The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) today entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) to enhance communication and collaboration regarding fish and wildlife habitat management on public lands in the West.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at WAFWA’s annual conference in Eugene, Oregon. BLM’s Kristin Bail, AFWA President Virgil Moore, and WAFWA President Curt Melcher signed for their respective organizations.
“Working together with our partners to enhance fish and wildlife conservation in the West is one of the primary goals of WAFWA,” said Curt Melcher, President of WAFWA and Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We welcome the opportunity to be a party to this MOU. The Bureau of Land Management is a key player on the western landscape, and any time there is a firm commitment to communicate and collaborate more with the states, that is a positive development.”
The new MOU establishes a framework and communication protocols for the BLM to proactively coordinate with AFWA, WAFWA and the state agencies they represent on wildlife issues of mutual interest. Those issues include wild horse and burro management, wilderness management, land use planning, energy and mineral development, forestry, grazing management and conservation and recreational activities for big game, migratory birds, upland game, reptiles, amphibians and fish.
“The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies is looking forward to enhanced collaborative work with the Bureau of Land Management to help better manage our nation’s valuable natural resources,” said Virgil Moore, President of the Association of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “This partnership aims to improve wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing, in connecting millions of Americans to the outdoors.”
The BLM manages more fish and wildlife habitat than any other federal or state agency, which supports over 3,000 wildlife species on federal land.
“Part of our mission as a land management agency is to help manage our nation’s fisheries and wildlife resources,” said Kristin Bail, BLM Assistant Director of Resources and Planning. “Coordinating on land use planning processes with these important representatives of state fish and game agencies helps the BLM better manage these resources to protect and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife on public land.”
The MOU will also help fulfill the needs identified in Secretarial Orders issued by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to enhance wildlife conservation and habitat improvement, support sportsmen and hunter access, and improve communication and collaboration with state fish and wildlife agencies. Secretarial Orders 3347, 3356 and 3362 were signed by Zinke in late 2017 and early 2018.
Secretarial Order 3347: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/revised_so_3447.pdf
Secretarial Order 3356: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/signed_so_3356.pdf
Secretarial Order 3362: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/so_3362_migration.pdf
Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.