The Wildlifer

Issue 350 | May 2009  

In this issue

THE PRESIDENT’S PODIUM
by Tom Franklin
Tom FranklinMost of us feel the effects of the recent quake in the economy and the following global financial tsunami. Wall Street tanked, home foreclosures soared, major banks sank, the auto industry plummeted, and unemployment rose. The Federal government moved to stem the tide by bailing out failing industries. The President and Congress collaborated to pass “stimulus” legislation to help stave off recession and avoid a depression. The idea was for government to “kick start” the economy by injecting billions of dollars of “shovel ready” projects that will create jobs, re-build infrastructure and otherwise benefit the public.

In the face of adversity, there sometimes are opportunities. In this case, the wildlife community rallied to identify habitat restoration and conservation infrastructure projects to include in the stimulus package. A coalition of conservation and sportsmen’s organizations worked feverishly with key leaders in the Obama Administration and Congress to identify worthy conservation projects that will create jobs quickly, bolster the economy and benefit fish and wildlife resources. Low and behold, we were successful in incorporating nearly $3.3 billion in conservation funding, which translates into over 60 thousand jobs, in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These funds will support projects that will benefit fish and wildlife resources by improving public lands habitat.

In the wake of the stimulus bill, interactions between the wildlife community and the new Administration resulted in some positive proposals in the President’s 2010 budget. Some highlights in his USDA proposal include a $34 million increase in Forest Service funding to acquire easements of forested lands under development pressures and funding for conservation tax incentives. The proposed budget for the Department of the Interior appropriates $420 million to acquire and conserve new parks and public lands, provides $40 million for states for wildlife adaptation to climate change; and helps preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing through programs encouraging youth and minorities to responsibly hunt and fish and become aware of the environment. However, the President’s budget is a mixed bag for conservation programs, with deep cuts to important agricultural conservation programs like the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program and the Wetlands Reserve Program. The federal budget affects many TWS priority policy issues, and we’re working closely with the administration and congress to make sure that wildlife needs are accommodated.

In the face of this economic storm, TWS and our partners must remain vigilant to ensure that the voice of wildlife professionals is heard by our elected officials. The challenges we face in wildlife conservation may seem daunting at times but with your ongoing participation as a member of The Wildlife Society we can continue to communicate and promote the unique perspectives of wildlife professionals to the government officials who are making decisions that will greatly affect the future of the wildlife resource. When the tide of economic turmoil subsides, we must ensure that our wildlife resources remain abundant and diverse.

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THE WILDLIFE PHENOLOGY PROGRAM

Selecting Species and Developing Protocols for the Wildlife Phenology Program
When will the first monarch butterflies arrive this spring? Are northern bobwhites nesting earlier? Will marmot emergence coincide with the availability of the plants they eat? The Wildlife Society has partnered with the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) to answer questions like these by creating a new Wildlife Phenology Program.

The program will enlist professional and citizen scientists across the country to monitor seasonal events in animal life cycles. Individuals will submit their observations online, where they will be stored in a central database and will be freely available to download. This effort will help scientists and managers understand and respond to the impacts of climatic and other environmental changes on wildlife.

The Wildlife Phenology Program staff is working with NatureServe and many wildlife experts to develop a preliminary list of target species and monitoring protocols. They are selecting species according to pre-defined criteria, such as ease of identification, existence of legacy datasets, and ecological importance. Over 100 experts, including academics, managers, and educators, are reviewing the species list and monitoring protocols—the first round in an extensive review process. Once this first round is complete, the revised list and protocols will be made available for comments from the broader community.

If you would like to help with the development or review of the Wildlife Phenology Program, or if you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact the program’s coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit the USA-NPN website. Dr. Miller-Rushing is an employee of The Wildlife Society.

The Wildlife Phenology Program is being developed through the collaborative efforts of The Wildlife Society, USA-NPN, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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POLICY NEWS
More Revised Position Statement Available for Comment
At its March 2009 meeting, The Wildlife Society Council approved revised position statements on Environmental Quality through Resource Management, Firearms Legislation, Human Populations, Hunting, Livestock Grazing, Management and Conservation of Brown Bears, and Petroleum Development in Arctic, Subarctic, and Coastal Regions. The Wildlife Society Council seeks member review and comment on these statements, prior to renewing them. Comments must be received by 15 July 2009 to be considered in a final position statement. Visit TWS website to view the revised statements and learn how to submit comments.

TWS Submits Agriculture Appropriations Testimony
On 1 May, TWS submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture to advocate for adequate funding of key wildlife-related agencies and programs within the Department of Agriculture. TWS’ testimony will be added to the official record of Congressional budget hearings – an early phase of the budget process culminating in the finalized federal budget for fiscal year 2010 this fall.

In the testimony, TWS recommended that Congress increase funding for Wildlife Services, the unit within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service that is responsible for managing wildlife damage issues. TWS also advocated for funding increases in two programs under the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) – the Renewable Resources Extension Act and the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Program. Both CSREES programs provide funding though State Extension Services for forest conservation and research.

Lastly, TWS’ testimony highlighted funding needs of the Farm Bill conservation programs under the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Specifically, TWS recommended all conservation programs be allocated their full authorized funding and acreage levels as mandated in the 2008 Farm Bill, and emphasized the importance of the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program and the Conservation Reserve Program.

Endangered Species Act Consultation Rules Overturned
TWS, the Society for Conservation Biology, and The Ornithological Council, wrote to Secretaries Ken Salazar and Gary Locke on 27 April to urge them to withdraw the Bush Administration’s revised Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation regulations.

The rules revised the regulations implementing the consultation provisions in Section 7 of the ESA, making it optional in some cases for federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine whether an action is likely to adversely affect listed species. In the letter, the scientific societies cited both that similar rule changes for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management had not been effective, and that the time the Interior Department took to review public comments was insufficient.

In the text of the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congress gave the Obama Administration the authority to revoke the ESA rule without going through the formal rulemaking process. On 28 April, the Interior and Commerce Departments announced that they would use that authority to overturn the ESA rule and reinstate the mandatory consultation process. Over 1,000 biologists joined the three professional societies in advocating for the rule’s reversal.

Appropriations for the FLAME Act
TWS recently joined a coalition of sportsmen’s and outdoor organizations to request full funding for the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act, H.R. 1404. The FLAME Act, which was highlighted in April edition of Wildlife Policy News, would establish funds for federal agencies to combat catastrophic wildfires without hindering other programs under their jurisdiction.

Currently, the House Committee on Appropriations is accepting budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2010. The coalition urges the Appropriations Chairman and Ranking Member to fully fund the FLAME fund as authorized in the Act.

The FLAME Act awaits Senate approval and is currently under review in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Changes to the Pittman-Robertson Act payment Schedule
In late April, TWS encouraged House and Senate members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus to support H.R. 510. This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow firearm and ammunition manufactures to switch form a bi-weekly deposit schedule to a quarterly deposit schedule for the excise tax generated through the sale of firearms and ammunition. This excise tax is a critical component of wildlife management, as these funds support the Pittman-Robertson conservation fund. H.R. 510 would bring the firearm and ammunition manufacturers in line with the current payment schedule for all other manufacturers who contribute to PR funds.

In addition, the industry and its supporters emphasize the potential for long-term increased contributions to the PR fund and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) accounts as a direct result of relieving a sizeable burden from manufacturers. Through increased savings generated by a quarterly deposit schedules, manufactures will have the opportunity to allocate funding towards the research and development of new products and increase marketing and outreach. As sales increase the federal excise tax revenue will increase, ultimately generating a heightened flow of revenue into the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund.

H.R. 510 has 46 co-sponsors and been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

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CONFERENCE NEWS

Still Debating About Going to the Annual Conference? See What Others are Saying.
The Wildlife Society’s Annual Conference provides an excellent opportunity for students to make connections and expand their professional horizons. Those who attend the conference gain valuable tools and information, potential leads on jobs in their chosen fields — and memories that will last a lifetime. The Wildlife Society’s Student Professional Development Working Group (SPDWG) has compiled stories from four young people who have attended prior conferences — and who encourage other students to do the same.

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NEWS FROM HEADQUARTERS

TWS Welcomes Four New Subunits
Congratulations to the following new subunits. We look forward to working with your members and helping you succeed!

  • University of Nevada, Reno Student Chapter (04/03/09)
  • Université Laval Student Chapter (Quebec; 03/10/09)
  • Ontario Chapter (04/15/09)
  • Climate Change & Wildlife Working Group (03/21/09)

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WORKING GROUPS NEWS

Urban Wildlife Working Group Hosts International Conference
An International Conference on Urban Wildlife Ecology and Management will be held June 21-24 at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. This conference is being sponsored by The Urban Wildlife Working Group of TWS and will include multiple concurrent sessions on a broad array of topics with national and international participation. There will be field trips on Sunday, June 21, a welcome social on Sunday evening, a plenary session on Monday morning, June 22, and then 2 ½ days of 3-4 concurrent sessions through Wednesday, June 24. Sessions will cover both a range of subjects, such as human-wildlife conflicts in urban areas, managing residential landscapes for wildlife, and conserving wildlife in urban areas, and a range of taxa from birds to reptiles and amphibians to large carnivores to invertebrates. Presentations are scheduled by participants from throughout the U.S., from Florida to New England to California, and from other countries including Canada, England, Switzerland, Russia, Australia, and India. The field of urban wildlife has been growing rapidly in recent years, and this conference will be a valuable opportunity to learn about current work and interact with colleagues interested in urban wildlife. More information, including a preliminary program, is available online. Early registration is open until June 5.

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RELATED WILDLIFE NEWS

Proceedings of Members' Assembly of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2008 Available Online
You can find the Proceedings of the Members' Assembly here and the final version of the Resolutions and Recommendations here.

National Council for Science and Environment (NCSE) Campus to Careers Program
NCSE’s Campus to Careers program advances environment professionals through fellowships, internships, and other means. Many young people seeking to combine their personal passion for the environment with their professional career path find it difficult to make the first step. Many employers, particularly government, struggle to find high quality, up and coming professionals. Through its Campus to Careers program, the Council matches up and coming professionals with opportunities to work in a variety of environmental jobs, providing important talent to employers and life changing experiences to those who will become the environmental leaders of tomorrow. Drawing on its large network of affiliated universities, and communities beyond, the Council has a broad and deep reach to talented, mature and motivated individuals who can work in field, laboratory or office settings. Potential employers of young environmental professionals are invited to contact NCSE to discover how it can fill yourIntern or Fellowship opportunity with the right person. Please contact: Ann England, Program Coordinator, (202) 530-5810 x215; This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Call for Papers - The Western Bird Banding Association Annual Meeting
Papers and posters are being accepted for the 2009 WBB Annual meeting at the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory in Milpitas, California, 28-30 August 2009. The meeting is not to be missed, and will have exciting demonstrations and workshops of banding, data management, and analysis of banding data. Presentations can reflect original research, summarize existing information, or address the use of banding as a tool in avian research and monitoring. It is best if abstracts identify study objectives, describe study methods and data analysis, discuss the significance of the research, and propose future research directions. Please submit abstracts electronically by 15 July to C. J. Ralph (EM: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), specifying paper or poster. For additional information on abstract submission and about WBBA's 2009 meeting, please visit the WBBA website or contact C.J. at (707) 825-2992.

Second Call for Papers, Abstracts, and Posters
63rd Annual Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Conference
Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to share you research, work, or case history on conservation issues related to Wildlife Management, Freshwater Fisheries Management, Marine Fisheries Management, Wildlife & Fish Health, Wildlife & Fish Conservation and Ecology, Fish Culture, Wildlife and Fish Genetics, and Human Dimensions. The deadline is June 1, 2009. Guidelines and information for submissions of manuscripts, abstracts, and posters are available online at www.seafwa2009.org, click on “Call for Papers.” Submissions that address issues relating to the conference theme, “Challenges to the North American Model in the 21st Century,” are especially encouraged. The conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 1-4, 2009. For further information visit: www.seafwa2009.org

Biology and Conservation of Martens, Sables, and Fishers: a New Synthesis
The 5th International Martes Symposium will be held at the University of Washington in Seattle during the week of September 8-12, 2009. We have extended the deadline for submitting abstracts for contributed oral and poster presentations to 29 May 2009. Click here for the abstract submission form.
For all information regarding the symposium, including on-line registration forms, please visit: http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/buskirk/martes5/

Ecosystem Services on Corporate Lands Conference
The first annual Ecosystem Services on Corporate Lands conference, presented by the Wildlife Habitat Council in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, will be held June 11-12, 2009, in Silver Spring, MD. It will focus on the connections between habitat management, biodiversity conservation, and sustainability with ecosystem-based strategies. Many companies often fail to incorporate ecosystem services considerations into their site management decisions. Tools are often not fully attuned to the risk and opportunities arising from the degradation and use of ecosystem services. As a result, companies may be caught unprepared or miss opportunities. An ecosystem services approach to land management can help managers proactively develop strategies that protect ecosystems and benefit the business bottom line. Even during the current difficult economic environment, communities continue to require that corporate citizens operate in a sustainable way and, increasingly, they view their natural resources in a comprehensive, systematic way. For more information: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Upcoming Courses from the Siskiyou Field Institute
Raft the rugged Klamath River while learning about the area’s ecology and hear American Indian myths around the campfire during the Siskiyou Field Institute Ethnobiology and Traditional Ecological Knowledge raft trip May 22-25. The cost is $450, meals, boats and safety equipment are supplied. Participants will have to car pool and help with shuttles. Crash Course in Plant ID, May 22 – 24 will give a framework for learning to identify plants. Learn how to key plant families and compare traits. Study the names of local plants, including wildflowers and become familiar with the Jepson Manual. College credit from SOU available for this course. The cost is $180. Advanced Registration is required; call 541-597-8530. Join the Siskiyou Field Institute for Birding the Siskiyou High Country, May 23 – 24. Travel into the mountains on Saturday to bird and call for owls before camping. Sunday, hike through the forest to identify birds by sight and sound. The cost is $75. Advanced Registration is required for all the courses. For further information: Cory Alvis, Phone: (541) 597-8530; FAX: (541) 597-8533; This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.thesfi.org

5th International Marten, Sable, and Fisher Symposium
The Martes Working Group is pleased to announce that the 5th International Martes Symposium will be held at the University of Washington in Seattle during the week of September 8-12, 2009. The theme of this symposium will be: “Biology and Management of Martens and Fishers: a New Synthesis”. One of the objectives of this gathering will be to update review or synthesis topics that were featured in the 1st Martes Symposium book in 1994, and in some subsequent proceedings. Topics covered previously include evolutionary history, phylogenetic relationships, distribution and status, population structure and spacing, remote detection and population monitoring, reproductive biology, habitat ecology, food habits, and translocations. Recent developments in our field will likely necessitate additional review chapters on the use of genetic data in Martes research and conservation, relations with snow and the potential effects of global warming, and probably others. For further information, check the symposium website

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MEETINGS OF INTEREST
Don’t forget to check the TWS online calendar for meetings of interest from other organizations and TWS Sections, Chapters, and Workings Groups.

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