On April 23, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a formal comment letter to the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in response to their proposed updates for 49 conservation practice standards. As directed by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS is currently in the process of reviewing all 168 conservation practice standards to ensure that these practices can effectively meet desired conservation objectives.
In the letter, CSF agreed with the proposed updates to the existing conservation practice standards. In particular, CSF acknowledged the positive changes made to increase the local adaptability of conservation practices to address project-specific needs. This flexibility allows practitioners and agency personnel to incorporate new technologies and customize conservation practices to unique situations that may not be adequately achieved using a rigid “cookie-cutter” approach. This flexibility also encourages innovative approaches to address multiple conservation goals. For sportsmen, this includes conservation practices that benefit wildlife habitat, particularly for game species. Though improving wildlife habitat is not a primary objective for every conservation practice, NRCS encourages practitioners to consider the effects that many conservation practices will have on wildlife. Such consideration is sure to improve habitat quality for many species, including important game species.
The 2018 Farm Bill brought several changes to the conservation programs managed by NRCS, and the agency has done an excellent job implementing these changes to ensure that these programs remain successful. For example, NRCS has recently announce the awards for the Voluntary Public Access – Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). CSF used the comment letter as an opportunity to thank NRCS for their efforts in implementing the programs created or reauthorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. CSF looks forward to working with legislators, agency officials, and Mission Partners to ensure that these conservation programs continue to benefit America’s landowners, sportsmen, and natural resources. For more information on Farm Bill Conservation Programs administered by NRCS, click here.
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?