Local, state, and national hunting and fishing organizations have come together to form the Washington Fish and Wildlife Conservation Partnership, which describes itself as “dedicated to protecting the state’s hunting, fishing, and trapping heritage through science-based fish and wildlife management.”
The new group says it grew out of the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s cancellation of this year’s spring bear hunt and “the need to have a formal, permanent coalition that can work together to protect the state’s foreign heritage, including recent efforts by anti-hunting interests to undermine the American model of wildlife conservation and the funding of the American conservation system.”
It follows the recent formation of the Washington Wildlife Coalition by a number of environmental and animal rights organizations.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Conservation Partnership says that even at this early stage, nearly 20 national, Washington and local organizations have joined the cause, including Sportsmen’s Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, HOWL for Wildlife, SCI, Inland NW Wildlife Council, Washingtonians for Wildlife Conservation, Washington State Archery Association, American Sportfishing Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, NWTF, TRCP, Northwest Steelheaders and Puget Sound Anglers.
The coalition is being co-chaired by Keely Hopkins of CSF and Marie Neumiller of INWC.
MARIE NEUMILLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NORTHWEST WILDLIFE COUNCIL OF THE INTERIOR WEST AND FREQUENT COMMENTATOR BEFORE THE WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION, SPEAKS THIS MORNING IN COLVILLE. (TVW)
WFWCP says among its focuses are committee appointments. The final five nominees to the civic table have rocked the proverbial boat and sports groups have said they were not consulted about the nominees.
One of WFWCP’s first acts so far has been to send a letter to Governor Jay Inslee in support of re-nominating Spokane Bird Kim Thorburn. She is a big supporter of hunting and fishing, but her term expires at the end of this year.
So does that of Commissioner Don McIsaac, another supporter of fishing and hunting, making this a precarious time for sportsman representation on the citizen panel that sets WDFW policies and hires and fires its director.
“The coalition is also organizing in response to recent efforts by anti-hunting interests to reform WDFW in an attempt to undermine America’s model of wildlife conservation and the critical funding provided by hunters and anglers under the American System of Conservation Funding,” the WFWCP press release states.
This is a reference to the Washington Wildlife Coalition, made up of Wild Fish Conservancy, The Conservation Angler, Center For Biological Diversity, Humane Society of the United States, and Washington Wildlife First, among others, who are seeking to reform WDFW and the commission and that held a convention last week on Vashon Island, scrapping the event schedule and other details as it drew attention.
The pro-fishing and hunting group says it will be active in Olympia, focusing on a number of “key policy areas.”