Policy Action: Youth Council Advocates for Conservation

bf36ae02-ef90-4fb6-beb1-26cc70edec29

Persuasive youth leadership team helps make the case for conservation on Capitol Hill

In what has become an annual tradition, members of the Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) were selected to join PF/QF’s professional staff in Washington, D.C. this summer to advocate for conservation policy. The group of talented young leaders included Hunter Spruill (Missouri), Reed Kyzar (Texas), Luke Murphy (Montana) and Austin Pringle (Pennsylvania). Council members were accompanied by Rich Wissink, Jim Inglis and Bethany Erb.
 
This year’s trip focused on various natural resource committee policies currently, or soon to be, in play. Council members and PF/QF staff spent three days on Capitol Hill advocating for the following priorities:
 

Land and Water Conservation Fund 

The LWCF protects America’s most treasured places. It has touched every state, conserving habitat, increasing and enhancing hunter and angler access on national parks and forests, rivers, lakes and oceans, working forests, farms and ranches, fish and wildlife refuges, trails, and state and local parks. LWCF was permanently reauthorized in March 2019, but we now need to ensure full and permanent funding. The NYLC asked senators to cosponsor S. 1081 and representatives to cosponsor H.R. 3195 to permanently dedicate LWCF funding at $900 million per year.

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

RAWA will help state agencies with proactive efforts to prevent species from becoming endangered. RAWA will dedicate roughly $1.4 billion annually to tribal and state conservation efforts to prevent at-risk wildlife from becoming endangered. If enacted, this would be the most significant new investment in wildlife conservation in decades. Monarch butterflies and migratory songbirds are among the species at risk, but the benefits of enhancing habitat for at-risk species benefit all wildlife, including pheasants and quail. NYLC asked senators and representatives for their support when legislation is introduced. Shortly after the trip, House legislation for RAWA was introduced: H.R. 3742 by Representatives Dingell (Michigan) and Fortenberry (Nebraska).

ACT NOW! If your member of Congress is not already a cosponsor of RAWA , please ask them to join the bill! Find your representative here and ask them or their staffer to sign on by contacting Timothy in Rep. Dingell’s office at Timothy.Huebner@mail.house.gov or Alan at Alan.Feyerherm@mail.house.gov in Rep. Fortenberry’s office.
 

North American Wetlands Conservation Act 

Since its inception in 1989, NAWCA grants totaling more than $1.6 billion have leveraged $4.68 billion in contributions from partners. These contributions have allowed for successful implementation of wetland habitat restoration projects across North America. NAWCA has resulted in the conservation of more than 29.8 million acres of wetlands and associated upland habitat across North America – places that pheasants call home and that are open to public hunting. NAWCA expired in 2012. The NYLC asked Congress to please co-sponsor S. 261 and H.R. 925. Both bills provide a 5-year reauthorization at $60 million per year.
 

Pittman-Robertson / Tomorrow's Need Act

After our fly-in another important piece of legislation was reintroduced: S. 2092 / Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act by Senators Jim Risch (Idaho), Deb Fischer (Nebraska), Martin Heinrich (New Mexico), John Boozman (Arkansas), Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Lamar Alexander (Tennessee), Doug Jones (Alabama), Tom Cotton (Arkansas), and Angus King (ME). S. 2092 is a companion to the House bill (H.R. 877) that was introduced earlier this year. This legislation will provide flexibility to state agencies to use Pittman-Robertson funds for the recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) of hunters and recreational shooters. 

AFTER WORK HOURS, the team joined our friends from Purina and Ducks Unlimited to attend the Congressional Baseball game at Nationals Stadium. Since 1909, Democrats and Republican members of Congress have competed. This year’s victors were Team Democrat, tying the series 42-42-1!