Wildlife Protection With Hunters and Ranchers In Charge?

Wildlife Protection With Hunters and Ranchers In Charge?

The health of wildlife in Nevada is in the hands of extractive industries like hunting, ranching and farming. Nevada law requires the Nevada Wildlife Commission to have nine members, five of whom must be hunters. That gives hunters total control of the commission.

The other members, according to NRS 501.171, must include one farmer, one rancher, one conservationist and one member who represents the general public. So besides the last two, the interests of this commission are skewed towards extraction of habitat and wildlife, if one looks at fauna as a “resource.”

In light of the makeup of the Nevada Wildlife Commission, it really calls into question the effect of legislation like Assembly Bill 211 introduced by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui in the 2021 Session of the Nevada Legislature.

Government action on the environment it seems is almost always window dressing. With AB211, developers will be required to run their plans by the Department of Wildlife to “consider” how it will impact wildlife and habitat. Not that they won’t still be able to destroy the ecosystems. The only thing standing in their way is whether hunters believe their interests will be affected. That can sometimes be a barrier, but often it wouldn’t be.

In any event, the law only requires NDOW to consider the impacts to wildlife and what?… make a report? This is far from requiring that development NOT damage habitat. Oh, thanks for the consideration though!

I’m not knocking the bill as it’s probably a step in the right direction… but I’m also not going to cheerlead something that isn’t going to make much difference. The people of Nevada deserve to know the truth about how policy affects our environment. Gaslighting people into thinking our elected officials are “champions” of the environment based on legislation like this is frankly insulting.

Change The Nevada Wildlife Commission Dramatically

If any Nevada lawmaker wants to be a champion of the environment, here’s what you need to do: Nevada law needs to be changed to shift the makeup and the mission of the Nevada Wildlife Commission towards protecting ecosystems based on science, not solely for hunters. That means put scientists, conservationists and hey, how about indigenous people in charge (who knows this land and the flora and fauna better?) and allow input from hunters and anglers (they aren’t bad or anything, they just shouldn’t be solely in charge).

While California isn’t perfect either, if you look at their board makeup and mission in comparison, the shift is dramatic.

NDOW MISSION STATEMENT
To protect, conserve, manage and restore
wildlife and its habitat for the aesthetic,
scientific, educational, recreational, and
economic benefits to citizens of Nevada and
the United States, and to promote the safety
of persons using vessels on the waters of
Nevada.

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California Fish and Game Commission Mission Statement
The mission of the California Fish and Game Commission, in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is to provide leadership for transparent and open dialogue where information, ideas and facts are easily available, understood and discussed to ensure that California will have abundant, healthy, and diverse fish and wildlife that thrive within dynamic ecosystems, managed with public confidence and participation, through actions that are thoughtful, bold, and visionary in an ever-changing environment.

We embrace our responsibility to hold California’s fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public trust, as well as their cultural and intrinsic value, and therefore work collaboratively with other federal, tribal, state and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the people of California to establish scientifically-sound policies and regulations that protect, enhance and restore California’s native fish and wildlife in their natural habitats, and to secure a rich and sustainable outdoor heritage for all generations to experience and enjoy through both consumptive and non-consumptive activities.

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