Congressional Caucus Creating Task Forces

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus has grown to unprecedented size. It now has 330 members, 280 representatives in the House and 50 Senators. That is more than 60 percent of all of Congress, and it is bi-partisan. Its research and education-support organization, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), has also evolved since its formation a decade ago. To improve its effectiveness and service to the sportsmen’s community, specialized task forces are being established. The first was the Bowhunting Task Force co-chaired by Congressman Jim Barcia of Michigan and Congressman Duncan Hunter of California. It was begun in February. The second that has been formed is the Waterfowl/Wetlands Task Force, which will address many of the pressing problems, including waterfowl and wetland habitat of interest to waterfowl hunters. It is co-chaired by Congressmen Mike Thompson and Chip Pickering. These task forces are designed to focus on select sportsmen’s issues and to better link those with common interests. At the recent Caucus and CSF annual banquet, Dallas Safari Club (a Bronze member of CSF), Houston Safari Club and Conservation Force (a Sustaining Member of CSF) together asked that the Caucus form an International task force to better consider, serve and represent those hunters and fishermen who travel the world over to hunt and fish. Other organizations that represent sportsmen who travel are expected to join in the request because of the unique needs and interests that are common to all. Undoubtedly such a task force would focus on laws and treaties such as the ESA and CITES, international governmental relations, international aid and related matters. If you support this idea, then make sure the organizations you belong to belong to the CSF and have them drop a note to the CSF requesting that an international task force be formed and to be a member of it. Address it to The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, 303 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20003 or call 202-543-6850, fax 202-543-6853 or email: csf@sportsmens link.org. To find out more about the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus visit the Web site of its House Co-Chair, Congressman Saxby Chambliss (GA) at www.house. gov/chambliss/sports.html.

Invasive Species: A trend has begun that you can expect to hear a lot more about so this is a brief explanation of what is behind it. Its recent origin begins with the formation of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group and their “Draft IUCN Guidelines for the Prevention of Biodiversity Loss due to Biological Invasion, October 1996. Then the Convention on Biological Diversity created a Task Force to deal with the issue. On February 3, 1999 President Clinton, by Executive Order 13112, established the Invasive Species Council composed of cabinet secretaries and federal agency members to prepare a national plan for dealing with invasive species. Most recently, the Animals Committee of CITES in June 1999 decided to lend their support to the effort of the others to control the trade of such alien species. This issue is here to stay and will be a new battleground for those involved with exotic or alien species that are perceived or can be represented to be invasive. This, of course, includes exotic or introduced game animals and fish. This means more federal and international regulations over state and local wildlife. It is just one of the many things Conservation Force monitors for your interest. We foresee a trend to strictly confine those species at the same time there will be growing ethics opposition to hunting them in those same confined and controlled spaces. The evolving definitions of which alien or exotic species are invasive will be important to some hunting interests. It is also more nationalization of wildlife management. The introduction of alien or exotic species generally arises from interstate and foreign commerce or trade that is traditionally within the the federal realm.