American Model, to identify other components needed to contemporize the Model, assess the role of Mexico within the Model, and identify unique attributes of approaches within Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
Strategic Conservation Planning
Federal land management agencies implement planning and land use rules that have a direct impact on wildlife conservation and management across the U.S. These rules must all encourage science-based provisions to manage and conserve our nation’s wildlife. Additionally, regulations such as the Farm Bill represent a major source of funding for conservation programs and practices related to farming and ranching on private lands in the U.S. TWS supports full funding for the conservation programs in the Farm Bill at their authorized levels.
The Wildlife Society advocates policies and regulations that restore, protect, and maintain wetlands. Voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs, such as the Wetlands Reserve Program, are important tools for wetlands restoration on private lands, particularly when coupled with regulatory policies such as Swampbuster. Federal programs, such as the Duck Stamp, are vital for wetland conservation activities within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Wildlife Society works to ensure a combination of efforts are undertaken to conserve wetlands and associated fish and wildlife on public, state, and private land.
Wildlife diseases, lead in ammunition and fishing tackle, and baiting and feeding of wildlife species are a growing threat to wildlife health. The Wildlife Society supports collaborative work with federal and state agencies to reduce the impacts of existing diseases and prevent future ones. TWS also supports legislation to eliminate lead in ammunition and fishing tackle and other threats to wildlife health.