The Perfect Storm: Four Factors Squeezing Conservation in the 21st Century

Putting the "Public" Back in "Public Trust"

"Americans are going to have to elect people who
value conservation. The question of the day,
is whether sportsmen are going to look up and notice
or just vote the way the NRA says."
~ James T. Martin 

I had been invited by the Ravalli County Fish & Wildlife Association to give a presentation last week. It was exciting for me because they said I could choose the subject and didnt have a time limit, like 3 minutes for public comments.

There have been a number of things on my mind from some communication psychology research I have been doing for over a year. Lists and presentations of how the public is being marginalized from public participation, points which kept coming up. So I thought it might be good to distill some of these lists to present the scary ass overview and some ideas on how we can increase the public's participation in our public trust, especially here at the FWP state level.

Very timely, on the 23rd of February, an important news article came up on my feed - 'Counting deer' no longer enough, in the Duluth News Tribune. The statements attributed to James T. Martin, a biologist, formerly with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for 30 years, were so brutally honest, I had to find out more about this address, thinking this is tying in with what I wanted to share. Martin was the keynote speaker for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources annual roundtable gathering. I went to their website, but no video, called them and had to wait a couple days for it be put up, but well worth the wait. I hope you will take 31 minutes to watch this. We need a more informed Public.

Martin spoke about 4 storms he sees affecting state fish and game agencies that are going to collide shortly, radically changing our fish & wildlife management. He closed with an impassioned statement, "You don't get the natural resources future you dream about. You get the natural resources future you fight for."

1. Increasing gap between public's expectations for managing the natural resources and the amount of resources that are available. Less funding to state fish & wildlife agencies, slow strangulation, with declining hunting and angling populations, agencies are feeling the squeeze. People not getting their science from the State agencies, they will be getting their science from Nature Conservancy & Defenders of Wildlife. There will be a collapse in 25 years.

2. Rate of Development. Where do you roll the development to? Ag or the wilds? Most are not planning because it is too politically contentious. Water conflicts - fish & wildlife last to the table, getting left behind.

3. Climate Change, rate of change is accelerating. You can look at the models or drive 400 miles south and see your future.

4. Conservation system that is the envy of the world in jeopardy. Trained professionals that advised elected officials, who are accountable to the public, were the norm. Breakdown in that firewall. Elected officials are shutting up the professional advice, directors are not trained professionals and no one is willing to call "bullshit". A fight on our hands to prevent the politicization of our science infrastructure.

I dont have the time to put together the normal newsletter, but feel this is important enough to warrant its own newsletter. Please, take just 31 minutes to see some of this hunter/angler conservation picture.

Remember -
"You don't get the natural resources future you dream about. You get the natural resources future you fight for."

Fight as if that future depends on you, because it does! 

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
James McGehee, Jason Kapfer, Harold Johns

If you would like to further this work and research,   please click to contribute to EMWH.
Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife  &



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