Conserving the Nature of America External Affairs

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Continues Progress on Access for Hunters and Anglers

Photo of Casey Stemler. Credit: USFWSEarlier this year, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3362 to improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer. ​The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation and expand opportunities for big game hunting by improving priority habitats within important ​ migration corridors across the West.

To further this important Secretarial initiative, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan announced the selection of Casey Stemler to a new position of Senior Adviser to the Director for Western States. 

In this role, Stemler will be responsible for the full range of program development and implementation as they relate to western states and implementation of the Secretarial Order, which directs bureaus within the Department to work in close partnership with Western states to enhance and improve the quality of big-game winter range and migration corridor habitat on Federal lands under the Department's jurisdiction in a way that recognizes state authority to conserve and manage big-game species and respects private property rights.

"I am extremely happy to announce the selection of Casey Stemler for this important position," said Sheehan.  "He possesses a diversity of work experience related to landscape scale wildlife management and will be instrumental in our efforts to work collaboratively with states and other partners on a variety of issues related to migration corridors and hunting and fishing."

Casey is a career employee with 26 years of Federal government experience. He most recently worked for 12 years in the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Regional Office in Colorado where he focused on migratory birds and developing and maintaining partnerships with states, landowners, industry and non-governmental organizations. While there he served as the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Coordinator and regional Chief for the Migratory Bird program. Prior to that, Casey worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, the Service’s headquarters office, and on Capitol Hill.

In addition the Service is continuing its emphasis on increasing opportunities for access to public lands for hunting and fishing. "Hunters and anglers have been the backbone of wildlife conservation in America for more than a century, generating billions of dollars to protect and restore habitat, while supporting jobs and communities across the nation," Sheehan said.

In order to coordinate these efforts, each Service region named a Regional Chief of Hunting and Fishing who will focus on initiatives to break down barriers to hunting and fishing participation. Accomplishments to date include:

      • Expanding existing hunting and fishing programs on national wildlife refuges nationwide, and opening new refuges to hunting and fishing wherever possible: The Service opened 132,000 acres in 2017 and plans to open an additional 250,000 acres to hunting and fishing by this fall;
      • Actively reviewing regulations, policies and guidance to identify ways to better align Service regulations with the states' and ensure consistency of Service regulations across the country; In 2018, the Service will rescind hundreds of unneeded or redundant regulations;
      • Working with states, tribes and the private sector on coordinated hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation; and,
      • Piloting a network of Outdoor Skills Centers with the outdoor recreation industry to introduce young people to these pastimes, while improving access to information on hunting and fishing opportunities through apps and other technology improvements.

The Service currently provides quality hunting opportunities on more than 330 national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

"Working together with our state and tribal partners and other public and private organizations focused on wildlife conservation, we can ensure abundant, diverse wildlife populations for generations to come, while providing new opportunities for Americans to hunt and fish on public lands," said Sheehan.