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March 15, 2007

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Editor’s Note: Have a Question for Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne?

Editor’s Note: Thanks for writing in your questions for Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthrone. Our sit-down interview with the Secretary went very well, and included a number of your questions. Look for the Q&A in an upcoming issue of Field & Stream!

At the end of March, we're sitting down for an interview with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. We're planning to ask about issues like public land access and wetlands preservation, but we'd love to bring some reader questions to the table as well. If you have a hunting- or fishing-related question for Secretary Kempthorne, write it below. Then look for the interview to run in an issue later this year. --The Editors of Field & Stream Magazine

Comments

Trent M.

I know it falls under the USDA, but what does he think about there being no new CRP contracts in 07 and 08. In places where wild birds rely on this habitat to get a foothold back into certain areas, the USDA apparently care more about a few acres of corn for useless ethanol production. Prolly not something he will want to talk about, but I think he needs to have an opinion.

Aaron Pape

How can the national forests and protected federal lands be opened for energy extraction. I thought that those lands were protected from industry.

Tom James

What is being done for the Cheasapeake Bay and tributaries?

Also any help from the feds on this one:

http://www.deq.state.va.us/info/srfishkill.html

The Bay needs federal protection because of the watershed covering so many states.

I had planned to be a waterman on the bay growing up on the Lower Rappahannock River , but those dreams and lifestyle were dashed as sprawl and pollution have all but totally destroyed this National Treasure.

as moeggs

I elk hunted an area near Pinedale, Wy. for the last time this past fall. Our group has hunted their for 20yrs. and I don't even recognize the area anymore. My question is, is defacing one of the worlds most beautiful landscapes really worth the gas? If he says it's out of his control, then ask him exactly who makes this call, and how can the public stop the drilling!

Terry Riley

Why does the BLM have to lease all of the primary and critical winter ranges for mule deer in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Utah for energy development? Why can't they put these and other important fish and wildlife habitats *such as sage grouse and lesser prairie chicken breeding grounds off limits to energy development?

Terry Riley

Why can't the federal government use some money collected from royalties and lease and rent payments for energy development on public lands to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitats? These funds amount to billions per year and yet little if any is used to help states deal with the impacts of these developments.

Jay Gore

Before he became Secretary, had he ever visited a National Park? Why, as a Senator, did he try to gut ESA? In the west, he is not thought of as much of a land steward!

Terry Riley

The Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is very popular with private landowners. It is used to protect and restore many acres of private land for fish and wildlife. Why are annual incentive payments not allowed by the Fish and Wildlife Service for this program?

Ben Deeble

Recent energy development on some large tracts of BLM land in Wyoming has driven mule deer herds down by over 50%, and sage-grouse to local extinction.
Can the Secretary guarantee that his isn't approving activities that will cause a long-term net loss of the West's wildlife populations, perhaps even putting some on the Endangered Species list?

Matt

I went to Dinosaur National Monument in 1999 and I'm glad I did when I had the chance. A large complex is built over an exposed excavation and you can see and touch hundreds of bones embedded in rock. Or at least you could. I hear that exhibit is off limits as the structure has been declared unsafe and Bush won't fork over the money to the National Park Service to repair it. This place is a national treasure.

Brad Smith

In 2005 the Forest Service devised a policy to deal with the severe resource impacts occurring on the National Forests from increasing off-road vehicle use. In many ways off-road vehicle use is more of a problem on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. How does the Department of Interior plan to deal with the impacts arising from escalating off-road vehicle use on the public lands it manages?

B.C.

1) How does the DOI plan to conserve habitats, like coastal national wildlife refuges, in the face of changes that may occur due to global warming?

2) How will the North American Waterfowl Management Plan be updated to face the changes that may occur due to global warming?

3) How will hunting and fishing opportunities on the national wildlife refuges be maintained in the face of the budget shortfalls and staff cuts at the Fish and Wildlife Service?

4) Will the FWS ever adopt regulations under which the importation of trophies of foreign species listed under the ESA will be governed?

5) How are / will the resources of DOI agencies be leveraged to improve the participation of youth in hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation?

righthandedhammer

why are most of our national parks under primary control of the U.N.?

Tom James

Why is lead shot outlawed in waterways, but chicken manure, growth hormones, steroids, pesticide, fertilizer, untreated sewage etc. all entering waterways in much greater quantities, and doing much more damage, allowed to continue to destroy our aquatic resources?

I guess I already know the answer, money, in the form of stronger lobbyist for the folks who do all this damage, but I would still like to hear his answer.

Warren Illi

Why is USF&WS and USDI negoiating with Salish-Kootenai Tribe in secret meetings about management of National Bison Range and other wildlife refuges? Refuges are public lands owned by all Americans and refuge management decisions should be open and transparent. No secret meetings with selective few Americans!

Steve Riley

I'm disappointed that the Landowner Incentive Program was zeroed out in the President's FY2008 Budget. This appears to be one of the most innovative and successful programs to come along in a long time. Landowners working with State Fish and Wildlife Agencies who are in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service all for the express purpose of keeping species off of the endangered list while helping to keep common species common--it sounds too good to be true. Over three million acres have been conserved in over 35 states with this young program. Can you explain why it was cut and what can be done to restore funding?

Gary Quinn

What can be done to eliminate private landowners with BLM or FS contracts from blocking access to public lands. Most are leasing out access to Outfitters or charge access fees to hunt and fish on the publics land. This happens on millions of acres every year and creates a private hunting and fishing preserves on the publics ground.

craig wagner

Currently BLM charges around $1.50 per animal unit month for grazing. The market value for private grazing leases is close to $20. Many tracts of BLM are not accessable by the public resulting in private non-multi use of these closed lands. Why doesn't the BLM charge market rates for lands that are denied access to the public by the lessee? This would promote mult-use of BLM lands and would increase revenues for the BLM.

Mike Diehl

Please ask the Interior Secretary how he intends to mitigate and prevent damage caused to US National Wildlife refuges in AZ by illegal immigrant traffic.

Matt Mallery

Mike,

I'm sure his response to the illegal alien problem will be the same as Bush's. A guest worker program will solve everything right? Wrong. It will encourage even more to come here. We already have 300 million people in the USA. How many more can our natural resources take? Will there be room for hunters in an overpopulated America?

Nate

One issue that needs to be brought up which effects many people in the southern United States (in my case, Texas) is all the regulations surrounding Red Snapper. Even with all the regulations that have been implemented to improve the population of Red Snapper the population continues to get smaller and smaller each year and that has a tremendous effect on communities where commercial fishing is a staple on its economy. It’s a fairly simple concept: people from around Texas and from around the country come to small towns on the Texas and Gulf coast to do deep sea fishing and other types of fishing, and if the fish aren’t biting after these people have spent a lot money then its likely they will not come back. Now most of us know that fishing is called fishing because that’s what it is, and that’s why it’s not called catching. However, the more help Texas and the Gulf coast can get to improve the status of Red Snapper, which happens to be one of the more popular fish that attracts anglers, then the better off the environment will be along with the economies that depend on tourism and fishing since they usually go hand-in-hand. In my personal opinion I think the regulations that are currently being imposed are stupid and here is why (large charter boats are mostly to blame): the first time I went deep sea fishing with my father was about 5 or so years ago, and of course when you get on the boat the crew makes you aware of the size and bag limits for Red Snapper so everyone knows and will not complain – no more than 4 fish which need to be 15 inches or better – yet no restriction on Lane or Vermillion Snapper given they are the appropriate length. The stupid part about this whole process has to do with the boat crewmembers throwing those fish back that did not meet the required length even when it had been sitting on the deck for 5 minutes and was already dead, but would have been perfect to eat. In addition to that, the solution devised by the crew during an immediate release was to poke a hole in its bladder (since it had been coughed up due to the release of pressure since they stay very deep) and wish the short fish the best of luck, but more often than not they would eventually die very shortly after being released, or were eaten by sharks or porpoises who capitalized on fish that they saw were obviously in shock. Sometimes it takes catching 5 or more fish to find one you can keep, and you spread that out on a boat of 60 people or more and that’s a lot of dead fish, and knowing all this it was never a shock to hear Texas Parks and Wildlife concerned that populations of Red Snapper were dangerously low. I don’t know what it’s going to take to fix this problem but this is as valid an issue as any for Dirk Kempthone to hear.

T. Border

Mr. Kempthorne,

With the development of gas and oil fields at such an accelerated as to cause a needed $22 million in restorations funds for nearly 500,000 acres in six targeted areas of the West. Every taxpayer in the U.S. will pay this $22 million unnecessarily while the energy companies – the one that benefited and profited handsomely form this spoilage pay nothing. It seems we have it backwards – shouldn’t this $22 million in restoration funds come from the spoils of the development – the profits the oil and gas companies gathered in their haste?

bstand

Do you think there is presently a difference of approach (to conservation) between career employees and political appointees at the Dept. of Interior?

Do you believe that public perceptions, of a reckless bias towards industry in political appointments, are uninformed or beyond the pale of polite discussion?

Do such perceptions undermine your ability to do the good work of conservation?

Please define conservation.

Tom James

Any help for the Mayor of Saxis?

http://www.wvec.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8O1U1R00.html

Chesapeake Bay fishing village amid a disappearing act

WVEC.com (subscription) - Norfolk,VA,USA

This historic fishing village on Virginia's Eastern Shore, which juts like a sore thumb into the Pocomoke Sound and Chesapeake Bay, is fading away. ...

aaron moore

Kempthorne is a scum bag....I am a native Idahoan and know this jag-offs record all too well...Say Big oil and timber interest puppet, and you have just described this guy. Ask him how he intends to use the land currently protected from development (namely the East Fork and Middle Fork drainages) from mineral exploration once the wolf is delisted?? Hey, I am all for hunting wolves( Id love to have one my trophy room) but the real agenda beyond this and the griz delisting is NOT repeat NOT sound mangement and hunting opportunities....it is the rape and pilage of OUR public wilderness




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