Salt Lake City, Utah: The Mule Deer Foundation applauded the U.S. Congress today for the passage of the conference agreement reauthorizing the Farm Bill. In particular, MDF thanks the Agriculture Committee leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for maintaining language that streamlines habitat restoration projects for sage grouse and mule deer on public lands. The House passed the agreement yesterday by a strong, bipartisan vote of 369-47; the Senate passed the agreement on Tuesday with a vote of 87-13.
Following is a statement by MDF President/CEO Miles Moretti.
“The Mule Deer Foundation thanks all of the members of Congress that worked together in a bipartisan fashion to reauthorize the Farm Bill. This legislation includes conservation and forestry provisions that are critically important to wildlife conservation throughout the range of mule deer and black-tailed deer in the West.
“We particularly appreciate inclusion of a provision to establish a categorical exclusion on Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior lands for forest management projects that will restore mule deer and sage grouse habitat. This provision will ensure that projects such as conifer removal, native vegetation restoration after natural disturbance, and management of invasive species on projects up to 4,500 acres each can move forward more quickly.
“The Mule Deer Foundation and our partners have been actively engaged on these types of projects across the West, and they are proving to have a tremendous positive impact on mule deer, sage grouse and other species dependent on sagebrush rangelands. Enactment of the Farm Bill with this provision will mean we can move more quickly after natural disasters or in other habitat restoration efforts providing even greater benefits for these important landscapes. This is good for wildlife conservation as well as western big game hunters.
“Congratulations to Congress for passing this important legislation. Thank you to the sponsors of the Sage-Grouse and Mule Deer Habitat Conservation and Restoration Act – Senators Hatch and Heinrich and Congressmen Stewart and Tipton – for leading this important effort. Thank you to Agriculture Committee leadership, Senators Roberts and Stabenow and Congressmen Conaway and Peterson, for including this provision in the Farm Bill. We look forward to President Trump’s signature so that projects restoring our western forests and rangelands can move forward.”
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and conserving mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.