In June, SCI gathered with key representatives of Arizona and New Mexico’s wildlife management authorities at the SCI Foundation’s International Wildlife Museum in Tucson.
The meeting was the idea of Eric Sparks, a new member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. Eric, an attorney and long-time member of SCI, wanted to bring together fellow Commission members and personnel from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to talk about issues of mutual interest and concern to SCI members and to Arizona’s wildlife authorities.
Upon realizing that SCI also has SCI member Beth Ryan sitting on the New Mexico Game Commission, Eric and SCI decided to invite representatives from New Mexico’s Commission and Game and Fish Department to the meeting.
On June 13, 2016, Commissioners, administrators, biologists and lawyers from both states and representatives from SCI met to discuss issues on which SCI and the two states have worked together in the past, matters of joint interest on which we are currently working and issues of potential joint interest coming up in the imminent future.
We addressed specific issues such as sheep management on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, bison management on Grand Canyon National Park, challenges to methods of game retrieval on the Kaibab National Forest, Mojave water development and mule deer research, and the numerous lawsuits addressing Mexican wolf experimental population management, including New Mexico’s recent victory in the courts against increased introductions of Mexican wolves into the state.
SCI took advantage of the gathering to describe the advocacy resources SCI has available to assist and inform state agencies on issues of mutual interest to state wildlife managers and the hunting community.
In addition to addressing ways that SCI and the two state agencies can work together, we also discussed limitations on our relationships. Attorneys from both states explained how the groups can work together while still abiding by the rules designed to assure proper agency and Commission decision-making.
All who attended agreed that the meeting provided mutual benefit and that meetings of this nature should be repeated and expanded to include representatives from other state fish and game agencies and Commissions.
If you are a member of your state’s Game and Fish Commission and/or have special connections with your Commission, please let us know so that we can reach out to your Commission to provide them with similar access to SCI’s resources and expertise.
SCI will look to convene similar meetings and other gatherings in Tucson; Washington, D.C.; and at our annual Convention.–Anna Seidman, SCI Director of Litigation