A summary of WMI’s recent activities and accomplishments can be found below. Your contributions will help to ensure that WMI can continue its efforts on many of these items and be positioned to address new issues as they evolve.
Science and Management
- Lead the implementation of the Young Forest project in the Northeast, northern Appalachian Mountains, upper Great Lakes, lower Great Lakes and the mid-Atlantic Coast regions. The project involves more than 30 partners and is designed to meet habitat restoration goals identified in the American Woodcock Conservation Plan, New England Cottontail Conservation Strategy and Golden Winged Warbler Conservation Plan. Habitat restoration will also benefit ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, moose, snowshoe hare, and 60 other species of wildlife in need of conservation.
- Launched the WMI Tracker Database, an online spatial accomplishment reporting tool for WMI contractors and partners to highlight habitat restoration accomplishments. The database, two years in the making, will play a critical role in informing the USFWS of the work done to prevent listing the New England Cottontail.
- Assisted the North Atlantic, Gulf Coast Prairie, Great Plains, Appalachian and Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC) with identification of the highest priority science needs as the basis for allocation of over $2 million in research grants administered by WMI. Provided science coordination support to the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC to identify focal species and habitats for use in landscape conservation design and strategic habitat conservation.
- Advised the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and testified before the Michigan Natural Resources Commission on management of wolves and wolf harvest as they contemplated initiation of hunting or trapping of wolves.
- Conducted seminars on the Public Trust Doctrine and its relevance to wildlife management for the Arizona Department of Game and Fish and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University. Co-authored two articles published by The Wildlife Society on the Public Trust Doctrine.
- At the request of the South Dakota Office of the Governor, WMI conducted a review and prepared a report on the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks’ big game management systems. The report identified strengths and weaknesses in the management systems and recommended actions to improve big game surveys, analyses, and harvest management.
- Coordinated the response of local land trusts, state and federal agencies to Exelon Corporation’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission request for dam relicensing on the lower Susquehanna River.
Conservation Policy Development
- Provided formal advice to the Secretaries of the Agriculture and Interior on natural resource management issues for the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife Service. WMI is a member of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, a Federal Advisory Committee for the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior.
- Monitored implementation of the conservation provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill and tracked development of the new Farm Bill in cooperation with the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
- Served as the Vice-Chairman of the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports an organization focused on enhancing the Wildlife Restoration Act Program and promoting the hunting and shooting sports. Council members include state fish and wildlife agency directors, industry representatives, and hunter-conservation organizations.
- Participated in Industry/Agency Summit meetings to improve the relationship and understanding of the important partnership between state fish and wildlife agencies and the hunting and shooting industry.
- Served on a committee to develop a Mine Land Stewardship Initiative that would benefit fish and wildlife in the Appalachian region.
- Served as Co-Chair of the Envision the Susquehanna advisory group to the Chesapeake Conservancy. The project intends to develop a community-based vision for the protection and conservation of the Susquehanna River watershed’s natural, cultural, and historic resources.
- Coordinated efforts to ensure uniform applicability of the Federal Excise Tax (Pittman-Robertson & Dingell-Johnson) across all manufacturers. Lead discussions with industry representatives, Internal Revenue Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to develop strategies to provide fairness and equity among taxpayers while also ensuring state fish and wildlife agencies receive the accurate amount of PR/DJ dollars.
- Participated in the Federal Aid Joint Tax Force to discuss and provide updates on industry/state agency relationships as related to the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
- Served on Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Reauthorization Working Group to develop an AFWA position on needed changes to LWCF.
- Began discussions with the Partnership for Southern Forestland Conservation to determine how this group’s mission will affect wildlife conservation in the Southeast and where WMI can be of assistance.
Information and Education
- Planned and administered the 78th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Arlington, Virgina (2013), for approximately 900 participants and 75 separate meetings and events. Participants included the leadership of state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, and academic institutions.
- Chaired the Program Committee and completed arrangements for the 79th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference which will be held in Denver, Colorado March 10-14, 2014.
- Produced the monthly “Outdoor News Bulletin” (ONB), which completed its 67th year of conservation news coverage. The ONB has been produced electronically the past seven years and reaches more than 3,000 wildlife professionals and media outlets.
- Completed the development of logic models and evaluation templates for all hunter recruitment and retention program types currently being conducted in the United States. This work is part of a 2-year Multistate Conservation Grant to implement strategic tools to evaluate, improve, and develop hunter recruitment and retention programs for state wildlife agencies and conservation NGO’s.
- Conducted multi-day training and information workshops for state wildlife agency staff and administrators on hunter recruitment and retention program development, evaluation and best practices. These workshops were conducted in nine states, three AFWA regions (Western, Midwest, and Southeast), one Directors meeting, and one Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports meeting. Additional short trainings were conducted for AFWA staff in Washington, DC, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Teaching Youth Outdoor Skills instructor courses, and several sportsmen/conservation NGO education groups.
- Served as advisor and Qualified Expert for the AFWA Conservation Education Strategy workgroup and their grant administration team.
- Continued to implement the comprehensive strategy for information, education and outreach WMI developed for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. This included development of a professionally produced video featuring Craig Boddington designed to encourage hunters to carry bear spray. The video was seen by over 200,000 viewers within 48 hours of being posted online.
- Continued efforts to finalize the 4th edition of Ducks, Geese and Swans, the quintessential, academic book regarding waterfowl species.
- Reviewed research programs and provided input to units at annual cooperator meetings in Iowa , New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. Participated in quarterly teleconferences and two meetings of the National Cooperators’ Coalition.
- Served on the steering committee of the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs with federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, and industry representatives. At our recommendation, this committee was abolished in December 2013 with continuing oversight transferred to the annual Fish & Wildlife Business Summit. Worked with AFWA Trust Funds Committee chair to develop working groups to address two focal areas: 1) Branding and raising awareness of the WSFR Program, and 2) continuing to inform and educate Congress, State Legislatures, and Governors on the importance of the WSFR Program.
- Began development of a State Director’s Industry Database that will allow fish and wildlife agency administrators to have ready access to contact information for hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industry representatives within their states in order to develop and/or improve state/industry relations.
- Began planning the 7th annual Fish and Wildlife Business Summit to bring together the leaders of the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries with state, federal, and NGO leadership. Also attended State Organization of Boating Law Administrators to encourage their participation in the Summit.
- Attended the first-ever coordinated state level summit (GA) focused on angling and boating. This is likely establishing the model for states to develop and build industry relationships on a local and state level.
- Delivered presentations on the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs at the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Missouri Department of Conservation, Montana Wildlife Federation, and the first Canadian Wildlife Conservation Congress.
- Delivered presentations on wildlife policy and mitigation at the Pennsylvania Chapter of Trout Unlimited and at a Department of Interior/Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partners mitigation seminar.
- Designed, coordinated and facilitated the process used by IHEA-USA to designate Hunter Education Core Standards and Learning Objectives as well as national hunter education implementation strategies.
Project Coordination and Administration
- Provided administrative and financial assistance services to the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Atlantic Flyway Council, Canadian Wildlife Service and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Provided administrative and coordination support for five of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC). These LCCs set priorities and objectives for fish and wildlife science and research needs on a regional basis in cooperation with state and federal agencies. Assisted with identification of priority science needs and managed multiple research projects for the Alaska, Appalachian, North Atlantic, Great Plains and Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.
- Administered the Northeast Regional Conservation Needs Grant program that allowed Northeast states to create regional collaborations to address priority topics identified in State Wildlife Action Plans. WMI developed this unique program that provides interstate coordination of fish and wildlife research funding.
- Administered the Northeast Wildlife Damage Management, Research and Outreach Cooperative.
- As part of WMI’s leadership role in the development of the Hunting Heritage Action Plan:
- Continued administration and development of a 2 year Multistate Conservation Grant from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue WMI’s national effort to recruit and retain hunters.
- Selected as advisor for and facilitator of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports’ development of a national hunter recruitment and retention plan.
- Partnered with Utah State University to direct a graduate project that will evaluate the annual allocation of the total resources committed towards hunter recruitment and retention efforts at a national level. This will serve as the initial step toward a national hunter recruitment and retention plan.
- Served as an Advisor for the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program, serving also as a Veteran Instructor at 2 agency workshops.
- Directed activities, programs, and actions of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance (a consortium of national hunting-conservation organizations).
- Served as Committee Vice-Chair of the Envision the Susquehanna project, which focused on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mitigation measures for four hydroelectric dams on the Susquehanna River and developing a conservation plan for the Susquehanna River watershed.
- Served on Selection Committee for the new IHEA-USA Executive Director.
- Proposed and received year 3 funding for the Industry/Agency Relationship and Coordination grant through the AFWA Multistate Grant Program. This will allow WMI to continue to build capacity to bridge the gap between the needs of state-level conservation and industry concerns.
- Made a proposal to the Directors of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) on the potential for developing a Regional Conservation Needs (RCN) Program similar to that developed in the northeast and coordinated by WMI. Proposal was viewed favorably and a request for WMI to assist in coordinating the development of a fleshed out plan was made by the directors.
Service to Profession and Partners
- WMI staff were actively engaged in numerous state, regional and national boards, committees and work groups, including:
- American Wildlife Conservation Partners,
- Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative,
- Boone and Crockett Club's Conservation Committee and Fair Chase editorial board,
- Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance (coordinator),
- Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife Partnership Development Board,
- Committees and Advisory Groups of numerous state and federal fish and wildlife agencies and natural resource boards,
- Committees and Working Groups of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and its regional associations,
- Conservation Education Strategy Working Group,
- Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units' National Cooperators' Coalition Steering Committee and Administrative Excellence Awards Committee,
- Council to Advance the Hunting and Shooting Sports (vice chair),
- Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative,
- International Hunter Education Association-USA,
- Land and Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization Working Group (AFWA),
- Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation,
- National Association of Sportsman's Caucuses,
- National Conservation Leadership Institute Board (chair), Selection Committee and Steering Committee,
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Board of Directors,
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund Committee,
- North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative,
- Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative,
- Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors Board of Directors,
- Appalachian Mountain and Atlantic Coast Joint Venture Management Boards,
- Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation Board of Directors,
- Sportsmen's Climate Change Advisory Group,
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Science Awards Selection Committee, and
- Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (a federal advisory committee to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior).
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