I urge our U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, to oppose efforts to eliminate funding in the current federal budget for many of our most important wildlife conservation programs.
One of the programs being considered for complete defunding is the Department of the Interior’s Secretarial Order 3310, just signed in December 2010, which would restore the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to manage selected backcountry areas on BLM land for fish, wildlife and other natural resources.
Areas managed under BLM’s Wild Lands policy would offer refuge to native trout and salmon, and provide secure habitat for other wildlife, including big game such as mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk.
Proper stewardship of these areas is also important to the future of hunting and fishing and other wildlife recreation on our public lands. A continuing resolution passed by the House of Representatives in February would eliminate or reduce funding for many important conservation programs. Washington’s senators must take the lead in restoring this funding in the U.S. Senate’s budget for Fiscal Year 2011 and beyond.
(LaTourrette is the Oregon-Washington field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.)