June 17, 2024

Technology Reigns at WAFWA

Article Contact: Marie Neumiller,

Why It Matters: Many sportsmen and sportswomen head to the outdoors to get away from their phones and technology, so it can be easy to forget that technology has many benefits for, as well as impacts on, conservation efforts. From GIS mapping systems that will help improve sagebrush habitat, to debates over hunting and fishing upgrades, technology was in the spotlight at the recent summer meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).


  • During the WAFWA commission committee meetings, state fish and game commissions discussed new technology for hunting and fishing gear while sharing their various methods for determining if those new items are consistent with fair chase.
  • As green energy collection efforts expand and impact sagebrush habitats, wildlife managers are turning to technology to help with conservation efforts.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) was present, staying up to date and representing the sportsmen’s voice.

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) held their summer meeting in Stevenson, Washington from June 3 – 7, 2024. The benefits and impacts of new and existing technologies were highlighted in almost every topic for discussion from the plenary session through the individual committee breakouts.

From the impact of green energy technology on migrating and sensitive species, to the explosion of new hunting and fishing technology, western state fish and game commissioners had a lot of ground to cover during their commission committee meetings. Arizona Commissioners shared information about the process they take for approving new technology through their fair chase advisors. Commissioners also shared the impacts of solar and wind development, the various permitting processes, and potential legislative pushes to prioritize adding solar to existing structures to limit the loss of habitat.

The Sagebrush Initiative Leadership Committee delivered a presentation showing ways that geographic information systems (GIS) mapping can be integrated into sagebrush recovery efforts. A representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) shared recent findings that having just 4 trees per acre can impact grouse leks, reducing the likelihood of breeding success. Utilizing an academic hardware grant, the coalition set out to create a mapping system to help wildlife managers and property owners identify areas of rangeland encroachment by marrying modern satellite imagery with historical ariel photos. A second presentation from Washington State representatives demonstrated how mapping systems can be utilized to identify the “least conflict solar siting” areas. With the hopes of creating space for development while conserving vital migration corridors and breeding locations.

Another example of the benefit of modern technology was the increase in poaching convictions as a direct result of enforcement officer’s utilization of social media to collect evidence that ultimately strengthens individual cases.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation was present during these sessions and will continue engaging in future conversations around technology to ensure that the sportsmen’s voice is represented in any new regulations.

States Involved:

View All news

Back TO All

In Season


Stay current with the latest news, policy activity and how to get involved.

Sign up for Newsletters


Donate today so we can keep fighting for tomorrow!

Donate Now