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SCI Supports the Congressional Western Caucus: A Blueprint for Real Conservation

Recently, the Congressional Western Caucus, chaired by Representative Dan Newhouse and Senator Steve Daines, created the Western Conservation Principles in response to the Biden Administrations 30×30 initiative. The 30×30 initiative is the goal of conserving 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 but unfortunately, the administration has still failed to even define conservation. As the Administration works on this plan, the Western Caucus has responded with these principles to ensure the priorities of the West are included. SCI supports the blueprint as we work to expand hunting and outdoor access across the country. 

The predominant concern of the caucus and sportsmen and women is that 30×30 will adopt preservationist land designations. This is very different from conservation, which entails participation, active management, and sustainable use. Preservation is the total protection of nature and minimized use of natural resources. This concern is not unfounded; in addition to repeatedly failing to pledge a No-Net-Loss of hunting and fishing access, the Administration has already locked up millions of acres in Utah.  

This blueprint provides a true conservationist approach to address the management needs of ecosystems and to ensure that all stakeholders, private property rights, and proven conservation strategies are included. Rather than preserving land area, the goal of this plan is to pursue healthy landscapes by addressing issues such as invasive species, dying forests, and agricultural needs.  

We have seen time and again that active management and participation lead to the best outcome for wildlife and habitat, and much of this is thanks to the efforts of hunters. The threat of No-Net-Loss is serious as a preservationist approach will never include hunting. The statement describes these principles: “We have decades of proof that conservation and working lands are not mutually exclusive but instead, are integrated with multiple-use, responsible development, and active management. Our longest-standing partners in land stewardship are our ranchers, sportsmen, foresters, and landowners. No one knows better the importance of stewarding our resources than those whose livelihoods depends on them. Our lands will thrive when they thrive.”

SCI applauds this effort by the Congressional Western Caucus and will continue to fight for true conservation policy that promotes the rights of hunters. SCI also recently joined 54 other hunting and conservation organizations, representing millions of sportsmen and women, in outlining recommendations to the Administration as they develop the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas. The Atlas is being created by an interagency working group analyzing the current number of land and waters conserved across the country as a part of the 30×30 initiative. Read the full request here.

Hunters give more than anyone to wildlife, landscapes, and conservation, yet they are often the first to be ignored in conservation discussions. This blueprint not only focuses on hunting rights but also provides a strategy for the full picture of sustainable conservation.SCI is fighting for a No-Net-Loss commitment from the Administration, and now we need your help more than ever. Sign our petition today to stand up for your rights to the outdoors! 

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