WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a legislative hearing on S. 1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act. The bipartisan legislation will authorize several important government wildlife conservation programs. The HELP for Wildlife Act will also provide regulatory clarity for sportsmen and farmers. The bill is supported by a broad group of stakeholders. For more information on the bipartisan HELP for Wildlife Act, click here.
The hearing featured testimony from Brian Nesvik, chief game warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department; Jeff Crow, director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited and the former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Kim Coble, vice president of environmental protection & restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and John Vucetich, associated professor at the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.
During the hearing, witnesses testified on the bipartisan legislation’s many benefits for Wyoming. Brian Nesvik highlighted the provisions regarding the gray wolf in Wyoming. The legislation “provides the state with needed predictability while still protecting and ensuring accountability for maintenance of a recovered wolf population,” said Nesvik.
Nesvik also noted that the legislation would reauthorize important conservation programs for Wyoming. “This bill provides a priority on the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitats across America. The reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NACWA) is reflective of the priority Americans place on wildlife and wild places. In one project in our state, in the Upper Green River Basin in western Wyoming, NACWA was used in a big way, for its intended purpose. A $1 million NACWA grant, which was awarded to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in 2013, protected and enhanced more than 16,000 acres of critical habitat in the Pacific flyaway, benefiting wildlife and their habitats.”
To watch all of Nesvik’s testimony, click here.
Dale Hall, the CEO of Ducks Unlimited, testified on the HELP for Wildlife Act: “this bill is very important and has a lot of components in it that are important to all of us in the conservation community.” Hall noted the importance of NAWCA to Wyoming. “Eight NACWA projects have been completed in Wyoming since the program’s inception and these projects have conserved 45,000 acres of critical wetland and wildlife habitat.”
Hall continued to emphasize the economic importance of outdoor sports to Wyoming. “In the chairman’s state of Wyoming, 140,116 hunters created nearly 5,000 jobs, while 302,758 anglers generated more than $476 million in retail sales,” said Hall.
Hall concluded by calling for senators to pass the bipartisan legislation. “The HELP for Wildlife Act is a good bill, it is a bipartisan bill and it is a bill that is very much needed.”
To watch all of Hall’s testimony, click here.