Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
On January 11, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined several other conservation organizations in signing an amicus brief (brief) in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Indiana. The brief supports the U.S. Forest Service’s Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project (Houston South Project) in the Hoosier National Forest (HNF). This project would take place over the course of several years and benefit both game and non-game species through the creation of young forest habitat.
“Active forest management is critical to creating and maintaining healthy forests and quality habitat for wildlife, and we are pleased to join the amicus brief to support Indiana’s wildlife and hunting traditions that benefit from sustainable timber management,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “The lack of active management on the Hoosier National Forest has dire consequences for young forest wildlife species, and we are optimistic that the efforts of the hunting conservation community will lead to increased levels of habitat management for the benefit of wildlife.”
The U.S. Forest Service spent almost 15 months studying the environmental impacts of the project before unveiling its final proposed plan. The Houston South Project is compliant with federal laws and the standards and guidelines established in the forest plan. This project would employ several types of forest management practices to combat invasive species and help prevent the spread of tree diseases within the forest while creating sections of young successional forest within the HNF. These areas of young forest are missing from much of America’s landscape but are vital to the survival of many species, including the now state-endangered ruffed grouse. Readers may recall that the Hoosier state officially listed the ruffed grouse as a state endangered species on December 16, 2020. CSF worked with the Indiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and our partners in support of this listing.
Opponents of the plan are suing the U.S. Forest service to halt the project. CSF is not a party to the lawsuit but signed onto the amicus brief to show our support for this important project.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?