Convention: Resource Mgt. Take Aim at 2019 Goals

Resource Management Takes Aim at 2019 Goals

CHASE ADAMS
ASI Senior Policy & Information Director

The meeting of the Resource Management Council during the ASI Annual Convention covered a wide array of topics from interactions with wildlife to environmental regulations.

Presenting on ASI’s activities in the last year, it is clear that headway is being made on a number of fronts while much work still remains. On wildlife interactions, sheep producers continue to bear the brunt of bighorn sheep death losses across the west, despite a lack of contact in many cases and the publication of research showing pathogens in other wildlife. The committee discussed recent pneumonia outbreaks reported on Antelope Island in Utah, the Black Hills of South Dakota and San Gorgonio mountain in southern California.

These areas are isolated from domestic sheep but populated by other species known to carry mycoplasma ovipneumoniae as shown in research published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The meeting focused on the need to review and revaluate the current risk of contact modeling available, to ensure sheep producers are not needlessly being driven off the range.

While the industry strongly supported language in the Farm Bill that would have provided alternative allotments to producers operating on federal lands in the event of a conflict with wildlife, that language was not ultimately included in the final bill. The Resource Council expressed its appreciation to Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) for her support and reiterated support for similar language in the future. Litigation continues to drive poor land management decisions at the federal level with a new lawsuit filed by the Center for Biodiversity and Western Watersheds in southern Colorado.

That said, the industry did welcome a strong Farm Bill and for the Resource Council, the exclusion of language that would have limited the placement of M-44’s was a hard-fought victory. ASI’s members remain committed to the fact that there is no reason for a distance requirement for placement of M-44’s on private property and continues to work to ensure producers have access to these valuable predator control tools. ASI discussed recently filed comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding their periodic review of sodium cyanide, largely supporting the agency’s findings but pushing back on a distance requirement and placement near frozen bodies of water. Predation remains a top concern for producers across the nation and the industry needs both lethal and non-lethal methods of control to remain viable.

Unfortunately, Endangered Species Act reform did not move in the last Congress despite a strong bi-partisan package of amendments coming out of the Western Governor’s Association and carried by Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.). However, with critical revisions to the Waters of the United States rule underway there is room for optimism on the regulatory front. ASI members will be discussing many of these issues during this month’s Spring Trip to Washington, D.C.

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