Initiative 1 - Sporting Conservation Council

Text from the Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan, 2008, Page 1

image of sunset over water, Lower Klamath NWR, CA, Credit: Tupper Ansel Blake/USFWS

On August 17, 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13443: Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation. The Order directs federal agencies “to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.”

The historical significance is clear: 2008 marks the centennial of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Governors’ Conference on Conservation. Through the conference and other efforts, President Roosevelt established a burgeoning conservation movement as an issue of national importance. The thrust of the movement was straightforward: America possesses a bounty of natural resources and landscapes with unique characteristics that should be protected and conserved for present and future generations. This purpose animated an array of federal policies that guided conservation practices throughout the 20th and into the 21st centuries.

In May 2008, the Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Agriculture (USDA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) held a reception at the Department of the Interior to commemorate the anniversary of the Governor’s Conference and formally launch implementation of Executive Order 13443: a similarly historic endeavor to address modern challenges and shape conservation and wildlife dependent recreation in the 21st Century.

Executive Order 13443 directs federal agencies to work in coordination with the Sporting Conservation Council Federal Advisory Committee, state, and tribal fish and wildlife agencies and the public to “facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat” in a manner that respects state management authority over wildlife resources as well as private property rights.

To achieve this goal, the Order calls upon the chairman of the CEQ to convene, within one year, and periodically thereafter, a White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy to facilitate the exchange of information and advice needed to fulfill the purposes of the Order. The Order also calls for a comprehensive ten-year Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan that will set forth an agenda for implementing the actions called for in the Order.

Over the last year, a diverse cross section of federal, state, local, and tribal government officials, Members of Congress and their staffs, sporting and conservation organizations, and the private sector have engaged in an intense effort to assess 21st century issues and develop innovative ideas for consideration at the conference and possible inclusion in the ten-year Recreational Hunting and Wildlife
Conservation Plan.

Beginning in the fall of 2007, the Sporting Conservation Council (SCC) assembled diverse working groups to begin developing recommendations for implementing the goals of the Order. These groups offered background information, identified challenges, and proposed goals and opportunities for addressing them.

The work of the Council supported the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy in Reno, Nevada, on October 1–3, 2008. Conferees reviewed topics based on the Council’s white papers, which informed the discussion sessions at the Conference. CEQ, USDA, DOI, and the Sporting Conservation Council gathered comments and ideas from individuals and partners who share a
common commitment to enhancing conservation and hunting in the 21st Century.

This Action Plan presents the results of all these meetings, workshops, and detailed deliberations under headings for background information, goals and recommendations from the Sporting Conservation Council, and Actions. Note that the goals and recommendations from the Council are not the product of the Administration but the work of the Council as presented to the Secretaries of
Interior and Agriculture. The Actions are the product of CEQ based on the input of the Council, a diverse coalition of federal, state, local, and tribal government officials, Members of Congress and their staffs, sporting and conservation organizations and private individuals. This Administration offers this first edition of the plan—the first of many to follow as it evolves over time—as a strong starting point.
As a statement of bipartisan policy, it is feasible and widely supported. The plan is a sound basis for developing hunting and wildlife policy through subsequent administrations.

Bringing the sporting community together with policymakers would not have been possible without the Sporting Conservation Council, a federal advisory committee. Therefore, the first action in the plan is to establish the Council in law.

Supporting documentation and findings

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