The Boone and Crockett Club, the name synonymous with big game hunting and conservation, today applauded Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement that the lands western big game species depend upon as migration corridors will finally be getting much needed attention.
The Secretary announced that, through a public-private partnership, $2.7 million in grants will be dedicated to restoring and enhancing critical migration habitat in 11 Western states. The partnership includes the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and ConocoPhillips. The species directly benefiting from this action are the migrating herds of mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope.
“This announcement is a giant step in the right direction toward the implementation of the Secretary’s Order 3362, which is a focus on migration corridors,” explained James L. Cummins, co-chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club’s Conservation Policy Committee. “Big game species do not pay any attention to lines on a map or who owns what or who manages what. The best we can do for them is clear a path so they have unobstructed and safe access to the best habitats available to them.”
Grant funds will be used to restore habitat quality on degraded winter ranges, historic migration corridors and stopover areas while addressing issues such as restrictive fencing, dangerous highway crossings, and bottlenecks. Funds will also be available for implementing other measures like conservation easements, and habitat fragmentation and connectivity.
“The other piece of good news is that this is a collaborative partnership of stakeholders,” Cummins explained. “When you have the residing state and federal wildlife and land agencies, tribal agencies, highway departments, private landowners, conservation organizations, and industry joining forces, that’s when things get done. We applaud Secretary Zinke and his fine staff, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and ConocoPhillips for putting this initiative together. Our nation’s wildlife will be the better for it.”
Those eligible for grant funding include, non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, and Indian tribes.