WASHINGTON, DC -Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops®, and former Wyoming governor, Dave Freudenthal, today named 20 members of the national Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources to advance solutions for funding a 21st century model of conservation. The Blue Ribbon Panel co-chairs, Morris and Freudenthal, made their announcement during a keynote address at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Blue Ribbon Panelists represent the outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen's groups and state fish and wildlife agencies. The Panelists will work together over the course of a year to produce recommendations and policy options on the most sustainable and equitable model to fund conservation of the full array of fish and wildlife species.
The Blue Ribbon Panelists on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources: Kevin Butt-General Manager and Chief Environmental Officer, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. and Board Member, Wildlife Habitat Council
John Doerr-President and CEO, Pure Fishing, Inc. and Board Member, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
Jim Faulstich-Owner, Daybreak Ranch and Vice Chairman, Partners for Conservation
John Fitzpatrick-Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Co-inventor, eBird
Gregg Hill-President and CEO of Exploration and Production, Hess Corporation
Rebecca Humphries-Chief Conservation Officer, National Wild Turkey Federation
Dr. Stephen Kellert-Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Board Member, Bio-Logical Capital; Founding Partner, Environmental Capital Partners
Jennifer Mull-Chief Executive Officer, Backwoods Equipment, Inc. and Board Chair of the Outdoor Industry Association
John W. Newman-CFO and Treasurer, LLOG Exploration Company, LLC and Board Chairman, Ducks Unlimited
Margaret O'Gorman-President, Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) and Board Member, Stewardship Action Council
Glenn Olson-Donal O'Brien Chair in Bird Conservation and Public Policy, National Audubon Society (NAS) and Member, North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Council and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Advisory Council
Collin O'Mara-President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation
Connie Parker-CEO and Founder, CSPARKERGROUP and Board Member, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida
Charlie Potter-CEO, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and Founder and Chairman, Great Outdoors, LLC
Lynn Scarlett-Managing Director, Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy
John Tomke-President, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico and Chair, Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council
Dr. James Walker-Vice Chairman of the Board, EDF Renewable Energy and Board Member, American Wind Energy Association
Dr. Steve Williams-President, Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and Board President, National Conservation Leadership Institute; Board Member, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Bob Ziehmer-Director, Missouri Department of Conservation
"Conservation means balancing the sustainability of fish and wildlife with the many needs of humans for clean air and water; land; food and fiber; dependable energy; economic development and recreation, " said Morris. "By assembling this Panel of highly regarded leaders and problem solvers, we will find a way forward that safeguards not only vital natural resources, but also our nation's economic prosperity and outdoor heritage. "
"With fish and wildlife species and natural resource-based enterprise at stake, we can't afford an 'us vs. them' mentality, " said Freudenthal. "It is time to create certainty for both industry and the conservation community by building a 21st century funding model. "
State hunting and fishing license dollars, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and motorboat fuel taxes have provided the backbone for funding states' fish and wildlife conservation programs over the past century. However, there has always been a significant gap in dedicated funding for conserving the 95 percent of all species that are neither hunted nor fished.
Only partially filling that gap is the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, the sole federal source of funding to state agencies to prevent new endangered species listings. Since 2010, the program's funding has been cut by more than 35 percent while petitions for federal endangered species listing has skyrocketed by 1,000 percent.
"Dedicated funding allowing for the management of all fish and wildlife, whether game or non-game species, is essential for this nation, " said Bob Ziehmer, Missouri Department of Conservation director and representative for state fish and wildlife agencies on the Blue Ribbon Panel. "Many species are declining in abundance and will continue to do so if we don't work toward establishing a sustainable funding source for our nation now and into the future. "
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies began its quest to secure sustained funding for fish and wildlife diversity conservation in the early 1990s. The launch of the Teaming With Wildlife coalition, which now includes nearly 6,400 organizations, was a critical step in demonstrating broad and diverse support for dedicated fish and wildlife funding.
The co-chairs expect to add approximately three more individuals and four Ex Officio participants to the Panel before it convenes its first meeting in early 2015.
To learn more about AFWA's Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Fish and Wildlife Resources, go to www.fishwildlife.org/blueribbonpanel.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies - the organization that represents North America's fish and wildlife agencies-promotes sound resource management and conservation, and speaks on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web atwww.fishwildlife.org, on Facebook /AssociationofFishandWildlifeAgencies and on Twitter @fishwildlife.