Council will engage diverse stakeholders, advise efforts to conserve wildlife, while supporting recreational hunting and shooting sports
On the heels of National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 24, the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Agriculture announced last week 18 members of the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council.
Bethany Erb, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s director of government affairs, was among those appointed. She will work to ensure upland hunters nationwide have a voice on the council. Additionally, Andrew Schmidt, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s manager of government affairs, was selected as a Council alternate.
“Hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts have some of the deepest connections to wildlife and form the bedrock of habitat conservation efforts,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “I look forward to working with the Council as we advance efforts to expand access to the great outdoors, address climate change, and safeguard the wildlife and health of the natural systems that supply our food, water and other resources. This kind of engagement is at the heart of the America the Beautiful initiative and the Biden-Harris administration’s broader conservation strategy.”
“This group of sportsmen and women will provide USDA and DOI vital insight in how we can strengthen wildlife conservation, expand recreational access, and promote rural economic development,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “They are a critical partner in preserving America’s wildlife and hunting heritage and advancing our work to protect our nation’s precious lands and waters. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to conserving, connecting and restoring America’s lands, waters and wildlife, and I look forward to working with members of the council to help achieve these objectives.”
The Federal Advisory Council, chartered in February 2022 and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a federal advisory committee of subject matter experts that will provide recommendations to the federal government regarding policies that benefit wildlife and habitat conservation; expand fair-chase hunting, safe recreational shooting sports, and wildlife-associated recreation opportunities; and policies that benefit national and local economies.
The newly established Council builds on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, first established in 2010. Members will meet at least two times per year, and members will serve up to a three-year term.
The Council will help advance the Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative, which aims to conserve, connect and restore our nation's lands, waters and wildlife with collaborative, inclusive and locally led conservation efforts. These efforts will be reinforced by the President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history, including billions of dollars to accelerate federal and locally led land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts across the country.
Council members are:
· Colin Beck (Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians) representing Tribal resource management organizations.
· Ryan Busse (unaffiliated) representing shooting sports interests.
· Jeffrey Crane (Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations.
· Michael Crowder (National Association of Conservation Districts) representing agriculture interests.
· John Devney (Delta Waterfowl) representing waterfowl hunting organizations.
· George Dunklin Jr. (Five Oaks Duck Lodge) representing tourism, outfitter and/or guide businesses related to hunting and/or wildlife conservation.
· Bethany Erb (Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever) representing upland bird hunting organizations.
· Daniel Forster (Archery Trade Association) representing archery interests.
· Cole Mannix (Mannix Ranch) representing ranching interests.
· Collin O’Mara (National Wildlife Federation) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations.
· Lucas Martinez (League of United Latin American Citizens) representing wildlife-associated recreation interests.
· Lydia Parker (Hunters of Color) representing wildlife-associated recreation interests.
· Joel Pedersen (Mule Deer Foundation) representing big-game hunting organizations.
· Land Tawney (Backcountry Hunters and Anglers) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations.
· Keith Tidball (Cornell University) representing veterans’ services organizations.
· Lauren Ward (Conservation Without Conflict) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations.
· Gerald (Tony) Wasley (Nevada Department of Wildlife) representing state fish and wildlife management agencies.
· Joel Webster (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations.
Alternate Council members are:
· Edward Arnett (The Wildlife Society) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations and alternate to Collin O’Mara.
· Brad Brooks (The Wilderness Society) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations and alternate to Land Tawney.
· Kathleen Falk (Unaffiliated) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations and alternate to Lauren Ward.
· Mark Hennelly (California Waterfowl) representing waterfowl hunting organizations and alternate to John Devney.
· Blake Henning (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation) representing big-game hunting organizations and alternate to Joel Pedersen.
· Wayne Hubbard (Urban American Outdoors) representing wildlife-associated recreation interests and alternate to Lydia Parker.
· Marshall Johnson (National Audubon Society) representing wildlife-associated recreation interests and alternate to Lucas Martinez.
· Simon Roosevelt (Conservation Roundtable) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations Jeffrey Crane.
· Roberta Salazar-Henry (New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Commission) representing State Fish and Wildlife Management Agencies and alternate to Gerald (Tony) Wasley.
· Andrew Schmidt (Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever) representing upland bird hunting organizations and alternate to Bethany Erb.
· Theodore Sedgwick (Unaffiliated) representing wildlife and habitat conservation/management organizations and alternate to Joel Webster.
· Michael Van Fossan (First Lite Performance Hunting Apparel) representing tourism, outfitter and/or guide businesses related to hunting and/or wildlife conservation and alternate to George Dunklin.
For more information about the Council, visit the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Council webpage.