Why it matters: Our nation’s transportation and infrastructure systems are vital to our economy and our way of life. Infrastructure supports the movement of people, goods, services, and our nation’s fish and wildlife. Infrastructure is not only defined in terms of “gray infrastructure,” such as roads and bridges, as Congress has long recognized the need to support and fund “natural infrastructure.” Congress is currently working to develop a robust infrastructure package, and as such, it is critical to ensure the priorities of the sporting conservation community are clearly defined and expressed.
On May 20, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) sent identical but separate letters, which were signed by nearly 50 of the nation’s leading sporting conservation organizations, to the House and Senate leaders in Congress that are tasked with developing our nation’s infrastructure plan. In the letter, CSF called on Congress to ensure that any infrastructure package includes conservation policies that will provide durable, lasting investments in ecological health, support habitat health and connectivity, climate resilience, and clean water, all the while serving as an economic stimulator.
In the letter, CSF and partners expressed strong support for programs such as reauthorizing the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, fully funding State Wildlife Actions Plans through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, enhancing habitat connectivity through wildlife crossings and fish passage programs, and investment in coastal resiliency, among others.
This letter builds off a virtual policy briefing hosted by CSF on May 10, which provided an opportunity for CSF and partners including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership to speak to opportunities to invest in natural infrastructure. The briefing also highlighted ways that natural infrastructure investments will conserve our nation’s fish, wildlife, and their associated habitats while simultaneously enhancing outdoor recreation and economic growth.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is actively working with leaders in Congress to ensure that policies of importance to sportsmen and women are included in an infrastructure package.
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?