This article from Fisheries Magazine is being reprinted in The Wildlifer due to the extreme urgency for wildlife professionals to engage in the effort to retain sufficient federal funding for conservation so they can continue to carry out their responsibilities to manage wildlife populations for their many public benefits.
The winds of change in our conservation arena have accelerated into a veritable hurricane as the economic well-being and associated political and funding priorities change at the state and federal levels of United States Government. The passage of H.R. 1 along with its policy riders that would negatively impact the environmental protections passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 was a shock to our conservation community.
The fiscal year 2011 budget that HR1 put forth to help address the increasingly large federal budget deficit required massive cuts in federally mandated and funded conservation programs. In addition to these proposed cuts, the conservation community has experienced significant declines in general fund allocations in most, if not all, states, and declining fishing and hunting license revenues.
This combination of proposed budget cuts and rollbacks of environmental protection regulations, deemed by some politicians and industries as “job killing,” represents the greatest threat to the conservation of fish, wildlife, and water resources since the time of Spencer Baird and Theodore Roosevelt.