TEAMING WITH WILDLIFE PUTS PRESS ON CONGRESS
More than 100 advocates from 30 states urge lawmakers to protect endangered species
WASHINGTON, DC -- As part of the 8th Annual Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In Day, more than 100 conservation leaders from 30 states recently met with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The conservationists were there to discuss the importance of new and greater funding through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.
Since 2000, SWG has been a funding source for nongame and endangered species. More than $7 million has been funneled into wildlife projects in Kansas to conserve sensitive species and prevent threatened and endangered species listings.
"Keeping common species common is paramount to stopping the march of species towards endangerment," said Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) wildlife diversity coordinator Ken Brunson. "SWG is attacking this problem. Several Kansas SWG projects address prairie-related research and management efforts in Kansas, particularly related to prairie chickens, as well as songbirds that have been steadily declining. Additionally, major survey efforts have helped define the baseline information and status of nongame animals, trying to catch up with the much longer and larger effort for sport fish and wildlife species. Representative Todd Tiahrt has been very helpful in obtaining the annual appropriations of funds for Kansas SWG projects to date, totaling $7,186,932."
The Fly-In "Day," actually held over three days, is the most important outreach event for the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition, which includes nearly 6,000 conservation groups and businesses. The goal of the event is to secure dedicated funding to support on-the-ground conservation action in every state and territory to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.
This year, Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in participants urged their members of Congress to sign a letter expressing three specific areas of support: restoring State Wildlife Grant funding to $85 million, co-sponsoring the Teaming With Wildlife Act of 2009 to provide increased and dedicated funding for wildlife conservation, and supporting wildlife adaptation funding in climate change legislation.
Despite historically unprecedented success in bringing many wildlife species back from the brink of extinction, some species have continued to decline. State hunting and fishing license dollars, as well as federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and motorboat fuel taxes have provided the backbone for funding the nation’s state wildlife conservation programs for more than 70 years. While these programs benefit both game and nongame species, there has been little funding specifically for species that are not hunted or fished. State Wildlife Grants have provided state fish and wildlife agencies with the resources they critically need to address this challenge.
For more information about Teaming With Wildlife, go online to www.teaming.com.