This week, the Legislative Environmental Quality Council (EQC) met in Helena for two days to discuss a variety of issues. Montana Wildlife Federation staff attended the meeting to track issues and provide testimony on a panel to discuss wildlife policy and landowner relations.
EQC is the state committee that oversees Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) during the interim between Legislative Sessions. The agenda was packed with items for FWP, including the status of the aquatic invasive species program, an update on State Parks in Focus initiative and a proposed rewrite of state law on bird dog training.
MWF Conservation Director Nick Gevock represented hunter and angler interests throughout the meeting. Gevock also took part in a panel to discuss wildlife policy and landowner relations, in particular how it relates to elk management. The agenda item was spurred by the issue of elk populations exceeding the established objectives in some areas of the state, shoulder seasons and how landowners and hunters can work together to achieve better outcomes.
MWF has a strong record of working to enhance Montana’s suite of programs to encourage public hunting access to private lands and through private lands to public lands. We also have worked on numerous bills to support landowners for providing wildlife habitat and resolve wildlife conflicts with farmers and ranchers in recent years, including livestock loss renewal, increasing the amount that landowners can receive for Block Management and renew the Unlocking State Lands tax credit, among others.
Hunters and landowners have long been solid partners to conserve wildlife in our state, and MWF will continue to be there to build on that working relationship to ensure better outcomes for wildlife, landowners and hunters and anglers.
The next EQC meeting is in will be in May, and MWF staff will be there to track the issues that matter to you. Follow MWF on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or sign up for our action alerts for more breaking news.