October 2, 2023
The voting membership of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies passed seven resolutions during its Business Meeting held on September 27, 2023, in Calgary, Canada.
RESOLUTION 2023-01-07: SUPPORTING THE AFWA-ACP COMMUNICATIONS FRAMEWORK FOR WIND ENERGY PROJECT PROPONENTS AND STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCIES
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association endorses and supports the “AFWA-ACP Communications Framework for Wind Energy Proponents and State Fish and Wildlife Agencies” and shall provide guidance to its member agencies in implementing the framework; collaborate with state, provincial, territorial, tribal, federal, private, and international entities in sharing information across sectors and disciplines; and continually evaluate the efficacy of and need for the framework.
RESOLUTION 2023-02-07: In Support of a Strategic Plan for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Program
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association commends the USGS and the Cooperative Research Unit Program for their success in filling staff vacancies and opening new Units; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association now encourages the Cooperative Research Unit Program to develop a vision and a five-year strategic plan that identifies the financial and logistical requirements necessary to meet the needs of existing Cooperative Research Units and future Cooperative Research Units, as appropriate, and identifies any additional Units that might be needed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Cooperative Research Unit Program use a process that engages cooperators as part of the process to develop the strategic plan and that identifies challenges to future implementation of the strategic plan as they emerge; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association and its leadership solicit regular updates from the Cooperative Research Unit Program regarding the development and implementation of the strategic plan.
RESOLUTION 2023-03-07: Federal Management and Oversight of Wild Horse and Burro Populations
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies requests that the responsible committees of Congress appropriate full and consistent funding levels for wild horse and burro management programs at the appropriate ratio, to enable the BLM and USFS to effectively manage wild horses and burros as intended by the Act, without diversion of funds for management of fish and wildlife resources; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association requests that the BLM and USFS utilize all measures available within their authorities to identify clear thresholds for action, and establish clearly-defined monitoring and response protocols to maintain wild horse and burro populations at or below established AMLs; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that across the United States, the Association requests that the BLM and USFS utilize all measures as authorized by the Act to remove wild horses and burros that exceed established AMLs, and remove animals that exist outside of HMAs, as soon as practicable; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in light of the devastating impacts of wild horse and burro populations and the ongoing drought in the West, the Association requests that BLM and USFS reevaluate established AMLs and reduce AMLs across the West; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association urges that BLM and USFS specifically utilize all measures available within rule or regulation to remove unauthorized, unbranded, and unclaimed free-roaming horses and burros from the landscape.
RESOLUTION 2023-04-07: Calling for Amendment of the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act to Include Airguns and Associated Ammunition
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies clearly and conclusively recognizes the importance of airguns and associated ammunition contributing to the American System of Conservation Funding with other excise-taxed methods of take; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies encourages Congress to amend the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act to extend the federal excise tax to airguns and associated ammunition.
RESOLUTION 2023-05-07: In Support of Collaboration Between State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Departments of Transportation to Consider the Potential Impact of Transportation Structures on Bats
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies acknowledges the importance of state, provincial, tribal, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies collaborating with their respective departments of transportation to determine the presence of bats at all bridge and culvert projects before any structural maintenance or demolition projects begin to help meet statutory and regulatory responsibilities to conserve bats and their habitats, while limiting delays and costs to infrastructure projects; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Association recognizes the value of standardizing surveillance practices for landscape conservation, and therefore encourages use of national Bats and Transportation Structures (BATS) survey protocols by trained individuals, and submission of recorded data, when feasible, to the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat), which serves as a shared data repository for fish and wildlife agencies, to effectively manage and conserve bat populations while continuing to address transportation infrastructure improvement needs.
RESOLUTION 2023-06-07: Recognizing the Value of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and Supporting Efforts to Address Contemporary Needs and Challenges
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association supports ongoing work by its partners including a collaborative initiative with the Wildlife Management Institute that will explore and potentially issue a continental conservation framework that sustains the conceptual value of the Model, continues the visionary lineage of the 1930 and 1973 policies, and facilitates the development and communication of policies and programs in response to contemporary challenges and in pursuit of greater unity within the field of wildlife conservation.
RESOLUTION 2023-07-07: Appreciation to Alberta Environment and Protected Areas’ Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Branch for a Successful 113th Annual Meeting
WHEREAS, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (Association) convened its 113th Annual Meeting on September 23-27, 2023 in Calgary, Alberta, marking the auspicious occasion of bringing the Meeting to Canada for the first time since its 78th Annual Meeting held in 1988 in Toronto, Ontario; and
WHEREAS, Travis Ripley, Executive Director of the Regulatory Programs Branch for the Government of Alberta, commendably set the tone by connecting state, provincial, and territorial directors with elders and knowledgekeepers of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, and hosted a wide-ranging dialogue between the leadership of the Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deep in the heart of Treaty 7 lands at the foot of the Rockies; and
WHEREAS, in 2023 the wildlife conservation community in North America is celebrating both the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Endangered Species Act in the United States and the 20th anniversary of the effective date of the Species at Risk Act in Canada; and
WHEREAS, the two Plenary Sessions of the 113th Annual Meeting (“Relationship Conservation Across Borders and with First Nation Communities”) and (“Two Acts or Not to Act – Is that Really the Question?”) provided attendees with the chance to reflect on the essential role of the First Nations in Canada and Native American tribes in the United States, as well as the importance of cross-border collaboration, in stewarding fish and wildlife; and on the successes and challenges of recovering imperiled species under federal authority with state, provincial, or territorial consultation and cooperation; and
WHEREAS, in 1988 the Association’s President addressed the 78th Annual Meeting by encouraging the Association to “guard against [being] administered by a few” and “continue the active, participatory system [it has] used so effectively[,]” and its Executive Vice-President noted that the depth and breadth of expertise allows the Association to be “the most potent professional and political natural resource force in North America”; and
WHEREAS, Sue Cotterill, Acting Executive Director for Alberta Environment and Protected Areas’ Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Branch, and her capable staff have facilitated this Meeting with generous hospitality and outstanding coordination;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Association offers its deep gratitude to Alberta Environment and Protected Areas’ Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Branch for hosting a richly productive and continentally unifying 2023 Meeting, and recognizes all Association members for their individual contributions to stewarding the wildlife trust for current and future generations.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.