Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator
On January 6, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted comments to the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) regarding its Draft GC3 Phase 1 Report: Near-Term Actions (Draft Phase 1 Report). The Draft Phase 1 Report contains significant concerns that must be rectified going forward.
As was previously reported in October, CSF worked alongside partner conservation organizations in submitting a sign-on letter to the GC3 pertaining to a draft report published by the Forests Sub-Group. Not only did this report promote a flawed and generally unaccepted method of forest management, referred to as “pro-forestation,” but it was also amassed by a body that was missing key stakeholders. The Forests Sub-Group’s membership did not include private landowners, members of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Division of Forestry/Division of Wildlife, or sportsmen’s organizations.
In December, the GC3 filed its notice of the Draft Phase 1 Report on Christmas Eve, opening up the public comment period over the holiday season – the slowest work week in America. This placed significant adversities on those who wished to provide testimony, including conservation organizations that needed to coordinate on expedited timelines due to this unusual and perhaps calculated timeline. Moreover, none of the recommendations put forward by CSF and other conservation organizations in October were incorporated into the Draft. Nonetheless, CSF submitted comments to the Draft through the GC3’s online survey and provided separate, written testimony regarding GC3’s actions thus far.
Substantively speaking, the Draft Phase 1 Report does not explicitly suggest policies that prevent commercial timber harvests, but it continues to make recommendations that are contrary to the methods that are crucial for improving wildlife habitat and forest health. Practices like active forest management employs the use of silvicultural methods and forest management practices, such as prescribed burning and timber harvesting to create desired habitat conditions in addition to forest stand composition and structure. The Draft Phase 1 Report’s emphasis on “permanent protection” instead of “conservation” exemplifies the lack of weight the October sign-on letter was given.
CSF will continue to provide updates on this issue as they are made available.
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?