COHA Partners with Assembly Member Gatto to Introduce Landowner Hunting Rights Legislation
SACRAMENTO, CA –-(Ammoland.com)- Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) has introduced Assembly Bill 606, to encourage greater private landowner participation in voluntary, incentive-based conservation easement and wildlife habitat conservation programs administered by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG).
“COHA is pleased to partner with Assemblyman Gatto to fight to protect important wildlife habitat,” stated Jason Rhine with the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA). “Without willing private landowners, programs such as the Permanent Wetlands Easement Program or the California Waterfowl Habitat Program will cease to exist and hundreds of wetland dependent species will greatly suffer from a lack of available habitat.”
AB 606 seeks to clarify that private landowners participating in a DFG-managed conservation easement or wildlife habitat conservation program, such as the Permanent Wetlands Easement Program, the California Waterfowl Habitat Program, and the Landowner Incentive Program, can continue to engage in hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreational activities on their property, unless expressly prohibited.
“The future of maintaining fish and wildlife populations is making sure we preserve and manage their habitats,” said George C. Thornton, National Wild Turkey Federation CEO. “Private landowners are a critical player because of their direct tie to the water and land.”
With nearly 50% of California land in private ownership, farmers, ranchers, and other landowners play an extremely important role in protecting and maintaining wildlife habitat. Often, the incentive for landowners to maintain their property for the benefit of wildlife stems from their passion to pursue our outdoor traditions.
“Voluntary wildlife habitat conservation programs preserve thousands of acres of land a year,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “If we can encourage more private landowners to participate in these programs by ensuring that they will maintain the right to recreate on their land, we could save countless more acres of disappearing wetland and riparian habitat across the state.”
“Acknowledging the role of hunting associated with conservation easements helps ensure that future generations of Californians will have the same opportunities afield as we currently enjoy. This bill is an important step in clarifying that easements are intended to maintain the habitat values associated with these special lands, not to restrict their recreational benefits,” stated John Devney, Senior Vice President Delta Waterfowl.
The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting hunting and promoting wildlife conservation. For more information, visit www.outdoorheritage.org/
The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) is a partnership of conservation organizations, outdoor industry, other related interests and individuals who support science-based wildlife management and the preservation of our hunting rights in California. COHA is a 501(c)4 Political Advocacy organization dedicated solely to influencing legislative, regulatory and administrative policy decisions which promote wildlife conservation and our outdoor heritage. For more information about COHA, visit www.outdoorheritage.org.