By Dave Nomsen, vice-president of governmental affairs for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
The most common denominator among all Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever members and supporters whom I’ve ever known is a pure, deeply rooted passion for conservation. Whether it’s a cackling rooster or whistling quail, the thrill of a dog going on point, a monarch butterfly among wildflowers, or that grin on a hunter’s face when afield for the first time, it’s something deep within all of us.
So it makes sense that as we ponder what’s going on in Washington, D.C. in the corridors of the administration and in the halls of Congress, that some of those thoughts turn to conservation. Of course the primary focus in the current COVID-19 crisis are programs to support our nation’s overall health and economic well-being, and rightfully so.
But as we all search for those precious escapes so important to our overall well-being, perhaps your thoughts turn to the needs of future generations, and how tomorrow’s actions may help support the stewardship ethic among us all. It is – as we know – all connected.
While the news cycles are centered around our current health crisis, our team, partners in conservation and our Capitol Hill staff continue to quietly engage in the construction of conservation policy.
In the next few weeks, our governmental affairs team will offer up thoughtful reviews of current programs and do a little crystal-ball gazing at what lies ahead for conservationists.
Closest to the Hill and the administration is our Washington, D.C. representative Bethany Erb. First up, Bethany will provide a detailed review of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). It’s been one of our organization’s top priorities over the last decade, and you may recall that LWCF was permanently reauthorized at the beginning of 2019.
Bethany will also write about conservation plans to be included as part of the economic relief package connected to the COVID-19 crisis. Within that package, we expect conservation measures to improve habitat on our public lands and places to recreate (and take our kids, since most are out of school). These public places have incredible value, especially now.
Additionally, Jim Inglis, our director of governmental affairs, will write about the implementation of the various 2018 Farm Bill conservation programs. In that article Jim will highlight current conservation programs available right now, and how interested individuals can enroll in the array of habitat tools beyond the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts contribute billions of dollars in economic support annually, with much of that benefitting rural America. Conservation projects helping rural Americans can also be part of the economic stimulus solution policymakers in our federal government are working on now. Likewise, individual enrollment in conservation programs benefits farmers and ranchers for the economic stability and security they provide.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly right now, let me thank and applaud the volunteers and donors out there who have contributed in one way or another these last few weeks. Your individual voices, donations, and efforts represent the heart and soul of our non-profit organization.
Together we will endure this crisis and collectively we will once again drive wildlife conservation successes for all.
Read Pheasants Forever's response to the COVID-19 pandemic