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  • December 20, 2022 4:28 PM | Anonymous

    Arizona Wildlife Still Need RAWA

    A bipartisan wildlife bill that supporters had dubbed “a priority and must-pass bill this year” has been left out of the omnibus spending package, leaving very few options for passing the bill this Congress.

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department would have received $31 million annually to help 531 species of concern, including the Apache trout, Gila monster, and Sonoran pronghorn. See the Arizona Factsheet.

    “This is a commonsense, cost-effective approach that has broad support on both sides of the aisle,” said Scott Garlid, Executive Director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation. “Wildlife in Arizona and around the country are increasingly at risk. Congress needs to get a bill like this done sooner rather than later,” said Garlid.

    The $1.4B Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would distribute$1.3B a year amongst the state and territorial wildlife agencies. Federally-recognized tribes would spilt$97.5 annually to manage wildlife on their lands. It would also fund innovative programs to recover already endangered wildlife.

    The bill passed the House in June and has 47 cosponsors in the Senate, including 16 Republicans. Despite its bipartisan support, RAWA stalled as a result of disagreements over a fiscal offset for the bill.

    “The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most important wildlife legislation in half a century, and we must find a way for it to pass. The historic legislation will empower states, Tribes, and territories to ensure that the full diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants thrive for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Inaction is the ally of extinction, and we will continue to push tirelessly to ensure that the bill does not meet the same fate facing thousands of species of wildlife and plants.”

    RAWA would save us money in the long-run — once a species reaches the point of needing the protection of the Endangered Species Act, recovery becomes significantly more uncertain, more difficult and more expensive. Proactive efforts taken earlier in a species’ decline are better for wildlife and cost less money. 

    The National Wildlife Federation and their Arizona affiliate, the Arizona Wildlife Federation, will not give up. Wildlife still needs RAWA, and we will continue to work tirelessly to make it law.

  • December 07, 2022 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    Wildlife Cannot Wait

    Elise Lange, AWF Communications Manager

    It’s been over a year since the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, along with 22 other plants and animals, was officially declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Destruction of their forest habitat largely caused the decline. Conservationists around the world mourned the announcement. The loss of the third largest woodpecker in the world rang through the hearts of those passionate about wildlife and sparked a fearful feeling that more wildlife species would become extinct because of human activity. 

    Conservation organizations, state and federal departments, and outdoor enthusiasts feel and know that Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a priority and must-pass bill this year. If passed, this bill would provide $1.4 billion in funding to address the one-third of U.S. wildlife species facing and nearing extinction.

    That notion is no different in Arizona.

    Nearly a month ago, I had the opportunity to join volunteers from the U.S. Forest Service and the Arizona Chapter of Trout Unlimited to restock Gila Trout in Marijilda Creek, a beautiful and rugged area in the Coronado National Forest near Safford, Arizona.

    The restocking was hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Native Trout and Chub program, which has been instrumental in increasing trout populations throughout the state. That work helps ensure future generations of native trout in Arizona and assures the continued success of recreational fishing throughout Arizona.

    It’s true that Arizona species are well-adapted to the heat, whether it’s defecating on their feet to keep cool — shout-out to Turkey Vultures — or hiding in saguaros. However, there’s still concern about how well Arizona animals and plants will continue to adapt to increasing temperatures, decreasing water, and threats to water quality. 

    As I hiked the rough terrain with 15 other conservation-minded individuals, I heard the fascinating history of the Gila Trout. This species, in addition to the Apache Trout, are the most threatened trout in Arizona and one of the rarest species in the U.S. They were one of the species added to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, but thanks to restoration efforts, were delisted to threatened in 2006.

    Volunteers at Marijilda Creek carried hundreds of fish in buckets on their backs as they tried to not stumble over fallen, burned trees over our several mile-long hike. People told stories of how fires last year almost killed off entire groups of trout at fisheries like Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico. That same fishery provides Arizona with the trout we need to sustain native populations in our rivers, creeks, and streams. Streams in Arizona have had to have Gila Trout evacuated to avoid severe population loss, which is what happened in 2017 with the fires in Mount Graham near the Marijilda Creek. 

    Every year our forests are ravaged with fires that can — and unfortunately have — devastated our wildlife. Even if the fires don’t reach trout streams, post-wildfire floods can just as easily threaten our native trout.

    When we all finally reached deeper areas of the Marijilda Creek, our Arizona Game and Fish Department experts carefully considered which pools of water would give the fish the best chance of survival. 

    After all the hard work of that day, we walked back up the creek and discussed the possibility of another fire raging through the area and erasing our efforts. Every person there from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Trout Unlimited Arizona, and the U.S. Forest Service expressed their concerns with the vulnerability of the Gila Trout. These organizations have recovery plans in place, but funding is necessary.

    Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the best solution. U.S. state wildlife agencies have identified more than 12,000 species in need of conservation attention and current federal funding is less than five percent of what is necessary to conserve these species. This bill would actually save us money in the long-run —  once a species reaches the point of needing the protection of the Endangered Species Act, recovery becomes significantly more uncertain, more difficult and more expensive. Proactive efforts taken earlier in a species’ decline are better for wildlife and cost less money. 

    The $1.4 billion that Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would provide goes towards on-the-ground conservation efforts such as conserving and restoring habitats, fighting invasive species, reintroducing native species and tackling emerging diseases that threaten wildlife survival. 

    Recovering America’s Wildlife Act has already passed through the House with bipartisan support, but it is running out of time to be passed by Congress this year. If U.S. Congressional Members choose to sit on this bill, we have to wait another year to try again. That means that those 12,000 species — including the Gila Trout — stay in danger.

    Declaring a species extinct is no easy task — even now people still report sightings of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. An even more difficult task, however, is in deciding when to begin helping those of greatest conservation need to avoid more extinctions. This is a once in a generation opportunity this Congress has to build on our nation’s outdoor heritage.

  • November 07, 2022 12:05 PM | Anonymous

    Those who hunt and fish Arizona lands and waters have stake in ecological health

    Elise Lange, AWF Communications Manager

    As someone who was born and raised in Arizona and taught to hunt and fish from an early age, I have a deep connection with the outdoors. That connection is one that all hunters and anglers have. The excitement of a first hunt, of going fishing so early in the morning it’s still dark out, of silently watching for a deer at dusk, of waiting for that slight tug on the fishing pole — these are the moments outdoor children remember. When you spend that much time out in the deserts, forests, and grasslands looking for wildlife, you will forge an unbreakable bond with the natural world.

    When threats to Arizona’s wildlife and wild places mount, they are a threat to that connection and a threat to the heritage of hunting and fishing. Drought, habitat degradation, species decline, and forest fires threaten the very way of life of outdoors-people. 

    Changes to our climate have arrived in every nook and cranny of the desert, every hunting camp, every fishing hole and every duck blind. There’s no two ways about it — things are changing and it’s affecting our ability to hunt and fish. Ask nearly any outdoors enthusiast you meet on the street if they are seeing the impact of drought. They certainly have stories. They will tell you of ducks that used to arrive during the season that no longer show up. They will tell you of old days when deep snows in the mountains didn’t melt all summer but are now gone in May. They will tell of species they love being replaced in their favorite spots by invasive species and non-natives that are better able to adapt to changing conditions. They will tell you of lifelong hunting spots being closed and severely damaged due to wildfire. They will tell you about places where they used to fish all day in trout streams where now they must stop in the early afternoon, or not fish at all, because water temperatures are too tough on the fish. 

    Arizonans know this predicament well. We have been in a drought for over two decades and have experienced so many forest fires that it’s easy to lose track of them. Rising temperatures and water loss threaten critical species like the Apache and Gila Trout, Pronghorn Antelope, deer, and many other iconic game and nongame species. Forests are drying out earlier in the year, leading to less forage for big game and longer and more intense wildfire seasons. 

    Whether it is the drying up of our favorite fishing streams, wildfires that close down our best elk spots, or suddenly absent quail flushes, we know that it isn’t a matter of if, but when, climate change will find our favorite spots and change our sporting lives.

    Here’s the good news: outdoors-people know Arizona and they know what has changed from their years of experience outside. They are the best folks for the job. Recent laws passed over the last year — including the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act — have provided significant funding for wildlife, fighting drought, and improving forest health. These new policies promote clean water, improve habitats for species like deer, reduce wildfire risk, and reduce harmful pollutants that harm game and nongame species all over the U.S. 

    All of the benefits of these investments will be felt by hunters and anglers in upcoming years and these changes could not have happened without their input, passion, and stewardship of wild places. Hunting and fishing are very often generational. They were generational for me and they had a profound impact on how I see the outdoors of Arizona. To keep that legacy moving forward, we have to take necessary steps to protect the foundations upon which it relies; our public lands, our wildlife, our state.

    Still, climate impacts are accelerating and the problems are becoming more complicated to tackle. 

    Let’s meet the challenges and carry on our long-standing conservation traditions of creating better outcomes for fish and wildlife. Future sportspeople will thank us for it.

  • October 19, 2022 12:07 PM | Anonymous

    On Its 50th Anniversary, the Clean Water Act Could Soon Be Gutted

    Elise Lange, AWF Communications Manager

    If you ask someone what they think of Arizona, they’ll likely dream up an image of huge saguaro cacti, scorching temperatures, and dry, cracked landscapes. Arizonans know that this state is more than that. Arizona has diverse geography, over 800 native bird, reptile and mammal species, and 8,101 miles of streams that provide drinking water to over three million people.

    Though those streams are often far beyond our sealed homes and paved neighborhoods, they are the lifeblood of Arizona. With recent news about cutbacks to the Colorado River, which provides water to over 40 million people in Arizona, water is at the forefront of most Arizonans’ minds.

    50 years ago, U.S. water was descending into an industrial stew, fueled by the post-war economic boom. New homes, entire neighborhoods, city blocks, and factories were erected. 

    In just two decades after the war, 7.6 million acres of wetlands — an area roughly the size of Maryland — were destroyed in the lower 48 states — Arizona included. Toxic waste and sewage were dumped, untreated, into the nearest convenient stream. A series of high-profile river fires — yes, rivers on fire — helped push Congress to act.

    Passed with sweeping bipartisan support exactly 50 years ago this week, few laws have been as transformative to people’s quality of life as the Clean Water Act. 

    It is thanks to the Act that Arizonas’ intermittent and ephemeral streams are protected. Intermittent streams are those that flow regularly, but not always year-round, and ephemeral streams flow only after heavy rains. 79% of the total Arizona streams that provide drinking water are made up of these types of streams so their importance cannot be overstated.

    While its implementation has faced continuous struggles over the years, the ongoing protective importance of the Act is crucial. The Act, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, has helped to restore dumping grounds into productive, healthy waterways, kept areas safe for fishing and swimming, and increased fish and fish-dependent populations like Arizona river otters.

    Today, its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program alone prevents 700 billion pounds of pollutants from entering our waters annually. Without the protection of Arizona waters, critical species like the Apache Trout that only live in coldwater streams in the White Mountains are threatened. Likewise, we risk losing continued recreational use of streams by anglers and outdoor enthusiasts — activities that provide $13.5 billion to the state’s economy and support 114,000 jobs, according to a report released by Audubon Arizona

    Now, in a particularly cruel bit of timing, precisely on the Act’s 50th anniversary, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that could gut it. In Sackett v. EPA, a radical opponent of clean water is seeking to withdraw the Act’s longstanding protections for roughly half the nation’s streams and wetlands. In Arizona, 6,381 miles of streams could lose protections.

    What’s at stake is the integrity, and in many cases very existence, of streams and wetlands that provide flood control, recharge waters during drought, filter pollution, provide habitat, and are used recreationally by many Arizonans. These streams are themselves the lifeblood of larger rivers and lakes in Arizona — without them, we risk losing even more of Arizona’s water.

    Arizona has been in a drought for over two decades and temperatures continue to rise year-to-year. Sackett v. EPA is a threat to healthy natural water systems.

    If the plaintiffs succeed, it will be open season for the federally unregulated pollution and destruction of many of Arizonas’ important waters. The results would be catastrophic. A large portion of Arizonas’ flood-absorbent wetlands — and at least half of the nation’s — would be at risk of being filled in and paved over. Upstream waterways that store and filter water could be erased from the landscape, worsening droughts and water quality. 

    These impacts will hit frontline communities hardest. Decades of under-investment in drinking water and proper treatment of waste means communities that have already historically faced a disproportionate share of flooding and water pollution, will have to bear the brunt of this ruling. 

    Clearly, the Supreme Court needs to honor the intent of Congress “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” But Arizona also needs to prepare for the worst. If federal protections are withdrawn from our streams and wetlands, state and local authorities need to step in and protect the integrity of our waters.

    If we don’t, the degradation of the landscape outside our homes will not only destroy already weakened habitats, it will foul the drinking water and flood the homes of our most vulnerable. We can’t allow Arizona to go back to an era where toxic waste and asphalt killed our most vital waters.

  • October 18, 2022 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Key Sources of Drinking Water, Flood Protection are Threatened as the Supreme Court Could Cripple the Clean Water Act on its 50th Anniversary

    Thousands of square miles of wetlands and 6,381.3 miles of Arizona streams that provide drinking water to 3,254,601 people could lose critical protections as the Supreme Court this month considers severely curtailing the reach of the Clean Water Act. Sackett v. EPA — an already historic occasion as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first case — comes exactly on the 50th anniversary of the landmark law.

    Passed with broad bipartisan support on October 18, 1972, few laws have been as transformative to the nation’s quality of life as the Clean Water Act. Drafted in response to the post-war proliferation of untreated sewage and industrial discharge in waterways across the country, the law limits pollution, prosecutes polluters, and funds restoration efforts. A recent report details the considerable successes connected to the law. 

    “Over the past five decades, the Clean Water Act has revitalized and protected the most vulnerable waters and wetlands of Arizona,” said Scott Garlid, Arizona Wildlife Federation’s Executive Director. “These waterways are the kidneys and sponges of larger rivers and lakes, safeguarding the health and safety of millions of Arizonans. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of polluters, state and local agencies must step in to ensure our drinking water supplies, flood protection, and critical habitats are secure for future generations.

    In addition to the threats to Arizona waters, on a national scale drinking water supplies for millions of Americans will be jeopardized if the Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in Sackett v. EPA. In addition, roughly half the nation’s streams and wetlands could lose protection.

    “From undrinkable water in Jackson to the flood-prone wards of Houston, the importance of clean water and thriving wetlands has never been clearer. For 50 years, the Clean Water Act has helped communities protect streams that provide safe drinking water, wetlands that offer essential flood protection, and habitats that sustain our wildlife heritage,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The Supreme Court should uphold the rulings of both the 9th Circuit and the Idaho District Court and honor the intent of Congress to protect the drinking water supplies for hundreds of millions of Americans.”

    The law’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program prevents 700 billion pounds of pollutants from entering our waters annually. Approximately 200,000 “point source” polluters — including sewage treatment facilities, paper mills, petroleum refineries, indoor hog farms, and certain construction sites — are currently regulated under the law. 

    Recent polling shows remarkably strong support across the political spectrum for clean water protection. According to a Morning Consult poll for the Walton Family Foundation, 75% of adults want more waterways protected, and four in five adults want the EPA — rather than Congress, state, or local governments — to continue taking the lead in protecting clean water.

  • July 27, 2022 1:32 PM | Anonymous

    The recent introduction of the RETURN Act has enraged sportsmen and women who proudly contribute to wildlife conservation in Arizona through  an excise tax on their purchases of guns, ammunition, and hunting  equipment. 

    The RETURN Act would repeal the Pittman-Robertson Act which has been  universally celebrated for its outstanding contributions to conservation by  the sporting community, conservation organizations, and the outdoor  recreation and firearms industry. Last year alone, the program provided  $1.5 billion in funding to state wildlife agencies for game management,  hunter education, and shooting range safety programs.  

    For over 85 years, Pittman-Robertson has stood strong as a universally  upheld, non-controversial, and common-sense policy that supports the  shared and nonpartisan values of wildlife conservation and outdoor  recreation. 

    “Most hunters recognize that without conservation there’s no hunting and  they are proud to support conservation through gun and ammunition purchases”, said Colin Shepard, Area Chairmen of Scottsdale Ducks  Unlimited. 

    Unfortunately, the RETURN Act, introduced by Rep Andrew Clyde (GA-R)  and supported by Arizona Representatives: Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and  Debby Lesko, is aimed at dismantling this almost century long wildlife  funding success story.  

    “I suspect the legislators that are supporting the RETURN Act might not  recognize the long-standing history and the unintended consequences for  the state game and fish departments and those who enjoy our outdoor resources”, said Steve Clark, Executive Director of the Arizona Elk Society.  “I hope they get educated before they vote.” 

    The Arizona Wildlife Federation stands with sporting and conservation  organizations across the country, and with the National Wildlife Federation,  in calling for members of congress to reject the RETURN Act.

  • July 25, 2022 1:36 PM | Anonymous

    Last week the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee reviewed the Grand Canyon Protection Act, which would safeguard lands, waters, and communities in the Grand Canyon region from the harmful impacts of uranium mining.

    With hearings now complete in both House and Senate committees, the Grand Canyon is now one step closer to receiving the permanent protection it deserves.

    The Arizona Wildlife Federation is pleased to see progress on this important legislation and appreciates the challenging work in the Senate by Arizona Senators Krysten Sinema and Senator Mark Kelly.

    We look forward to continuing this work with Senators Kelly and Sinema in our pursuit of permanent protection of the Grand Canyon.

  • June 17, 2022 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    The Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will honor this deserving and outstanding program and its coordinators for their contributions to Arizona’s natural outdoor conservation on August 21, 2021 at the Wigwam Resort, Litchfield Park.

    Arizona Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW)

    Sponsored by the Arizona Wildlife Federation, the Arizona Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program (also known as BOW) began more than 25 years ago. The program is part of the national Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program started by Christine Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Resource Management at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1991. Arizona BOW events are held four times per year in various locations around the state and are designed to give women age 18 and older the opportunity to learn outdoor skills in a sage and supportive environment conducive to learning, making friends, and having fun. 

    Using elements of the national curriculum with adaptations for Arizona, the workshops offer classes such as hiking, fishing, hunting, shooting and archery, outdoor cooking, GPS, wilderness survival, rappelling, birding, camping, nature relaxation and much more. Evening entertainment and campfires round out the outdoor experience. 

    Coordinators Linda Dightmon and Kathy Greene make the BOW camps happen and have constantly improved BOW over the years. They and a team of dedicated volunteers, including Mark Hullinger, one of the original founders of BOW, provide a mix of over 50 classes developed and taught by volunteer instructors at BOW camps.

    COVID-19 limited camp opportunities in 2020, but events are back in full swing and ready to connect women to outdoor skills. Upcoming events include a one-day workshop on July 17 in Flagstaff and a three-day, two night camp in Prescott, September 10-12, 2021. Scholarships are available to open the experience to underserved women. Information and registration, including two videos featuring activities and coordinators, Linda and Kathy, provide a great background about the program:

    To buy tickets to the Wildlife for Tomorrow Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Award Ceremony, visit:

  • April 23, 2019 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    HB 2271 unanimously passes the AZ State House and Senate.

    Just one day after Earth Day, the Arizona State Senate unanimously passed HB 2271! With the Governor's signature, the bill will officially establish the first Saturday in April to be observed as Arizona Public Lands Day.

    The Arizona Public Lands Day Bill (HB 2271) was drafted by a team of conservationists led by Brad Powell, Board President of the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF). Among the organizations supporting the bill was AWF Affiliate group, Trout Unlimited. The bill was introduced in the House by Representative Tim Dunn (who is also a member of the Yuma Valley Rod & Gun Club, another AWF Affiliate), and in the Senate, was sponsored by Senator Frank Pratt. The bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate. The unanimous vote in favor of the bill's passage (60-0 in the House and 30-0 in the Senate) is unprecedented and demonstrates how bipartisan, uniting, and powerful public lands and conservation can be!

    Arizona is blessed with a diversity of majestic Public Lands including National Parks and Monuments, State Parks, preserves, National Forests, rangelands, wildlife refuges, and wilderness area. HB 2271 celebrates those lands. The text of the bill points out how these public lands enrich our lives, positively impact our economy, and support and protect our precious natural resources. Declaring and celebrating a Public Lands Day is a positive way for Arizonan’s to express their love and support for public lands and outdoor recreation. 

    Arizona Public Lands Day does not require any state funding or new regulations. While the first Saturday in April will from this time forward be recognized as Arizona Public Lands Day, it is not a legal holiday. None-the-less, Arizonans will be encouraged to get out and enjoy their public lands and it is expected that numerous outdoor-related organizations will host events to help us get out and celebrate Arizona Public Lands Day.

Protecting wildlife and their habitats through education, inspiration, advocacy, and action since 1923


Arizona Wildlife Federation

PO Box 1182,  Mesa, AZ 85211
(480) 702-1365


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