Category Archives: Uncategorized

Alert: Two extraordinarily important bills need your comments this week 3/20/17

URGENT! Please support pending legislation to 1) dedicate seats on the Board of Game for non-consumptive users, and 2) stop wolf hunting and trapping adjacent to Denali National Park

House Bill 134, which would require at least one non-consumptive user and one tourism representative to be seated on the seven-member Board of Game, will come up for its first public hearing in the House Resources Committee this week. HB 105 (Denali wolf buffer area) is scheduled for a continued public hearing at the same time.

The teleconferenced public hearings on both bills are scheduled for:

Monday, March 20 and

Wednesday, March 22

both begin at 1:00 pm.

 

There are several ways to give input on HB 134 and HB 105:

  • At your local Legislative Information Office you may testify via teleconference. Locations are listed here. http://akleg.gov/lios.php LIO staff will help with the process, and you can also submit a written copy of your comments.
  • Call in to the hearing directly: (844) 586-9085. The wait time to speak will depend on how many others are calling in.

 

HB 134, which would mandate two non-consumptive members on the Board of Game, is critical to nearly every wildlife issue we face in Alaska.

We cannot over-emphasize the importance of everyone speaking up in support of this bill! If we do not support it, we cannot complain when the Board of Game continues its “business as usual” managing wildlife for hunters and trappers.

Introduced by Anchorage Rep. Andy Josephson, HB 134 states in part:

“In making board member appointments, the governor is directed to consider a diversity of interests and points of view. Unfortunately, past and present board appointments have favored consumptive interests and failed to include sufficient representation for non-consumptive interests.

Alaska’s wildlife is more than a hunting opportunity for many Alaskans and visitors. Wildlife viewing, photography, and scientific research carry value such that it is worth having non-consumptive interests represented on the Board of Game.”

Read the full bill here. http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=HB0134A

 

HB 105 would close an area on state land adjacent to the northeastern park boundary to hunting and trapping of wolves. (Read the full bill here:

http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=HB0105A )

This area roughly overlaps the Wolf Townships/Stampede Corridor where we have been fighting for years to get a buffer approved by the Board of Game. (The most recent buffer proposal was unanimously defeated by the BOG in February.)

Note: The hearing times for HB 105 (Denali wolf buffer), are for those who have not previously testified on the bill. If you have already testified, it is not necessary to do so again.

Lawmakers need to hear loud and clear that we enthusiastically support these bills!

As co-chair of the House Resources Committee, Andy is in a position to (hopefully) champion these bills through that committee. If they advance to other committee(s) and the full House, their future is less certain. Nevertheless it is a great accomplishment and true progress that we can get these and other pending wildlife-related bills to public hearings. Please tell Andy that you support his efforts and his pending legislation. He is a dedicated supporter of wildlife and environmental issues – we owe him a huge “thank you”!

Again, it is imperative that we make our voices heard on these bills.

Thank you.

P.S. We apologize for the short notice; these hearings are scheduled by the legislature on short notice.

AWA and other conservation groups join lawsuits on predator control

Press Release from Trustees for Alaska: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 8, 2017

Contacts:
Pat Lavin, Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
plavin@defenders.org, 907-276-9410
Jim Adams, Alaska Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association
jadams@npca.org, 907-538-5898, available after 1:30p Alaska time
Fran Mauer, wildlife biologist, board member, Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch
fmauer@mosquitonet.com, 907-455-6829
Michelle Sinnott, Staff Attorney, Trustees for Alaska
msinnott@trustees.org, 907-433-2011

Conservation groups join lawsuits on predator control

Over a dozen conservation groups filed a request in federal court today to defend regulations protecting wildlife in National Preserves and National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.

The motion filed by Trustees for Alaska on behalf of 15 clients is in response to two separate lawsuits filed by the State of Alaska and the Safari Club last month. The two lawsuits challenge National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations prohibiting aggressive sport hunting methods targeting bears and wolves on Preserves and Refuges.

“The State wants to kill wolves and bears to increase moose and caribou, but that’s not the purpose of these lands,” said Fran Mauer, a former wildlife biologist and board member for the Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch. “Alaskans and Americans go to these areas for a lot of different reasons, and we experience them in a lot of different ways. Most people want to see wildlife with its natural dynamics and populations intact. It will profoundly diminish our experiences if these lands are manipulated as game farms.”

“Refuge and Preserve lands are managed for biological integrity and diversity,” said Pat Lavin, the Alaska representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “The state’s extreme methods remove predators wholesale from the landscape and have no place on these lands. Alaskans and Americans treasure our phenomenal wildlife and don’t want to see iconic species managed to scarcity.”

The National Park Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service manage wildlife on Preserves and Refuges to protect natural diversity of wildlife. These agencies generally allow the State of Alaska to regulate sport hunting, but they do not allow the State to regulate sport hunting in a way aimed at significantly reducing wolf and bear populations.

The lawsuits filed by the state and Safari Club run counter to Alaska’s economic interests. “Visitors to Alaska come to see wildlife, particularly bears,” said Jim Adams, the Alaska Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association. “The 2.6 million park and preserve visitors in 2015 spent an estimated $1.2 billion in local gateway regions and supported 17.6 thousand jobs.”

Trustees for Alaska is a non-profit public interest environmental law firm founded and based in Alaska to defend and protect Alaska lands, waters, wildlife and communities. Trustees filed today’s motion to intervene on behalf of 15 conservation groups:

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance
Alaskans for Wildlife
Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges
Denali Citizens Council
Copper Country Alliance
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society
Defenders of Wildlife
National Parks Conservation Association
National Wildlife Refuge Association
Northern Alaska Environmental Center
The Wilderness Society
Wilderness Watch
Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club
Center for Biological Diversity
The Humane Society of the United States

Good news! USFWS says NO to “Intensive Management” on refuge lands.

Here is the official, somewhat dry, press release about this action , from USFWS:

https://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ref=u.-s.-fish-and-wildlife-service-publishes-final-rule-for-alaska-national-&_ID=35756

USFWS Director Dan Ashe has done a terrific job of describing the meaning of this decision, in a blog published on Huffington Post:

“…over the past several years, the Alaska Board of Game has unleashed a withering attack on bears and wolves that is wholly at odds with America’s long tradition of ethical, sportsmanlike, fair-chase hunting, in something they call “intensive predator management.” In this context, intensive means aggressive and sustained, and management means killing…

…But there comes a time when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service must stand up for the authorities and principles that underpin our work and say “no.”

Read Mr. Ashe’s excellent full commentary on Huffington Post.

Brown Bear and cubs on Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS photo by Lisa Hupp

Brown Bear and cubs on Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS photo by Lisa Hupp

 

 

NPS Study: Wolf Harvest Near Denali and Yellowstone Affects Wolf Viewing Opportunities

NPS News Release, April 28th, 2016

“Harvest is one of several factors that potentially affect wolf viewing opportunities in Denali and Yellowstone National Parks. Visitors to national parks were half as likely to see wolves in their natural habitat when wolf hunting was permitted just outside Denali National Park’s boundaries during a period from 1997- 2013. Other important factors linked to wolf viewing rates include, the proximity of wolf dens to the Park Road and the regional wolf population.

A study co-authored by researchers at the University of Washington and the National Park Service appearing April 28 in the journal PLOS ONE, examined wolf harvest and sightings data from two national parks — Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska and Yellowstone National Park that straddles Wyoming, Montana and Idaho — and found visitors were almost twice as likely to see a wolf during periods when trapping and hunting wasn’t permitted adjacent to the parks. …”

Read the news release here: https://www.nps.gov/dena/learn/news/wolf-harvest-affects-viewing-opportunities.htm