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With fish and wildlife facing ever-emerging new challenges from climatic shifts, "we need to train our eyes, ears and hands on the ground"
WASHINGTON - As climate change legislation comes to the floor of the Senate, America's sportsmen are elevating their calls on Congress to include major funding for fish and wildlife management.

"At a time when extinction for lots of species could result from under-investing in fish and wildlife," said James D. Range, Chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, "we've got to give professional conservationists the tools to deal with these threats."

"Fish and wildlife all across the country will adopt new behaviors and biological responses as a result of climatic changes," said Steve Williams, President of the Wildlife Management Institute. "If we're to understand these shifts and successfully manage them, we need to train our eyes, ears and hands on the ground. And we need more professionals in the field than ever before."

S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, is intended to require large emitters such as power plants and oil refineries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions every year at a pace needed to avoid catastrophic climate changes. In its current form, it is projected to reduce U.S. global warming pollution from major emitters by more than 15% below current levels between 2012 and 2020, and 70% below current levels by 2050. The act also will provide billions of dollars to help wildlife and habitats survive a changing climate.

Funding on such a scale was one of the primary recommendations of the Seasons' End report, which was released by the Bipartisan Policy Council in April. It encapsulated the concerns about climate change of TRCP partner organizations, including the Wildlife Management Institute, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, BASS/ESPN Outdoors, Izaak Walton League of America, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Coastal Conservation Association, American Sportfishing Association and Pheasants Forever.

Among the findings in the Seasons' End report:

? The prairie pothole region could lose up to 90 percent of its wetlands, reducing the number of the continent's breeding ducks by as much as 69 percent.
? Sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast could destroy 45 percent of the habitat that supports canvasbacks, redheads and pintails.

Fresh Water Fish
? Nationally, up to 42 percent of current trout and salmon habitat will be lost before the end of the century, with the south, southwest and northeast experiencing especially severe reductions.
? In regions most affected by global warming, trout and salmon populations will be slashed by 50 percent or more. Many trout species already listed as threatened or endangered will become increasingly vulnerable to extinction.
? In the Pacific Northwest, up to 40 percent of the salmon population will disappear.
? In localized, high-mountain areas of the West, bull trout will suffer reductions of up to 90 percent. In the lower elevations of the Appalachian Mountains, as much as 97 percent of the wild trout population will die.

Big Game
? Pronghorn, elk and mule deer will lose vital habitat in many regions of the American West as rising temperatures allow trees and shrubs to overwhelm sagebrush ecosystems.
? Rising temperatures will allow forests to climb to higher elevations, severely limiting the alpine habitats that support bighorn and other mountain sheep.
? As fragmentation and loss of winter ranges continue, mule deer and elk will dwindle in number in the Rocky Mountain states, the Intermountain West and the northern Boreal Forest. In some locations, over time both species will disappear entirely.

Upland Birds
? Across central North America, including the prairie pothole region, global warming will cause droughts that could devastate food sources for upland birds. Prairie chickens, sharp-tailed grouse and pheasants will be among the species most diminished in number by these changes.
? In the Deep South, summertime drought and high temperatures will shrink bobwhite quail populations by disrupting the birds' breeding cycles and reducing availability of the insects that hens and chicks eat. Hot, dry conditions will also stunt the growth of vegetative cover, leaving broods vulnerable to predators.
? In the desert southwest and the high desert valleys of California and Nevada, drier and hotter conditions throughout late fall and early spring will imperil the overall health, reproduction and recruitment of quail and chukar.

Salt Water Fish
? Subsequent to only a moderate increase in water temperature, changes in distribution, growth rates and recruitment success will benefit some species. Among others, large population declines and possible local extinctions may occur.
? Sea-level rise will destroy thousands of acres of coastal salt marshes and sea grass beds that are home to egg, larval and juvenile stages of game fish.
? Increasingly frequent and severe storms could disrupt feeding and nursery conditions for the eggs and larvae of game fish like snook and croaker, causing declines in recruitment. Marine species spawning offshore, such as Atlantic menhaden and blue crab, could benefit from winds that push their offspring landward."If we're going to effectively counteract these dangerous trends for fish and wildlife, one thing is certain," said William Geer, TRCP initiative manager. "State fish and wildlife management agencies will need the dedicated funding to develop and implement conservation actions to help species adapt to climate change."

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

Media Contact:
Bill Geer, 406-396-0909, [email protected]

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm gonna call Bill Geer and ask him how its going to help my fishing and hunting when we have $20 a gallon gasoline and aren't allowed to drive more than 1/2 hour from home. Also how am I gonna fish when they outlaw private boats?
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