Expert Opinions

How do you see the problem of balancing the federal budget influencing fisheries and wildlife management?


"Reducing the federal deficit and the federal debt is essential to fish and wildlife management.  The competition for federal funds in a deficit and debt mode has resulted in cuts to critical federal conservation programs that leverage non-federal funds and provide widespread public benefits.  The return on this investment is realized at federal, state and local levels through recreational spending and the provision of ecological services."

Dr. Steve Williams
President - Wildlife Management Institute
Steve Williams is the President of the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), a 101-year old, non-profit conservation organization dedicated to science-based, professional wildlife management.  WMI provides: science and management support, program review and policy development advice, conservation information and education, conservation project administration, and service to our profession and partners. As President of WMI, Steve serves on the Board of Directors for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, National Conservation Leadership Institute, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partners, and is a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club and The Wildlife Society. Prior to joining WMI, Steve served as Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Assistant Director for Wildlife and Deer Project Leader of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.  He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. from the University of North Dakota.

"A balanced, or near balanced, budget can co-exist with good management."

Karl Wickstrom
Founder/Editor-in-Chief - Florida Sportsman
Karl Wickstrom, born Moline, IL, Sept. 20, 1935, grad. University of Florida BSJ, 1957: U.S. Air Force reserve 1958-1966; reporter/editor Orlando Sentinel, 1958-59; writer, The Miami Herald 1960-68, first place investigative reporting Florida Associate Press, 1966, national first place public service, Sigma Delta Chi journalism society. Executive asst., The Florida Senate, 1967; Founded Wickstrom Publishers, 1968, publishing Aloft Magazine for National Airlines passengers, Florida Sportsman Magazine. Titles presented more than 25 awards, Florida Magazine Assn., Florida Outdoor Writers Assn. Continuous publishing of magazine-generated conservation content and Openers editorials, summarized separately as Florida Sportsman’s Conservation Record. Initiated gill-net ban constitutional amendment campaign, adopted ’95; recognized as man of year by IGFA and nationally by the American Sportfishing Assn. and several other organizations. Board member of constitutional amendment campaigns to require that polluters  pay for Everglades degradation, and unification of fresh and saltwater management under one agency. A founder/honorary chair, vp, of Florida Conservation Assn./Coastal Conservation Assn., Appointed to governor’s Commission on the Future of the Environment; board member National Coalition for Marine Conservation, board member Florida Oceanographic Society, vp, Rivers Coalition of Martin/St. Lucie County. Remains as founder/editor-in-chief, Florida Sportsman.

"Less money will be available to the state Fish and Game Departments."

Steve Sanetti
President & CEO - NSSF
Prior to becoming President and CEO of the NSSF in May, 2008, Steve culminated his 28 year career at Ruger with a five year term as its President and Chief Operating Officer. He has served on the boards of the NSSF, SAAMI, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities, and the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation. A hunter and target shooter since his college years on the VMI Rifle Team, he is an avid firearms collector, NRA Certified Rifle, Pistol and Home Firearms Safety Instructor, and a Technical Advisor to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners. Steve is the recipient of the 2004 Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Award, a professional member of the Boone & Crockett Club and a member of the Board of Firearms Advisors for the Cody Firearms Museum.

"In these lean economic times the threat is at both the federal and state level. At the federal level it will be a fight to keep fish and wildlife programs funded at their current levels.  Both the legislative and executive branches are under tremendous pressure to improve the country’s financial situation.  Spending cuts are certainly going to occur but both the Congress and the Administration must realize that natural resource programs were never well funded versus their needs. At the state level anglers and hunters must be vigilant and active to protect their user-pay dedicated funds.  Remember, license fees are deposited into dedicated accounts because they could never compete with the perianal giants of education, roads and social programs. The best way to combat raids on angler and hunter funds is to be an active member of national organizations and advocacy campaigns that work for you to unite sportsmen."

Gordon Robertson
Vice President, Government Affairs - American Sportfishing Association
Gordon Robertson has a natural resources career than spans more than 30 years, much of which has been in natural resource policy, state and federal legislation, as well as administration of fish and wildlife programs. He is currently Vice President of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) in Alexandria, Virginia. The ASA represents the sportfishing industry and has over 900 manufacturing, wholesale, distributor, and retail members. The Association protects its members’ interest for fisheries and angler issues and a variety of trade issues, as well as operating its annual trade show. An avid hunter and angler, Mr. Robertson is an experienced lobbyist and administrator. He is a member of the American Fisheries Society, Wildlife Society and the Society of American Foresters, as well as numerous natural resource and wildlife conservation organizations. He has chaired and served on numerous national committees and task forces that have helped shape issues ranging from wilderness management to assuring that dollars paid by manufacturers and hunters and anglers remain dedicated to the purpose of sound fish and wildlife programs. Throughout his career, he has been involved in key federal and state legislative and policy decisions for the benefit of anglers and hunters and the resources they pursue. Prior to joining the American Sportfishing Association Robertson, was Deputy Chief of the fish and wildlife program of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. He previously held the position of Legislative Counsel for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C.; Northeast Representative for the Wildlife Management Institute; Conservation Biologist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish and Wildlife; and Service Forester for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. A native of West Virginia, Robertson received both his bachelor’s degree in Forestry with an emphasis on wildlife management, and his master’s degree in wildlife management from West Virginia University. He has been recognized at the national and regional level for his contributions to resource management and civic activity.

"If cuts to fish and wildlife programs occur as a result, the states will be negatively impacted by these reductions. This highlights the need to maintain fishing and hunting access on public lands and waters in order to keep participation growing, which in turn supports the conservation funding model of license fees, manufacturer excise taxes, etc. that is so important to the states."

Phil Morlock
Director of Environmental Affairs - Shimano, Inc.
As Director of Environmental Affairs for Shimano in the U.S. and Canada, Phil Morlock oversees Shimano’s environmental stewardship programs in both the fishing and bike divisions, and represents the company in advocacy issues with federal, state and provincial governments and natural resource agencies in the U.S. and Canada. He is frequently in Washington working with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation as a BOD member  and groups like the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) (serving as Chairman of the ASA Government Affairs Committee on Freshwater Issues) and as a BOD member of the Center for Coastal Conservation to advance  and protect the rights and privileges of all recreational anglers. As an avid angler and hunter Mr. Morlock represents the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) and serves as Chair of the Outdoor Caucus Association of Canada in dealing with Canada’s Parliament.  Mr. Morlock has dedicated countless hours to the issues facing sportsmen on both sides of the border and received the 2008 CSIA Chairman’s Award for his work to establish the Parliamentary Outdoors Caucus, modeled after the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.

"The federal and state budgets are increasingly inadequate to meet the challenge of conserving fish and wildlife inAmericaand continuing the proper management of hunting and fishing.  The system is breaking as we try to pay for endangered species, public education, development consulting services and managing sportsmen’s programs all out of hunting and fishing fees.  We are rapidly coming to the point where we either find new ways to fund conservation or we fail to do adequate conservation for future generations. Most of the public thinks we do conservation with taxes now.   There is a huge disconnect in public understanding of the situation.  We must fix this soon if we are to avoid a conservation disaster inAmerica.  Hunters and fishermen will be the first to suffer the restrictions on their sports and the economic contributions of outdoor recreation will be needlessly lost."

Jim Martin
Conservation Director, Berkley Conservation Institute - Pure Fishing
Jim Martin retired after 30 years with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and now works as conservation director for the Berkley Conservation Institute, a branch of Pure Fishing.  Pure Fishing is the largest fishing tackle company in the World and is an industry leader in conservation advocacy. During his career with ODFW, Jim spent six years as chief of fisheries and three years as salmon advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber.  Jim led the team that developed the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, a state conservation plan to address Endangered Species and clean water issues in Oregon. Jim has a Bachelors Degree in Wildlife and Masters Degree in Fisheries from Oregon State University. Jim formerly held a courtesy appointment at OSU, where he taught Natural Resource Problem Solving in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Jim is the former Chairman of the Board of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.   He is a science and policy advisor for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Assn.  In 2005, Jim was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.  He was recognized for lifetime achievement as an alumni fellow by Oregon State University in November, 2011. Jim is a lifelong sportsman and loves salmon, ducks and Labrador Retrievers.  He lives in the small community of Mulino, about 15 miles south of Portland, Oregon.  He shares his dream home in the country with his wife of 43 years, Carolyn, and Kodiak and Yukon, the wonderdogs.

"Balancing the federal budget will further strain the resources available for professional fish-and-wildlife management activities at the state level. This, then, reinforces the need to support and grow the American System of Conservation Funding, as previously described."

Jeff Crane
President - Congressional Sportsman Foundation
Jeff Crane joined Congressional Sportsman Foundation (CSF) in 2002 and brings thirty years of experience in on-the-ground natural resource management and policy expertise at the federal, state and international levels. A life-long outdoorsman, Jeff spent five years working in the US Congress and was instrumental in establishing the Maryland legislative sportsmen's caucus prior to joining CSF.  In addition he has experience developing wildlife habitat management plans in the United States and South Africa. During his eight years in Africa, Jeff obtained his professional hunter's license and guided hunts for big game animals. Jeff holds a BA in political science and an MBA. At the CSF, Jeff is the primary interface with the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. In this role, he helps develop policy, facilitate meetings and coordinate legislative strategy with legislative staff, members of the Caucus and the conservation community. Jeff also oversees CSF's State Caucus programs. Jeff Crane is the only person to sit on both the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC) and on the Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC), federal advisory councils that report to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior. In addition, Jeff is a member of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) serving as its Chairman in 2005.  He is a member of the Government Affairs Committee for Safari Club International (SCI) and the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee for the National Rifle Association (NRA).

2 Responses
  • Rick Petrekovic

    Everyone that enjoys the outdoors should pay for conservation. List should include but not be limited to: hunters, fishermen, campers, hikers, bird watchers, wildlife photographers, trappers, dog sledders, cross country skiers, boaters, and anyone who currently benefits from Sportsmans Dollars.

    Hunters and Fishermen need assistance from all of these groups if future generations will ever have an opportunity to experience the outdoors we have known to date. Time for all these groups to step up is yesterday. Too many generations have already been disconnected from nature.

  • They waste money on junk. Democrats in congress only want to buy votes not things needed.

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