Elk NetworkLegislative Update

Conservation , Volunteer News | November 16, 2020

On October 29, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves in the Lower 48 from the list of endangered and threatened species and returned management to state agencies. “RMEF firmly supports the removal of federal protections for wolves so they can be appropriately managed by state wildlife agencies through regulated hunting and trapping,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Our state wildlife agencies have the experience and knowledge to manage wolves, just as they manage elk, bears, deer, mountain lions and all other wildlife.”

On October 2020, President Trump signed America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act into law. Among other things, it establishes a U.S. Fish and Wildlife task force to combat chronic wasting disease. ACE also reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish Habitat Partnership for five years. RMEF previously signed on to a letter with more than 50 conservation and outdoor organizations expressing strong support for both ACE and the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).

The Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture established a task force to guide implementation of the GAOA by reviewing project criteria and program process. The act will allow RMEF to continue the long engagement our organization has had with the Land and Water Conservation Fund in protecting critical migration corridors, winter range and improving public access.

RMEF continues to support a bill sponsored by Senators Diane Feinstein (D-California) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) that would allow the U.S. Forest Service to more easily implement large forest management projects. Such work would reduce the risk of large, catastrophic wildfires while also enhancing wildlife habitat.

On November 6, 2020, Colorado voters narrowly approved a ballot measure by a margin of less than two percent to forcibly introduce wolves into Colorado. Funded and driven by out-of-state environmental groups and activists, it tasks Colorado Parks and Wildlife with creating a plan to place animals on the ground by 2023. RMEF committed significant resources in an effort to defeat the effort but is considering all options going forward.

On November 6, 2020, Utah voters approved a constitutional amendment for state residents to hunt and fish. Twenty-two other states passed similar measures in the past.