FEDERAL FUNDS GO TO GROUP THAT SPONSORS CONTESTS TO KILL NATIVE SPECIES IN ORDER TO SAVE NON-NATIVE SPECIES


Back in September the U.S. Department of the interior issued a press release stating $111 million in funds would be going towards wetland conservation projects and national wildlife refuges. In that release it said

the Department of the Interior today announced that $34 million in grants has been approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which will provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners the ability to help conserve or restore 177,000 acres of wetland and association upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 20 states. The grants, made through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), will be matched by $74 million in partner funds.

In November 2021 Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) and Senator Tina Smith (D) announced that federal funding had been awarded for several projects in Minnesota to conserve bird populations and wetland habitat. 

This is what Amy Klobuchar wrote under her announcement:

Here are screenshots of what money went where

The link to access this information is HERE.

It says that Pheasants Forever requested and received $4,000,000 from NAWCA and the matched amount totaled $11,652,031.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Council (NAWCC) meets three times a year to review and select standard grant proposals that they will take before the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission for approval. The members of the NAWCC are listed below.

Chairperson
Mr. Tony Wasley
Pacific Flyway Council
Nevada Department of Wildlife
Ms. Martha Williams
Permanent Member
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mr. Jeff Trandahl
Permanent Member
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Mr. John Carlson, Jr.California Waterfowl Association
Mr. Daniel Eichinger
Mississippi Flyway Council
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Mr. Richard A. Jacobson
Atlantic Flyway Council
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Mr. David NomsenPheasants Forever
Dr. Karen WaldropDucks Unlimited
Council Coordinator
Ms. Kari Duncan
Division Chief, Migratory Bird Program
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Alternate
Mr. Mark W. Elsbree
The Conservation Fund
Ex-officio member
Ms. Wendy Jackson
Land Trust Alliance
Ex-officio member
Mr. Glenn Olson
National Audubon Society
Ex-officio member
Mr. Daniel Wolfish
Environment and Climante Change Canada



  • Chair - Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior
  • John Boozman, Senator from Arkansas (R)
  • Martin Heinrich, Senator from New Mexico (D)
  • Robert J. Wittman, Representative from Virginia (R)
  • Mike Thompson, Representative from California (D)
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

The portion of Minnesota to benefit from the grants listed in the chart above are shown in the map below. 



Considering the grants in Minnesota went to Pheasants Forever it's important to explore who Pheasants Forever is and what they do.

According to the Pheasants Forever website it says 
In 1982, a group of pheasant hunters (from St. Paul, MN) saw the connections between upland habitat loss and declining pheasant populations. An organization dedicated to wildlife habitat conservation was needed, and Pheasants Forever was formed. Pheasants Forever's mission work quickly garnered it a reputation as "The Habitat Organization," a tagline the nonprofit conservation group uses proudly to this day. Pheasants Forever's mission is to conserve pheasants, quail, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public access, education, and conservation advocacy. 

Pheasants Forever is a classic hunting group following the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Save a species for hunting. 

They state on their website:
Pheasants Forever promotes hunting as a great outdoor activity. Whether you are new to the sport, a seasoned veteran, or just getting interested, Pheasants Forever has something for you.


On tax form 990 for period ending 2019 Pheasants Forever brought in $62,741,195.00. For period ending 2020 they brought in $67,643,527.00

Pheasants Forever also formed a quail division called Quail Forever

Clearly Pheasants Forever takes in quite a bit of money, therefore, they also have a lot of influence when it comes to decisions made about wildlife and wildlife habitat. One of the decisions they've made is to sponsor wildlife killing contests. 

Here is one they sponsored in 2016. Note the contest is to "Save the Birds."



Here's one they are sponsoring this weekend.


Although some hunting groups and some hunters like to claim that coyotes are the reason pheasant and quail numbers are dropping in Minnesota and other states, that's just not the case. Habitat loss related to farming is the number one reason for the decline. Despite the number of articles that have come out over the years reporting on the actual cause people still push for the removal of coyotes. Following are a few articles on what has lead to the decline in pheasant numbers.
None of this is news to the people at Pheasants Forever. They know coyotes aren't responsible for the loss of pheasants. They've said so themselves.


They've even dedicated portions of their website to discussing this issue (source of screen captures below)


^this last paragraph even says getting rid of predators can increase the chances of them encountering pheasants.

Pheasants Forever also wrote this LIKE PHEASANTS? THANK A COYOTE 

So why are they sponsoring coyote killing contests?

What some may not know is that the ring-necked pheasant, the bird population that Pheasants Forever works overtime to protect and increase, is not native to Minnesota. It is an imported bird, coming from China to the United States back in the 1800s. The first successful release in Minnesota was in 1916 (source: DNR)


On the other hand, the coyote is a native species. Historically they were more common in the prairie regions of Minnesota, the exact part of the state where Pheasants Forever sponsors coyote killing contests. They eventually expanded in larger numbers to other parts of the state but then soon declined in the areas where the wolf population increased and moved into. DNR Researchers say coyote populations cycle in response to rodent prey availability. (source

We are giving federal funds to a hunting group that already rakes in millions of dollars every year, plus they sponsor the killing of a native species to "protect" a non-native species. Interesting that no one is talking about that?

So when Amy Klobuchar said "I'm an avid bird watcher" did she mean through her hunting scope?