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Saving the Sagebrush Sea: An Imperiled Western Legacy

Nearly 350 plant and animal species depend on sagebrush habitat for their survival.


IWF adds to 70-plus-year track record of wins for sportsmen, conservation

Thu, 02/04/2016

Incoming Idaho Wildlife Federation President Kahle Becker, left, and Michael Gibson, former IWF executive director. Image: Lew Carpenter

By Lew Carpenter, NWF Regional Representative

In 1938, the Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) celebrated one of its first victories when it organized and circulated petitions and lobbied for the passage of an initiative establishing a professional Fish and Game Department and Fish and Game Commission.  For more than 75 years IWF has consistently delivered legislative victories for the benefit of sportsmen, sportswomen, wildlife and habitat.

Last year, IWF’s work on behalf of sportsmen and women and conservation paid off when the Boulder-White Clouds area secured congressional wilderness protection. The designation came on the heels of IWF’s strong leadership and advocacy to protect that special place through monument status, which ultimately lead to the wilderness bill. IWF led the charge through the Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds campaign.

“There is still work to be done in protecting the East Fork of the Salmon watershed,” Michael Gibson said. “The East Fork is the highest spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead found anywhere in the world." 

Sportsmen, wildlife advocates ramp up defense of public lands with rallies, work at statehouses

Tue, 01/19/2016

People gather for a rally at the New Mexico state capitol that drew a crowd of about 300 to demand that public lands stay in public hands. Image: Lew Carpenter

As the National Wildlife Federation and its state affiliates geared up to defend public lands with the start of new legislative sessions, the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge prompted rallies from Seattle to Santa Fe by sportsmen and women to say "Keep public lands in public hands."

About 300 people attended a Jan. 19 demonstration in Portland, Ore., where Bob Rees of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, NWF's Oregon state affiliate, spoke. Garret VeneKlasen, New Mexico Wildlife Federation executive director, was among the speakers at a Jan. 21 rally in Santa Fe. 

“As the illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge winds down, perpetrators are held accountable, and damages are repaired, we must also focus on the policy dispute at the heart of this debate: Should our public lands be sustained for the benefit of all Americans, or should they be exploited for the enrichment of the few or sold off to the highest bidder?” says Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. 


Wyoming Wildlife Federation hires new executive director

Thu, 12/17/2015

Chamois Andersen is the new executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Wildlife Federation has hired Chamois Andersen as executive director. She has served as publications and communications manager for the Wyoming State Geological Survey and communications manger for the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the University of Wyoming.

Her natural resource agency work includes head of communications for the Marine Region for the California Department of Fish and Game and public information officer for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. An angler and outdoors enthusiast, Andersen lives with her husband, a University of Wyoming associate professor, and daughter in Laramie.



Greater sage-grouse escapes congressional funding assaults

Wed, 12/16/2015


An agreement on a new federal spending bill spares greater sage-grouse conservation plans marked earlier this year at a news conference with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, other federal officials and Western governors. Image: NWF/Jack Dempsey

By Judith Kohler

The National Wildlife Federation said an agreement on a $1.15 trillion federal spending bill is good news for greater sage-grouse conservation because of what it doesn’t contain – provisions that would have derailed work to save the signature Western species and the habitat that supports more than 350 species.

 Federal lawmakers’ rejection of amendments to the proposed omnibus spending bill that could have blocked implementation of federal sage-grouse conservation plans is a boost to saving some of our country’s irreplaceable landscapes, said Aaron Kindle, the National Wildlife Federation’s Western sportsmen’s campaign manager. He noted that a 2014 NWF poll found nine out of 10 Western sportsmen support conserving sage grouse, whose numbers have been declining for decades.

 “It’s time to carry on the hard work of bringing the bird back from the brink of no return and ensuring public lands that sustain hunting, angling, recreation and local economies remain healthy,” Kindle added.