EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation is pleased at the passing of the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Among many other funding issues, this bill contains forest management reform and fire funding solution provisions that the National Forests so direly need.
These provisions provide budget relief to the USDA Forest Service by capping the amount of wildfire funding that must come from its annual budget and supplying disaster funding to make up the difference. This will free up funding to address other forest management and recreation priorities of the agency. Additionally, the provisions provide measures that will expedite active forest management, extend the length of stewardship contracts, improve authorities allowing states to assist with management of federal lands and limit opportunities for litigation of some Forest Service projects.
Inclusion of these measures in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill is the result of years of hard work by NWTF staff, volunteers, members and partners, as well as the many other conservation organizations and conservation advocates in Washington.
The NWTF has considered fire funding and forest reform to be a priority and has worked with elected officials to have such legislation introduced.
The NWTF recognizes and thanks Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer (D-NY) for including these measures in the Bill.
“The legislation addressing the wildfire funding crisis is a result of the leadership in Washington coming together for a bipartisan solution,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “With a new fire funding budget fix and measures that will increase the pace of forest restoration, we can all get to work reducing the threats of wildfires and creating quality wildlife habitat.”
The NWTF also thanks House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Agricultural Committee for their leadership and direction in solving these funding issues. Special thanks to Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) who has worked tirelessly over the last three years to find solutions for a fire funding fix and improved forest management. Westerman, the only licensed forester in Congress, received a Government Partner award last month at the annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville for his work on behalf of conservation.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit an historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to raise $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.