On the Horizon: February 2019, Issue 16

Posted by WAFWA on February 1, 2019
The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has adopted a conservation plan for monarch butterflies that range across seven western states. The newly adopted Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan establishes population size and habitat conservation goals, strategies, and actions for the monarch butterflies that overwinter along the California coast and range primarily across California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

Along with the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy adopted in June 2018 by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan is designed to secure the future of the species range-wide. The Western Monarch Population Initiative Council will oversee implementation of the plan. The Council will include the directors, or their designee, of the seven states within the western portion of the monarch range, a member of the WAFWA Executive Committee, and up to seven ex-officio members representing key sectors and agency partners.

“This conservation plan is a great opportunity for WAFWA and the member states within the range of the western population of monarchs to work collaboratively with our conservation partners,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA Grassland Coordinator. “Developing a regional conservation plan will not only benefit monarchs and other pollinators, but all wildlife species that depend on healthy, diverse grassland habitats. Over the years, we have learned by working with industry and landowners we can identify solutions to keep working lands in production while conserving wildlife at the same time.”
In early January, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Herrera v. Wyoming, a case involving elk hunting in the Bighorn National Forest. In January 2014, Clayvin Herrera, an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Indians, and three companions left the Crow reservation, crossing a fence into the national forest in Wyoming where they killed four bull elk. Wyoming authorities cited Herrera for two criminal misdemeanors under Wyoming law. Herrera claimed Wyoming’s laws regulating the hunting of elk did not apply to him because of a tribal right under the Laramie Treaty of 1868 allowing members of the Crow Tribe “the right to hunt on unoccupied lands of the United States so long as game may be found thereon, and as long as peace subsists among the whites and Indians on the borders of the hunting districts. Herrera was convicted on both counts, which were affirmed by the Wyoming District Court. The Supreme Court granted Herrera’s petition for a writ of review and heard the case on Jan. 8. The justices are expected to rule on the matter in the next few months.

The State of Wyoming solicited the support of amicus parties and WAFWA engaged John Schreiner, a Member of the Boone and Crockett Club, and his law firm (Perkins Coie LLP) to draft an amicus brief in support of the State of Wyoming. The Boone and Crockett Club, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Wyoming Outfitter and Guide Association, the Cody Country Outfitter and Guide Association and Wyoming Outdoorsmen joined WAFWA as additional amicus parties to this brief. Other amicus briefs were filed by numerous other organizations.
Building on a strong past to create a stronger future, WAFWA’s board of directors adopted a new strategic plan that articulates goals and strategies from 2019-2024. The plan was approved Jan. 6 at WAFWA’s mid-winter meeting in Tucson. The plan lays out specific goals?and strategies that will guide WAFWA’s work into the future. As part of WAFWA’s annual operations, the strategic plan will provide guidance to WAFWA members and committees.

“Since 1922, WAFWA has been working with partners to conserve the lands, waters and wildlife that make the western United States such a special place to live, work, and raise our families,” said Mike Fowlks, director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and chair of WAFWA’s Executive Committee. “This is the first strategic plan we’ve developed in our history, and it will guide us into the future as we align priorities to meet changing needs.”
The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is an initiative of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that seeks to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species across their historic range. WNTI is all about collaboration, and when WNTI partners with like-minded organizations, efforts to raise awareness to positively impact native trout species are amplified. In 2018, Idaho Trout Unlimited applied for a WNTI grant to raise awareness for the native Interior Redband Trout in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state. Check out this awesome poster, the fourth in WNTI’s “Get to Know Your Native Trout” campaign for Interior Redband Trout!
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