Conservation Leaders Unite Against Cuts to Water and Wildlife Programs
Idahoans Work to Preserve the Natural Beauty of the Gem State
Mekell Mikell, Ph.D.
Conservation leaders in the Gem State are fighting to protect its precious water and wildlife resources from proposed cuts in the House-passed Continuing Resolution, or H.R.1. There are a number of threatened and endangered species in Idaho, and this bill drastically reduces or eliminates programs that are essential to their survival.
Experts from the Idaho Wildlife Federation, Nez Perce tribe, Idaho Rivers United and Idaho Conservation League are speaking out about the negative and long-lasting impacts these budget cuts could have on wildlife in the Gem State.
"State Wildlife Grant funding is essential towards the implementation of the Idaho Wildlife Action Plan," says Rob Fraser, president of the Idaho Wildlife Federation. This plan helps keep at-risk species off of the national endangered species list, which allows us to manage Idaho wildlife conservation issues at the State level without Federal intervention.”
"From Idaho’s rivers to its wetlands, there are at-risk species that benefit from these funds,” says Greg Stahl, assistant policy director of Idaho Rivers United. “Cutting these expenditures at the front end could unfortunately lead to further expense down the road. The Endangered Species Act is a powerful tool designed to protect and preserve imperiled wildlife populations. Spending now to protect our wildlife before listing becomes necessary is simply a good investment."
The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program protect wildlife from becoming endangered,” according to Keith Lawrence, director of the wildlife management division for the Nez Perce tribe. “Sadly, this important conservation program is now an endangered species under H.R.1. The House-passed Continuing Resolution eliminates funding for these grants, which the Nez Perce tribe uses to safeguard iconic fish and wildlife like the bald eagle. Without these grants, our way of life and the natural beauty of Idaho are threatened.”
As conservation leaders continue to work to preserve Idaho’s outdoor heritage, the federal government could shut down this week on April 8th. Lawmakers are reportedly working on a compromise, and advocates for water and wildlife urge them not to compromise Idaho’s natural resources.