Michigan Sportsmen to Leadership: ‘Act Now on Climate Change, Wildlife Funding’
Climate Change Threatens Hunting, Fishing Traditions
LANSING, MICH. (February 20) – At the State Capitol today, hunters and anglers joined Michigan leaders in calling on the U.S. Congress to pass climate change legislation.
“Our message to Congress is clear: Sportsmen and woman have worked for decades to protect habitat, restore wildlife, and preserve hunting and fishing opportunities. Climate change threatens this heritage, and we need to take action to turn the tide,” said Dennis Muchmore, Executive Director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
The call to action by the Michigan Council of the Izaak Walton League, Michigan Trout Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, National Wildlife Federation and other conservation organizations follows the release of a national letter endorsed by more than 670 sportsmen organizations—39 of which are from Michigan—urging federal action to curb global warming and dedicate funding for fish and wildlife conservation and restoration.
“Climate change is the single-biggest threat to wildlife today, and is an issue that Congress needs to address now,” said Dick Augustine of Trout Unlimited. “Failure to confront global warming not only threatens our children’s opportunity to go trout fishing here in Michigan, it threatens our economy and our national security.”
Conservation leaders were to be joined at the State Capitol by State Sen. Ray Basham (Taylor), State Reps. Matt Gillard (Alpena) and Gary McDowell (Rudyard), and others.
“We are seeing climate change impacts right here in the Great Lakes,” says Georgia Donovan, President of the Izaak Walton League’s Dwight Lydell chapter. “In particular, climate change aggravates the stressors already threatening the Great Lakes, and puts additional stress on our water resources. We are particularly concerned about the impact of invasive species. Already a huge threat to the Great Lakes, they thrive when rising temperatures stress native plants and animals. We have solutions to confront global warming, and it is time to use them.”
Fish and wildlife are already feeling the effects of climate change. Trout populations are declining from increased water temperatures. Wetlands critical to waterfowl populations are threatened due to increasing temperatures. Migration patterns and timing are changing. Elsewhere in the Midwest, moose populations have plummeted due to warmer weather.
To fight global warming, Michigan sportsmen are calling for federal climate change legislation that cuts global warming by 2 percent per year through a cap-and-trade system and includes dedicated funding for fish and wildlife conservation and restoration. That funding will support state and federal agencies to address the natural resource and wildlife impacts of climate change.
“There is more and more evidence pointing to the fate of many Michigan species. It is inextricably related to changing climate,” said Bob Garner, former Michigan Natural Resources Commissioner “Research needs to be done to further protect species if we are going to sustain our outdoor heritage for current and future generations.”
“Global warming is altering habitat, which is why national solutions need to include restoration and conservation initiatives to help wildlife adapt,” said Brenda Archambo known as the “Sturgeon General” for her active involvement in sturgeon restoration. “Hunting and fishing and outdoor recreation is also critical to the economy of Michigan. Global warming poses a daunting challenge, but if we confront it head on, it does not have to be the death knell for our fish, our wildlife, and our way of life.”
Michigan’s 1.37 million sportsmen spend $3.4 billion annually, more than the combined cash receipts for dairy, greenhouse/nursery, corn, soybeans and cattle -- the state's top five agricultural commodities ($2.9 billion).
Michigan and other Midwest states are developing climate action plans, and enacting energy policies to speed adoption of energy efficiency measures, clean and renewable energy and advanced automotive technologies.
“The solutions to climate change not only protect our outdoor heritage, but our manufacturing and industrial heritage,” said Zoe Lipman, of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office. “If we lead in addressing climate, we also capture a whole new generation of jobs in rapidly growing energy industries. Twenty trillion dollars will be invested in these technologies over the next two decades. Michigan needs to capture its fair share of that.”
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation's oldest and most respected conservation organizations.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation, with nearly 100,000 members and more than 500 affiliated clubs.
National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.
Trout Unlimited works across the United States at the local, state and federal level, to ensure that, by the next generation, robust populations of native and wild trout, salmon and steelhead will once again thrive within their North American Range.
February 20, 2008
Zoe Lipman, National Wildlife Federation, 734-834-9344; email@example.com
Jordan Lubetkin, National Wildlife Federation, (734) 887-7109, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Regional Communications Manager
National Wildlife Federation - Great Lakes Office
213 West Liberty, Suite 200 | Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-887-7109 | Fax: 734-887-7199 | Cell: 734-904-1589