WASHINGTON–Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Director Jeff Crow testified before U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and members of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in support of the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act. The bipartisan legislation introduced by Boozman and his colleagues promotes conservation, reauthorizes existing wildlife legislation and provides regulatory clarity for sportsmen.
Watch Boozman’s questions to Director Crow
Boozman welcomed Crow before the committee and asked him about the importance of this bill to Arkansas.
“With all of his experience, I cannot think of anyone better to discuss why the HELP for Wildlife Act is great for the state of Arkansas and the nation,” Boozman said during his introduction of Crow.
Crow highlighted the benefits to Arkansas offered by the bill that would provide certainty for agriculture producers and sportsmen including a provision to distinguish between normal agriculture practices and baiting.
“This bill would codify clearer definitions around the issue of baiting, afford the opportunity for waterfowl hunting over ratoon rice and other crops that have not been manipulated and allow conservation partners to educate producers and hunters about the value of agriculture to wintering waterfowl without compromising the legal standing of those producers and hunters,” Crow said.
Arkansas would also benefit from reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), which is important to conserving our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.
There are 17 completed or underway NAWCA projects in Arkansas that has led to the conservation of more than 77,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
“We are blessed to have some of the last and best bottomland hardwood forests in the country. When these forests are flooded by the White and Cache Rivers, they provide habitat for over a million mallards. NAWCA has ensured that these forested wetlands remain in good condition. NAWCA has also restored new forests for the next generation of sportsmen and waterfowl enthusiasts. Projects like these can only occur through strengthening funding for this important program,” Crow said.
The HELP for Wildlife Act also includes a provision that will protect Arkansas farmers who follow prescribed best practices when safeguarding their crops from certain migratory bird species.