Take Action for Birds
Why taking action for birds matters: Advocacy, or making recommendations for a specific policy or course of action,
may feel outside the realm of the average citizen. But the actions that we take for birds and for wild places matter-
regardless of our political affiliation. Protecting things such as clean water and air, access to public lands, reducing climate impacts that harm us and wildlife is the responsibility of each of us. There are steps that all of us can do
as individuals and as community members. Working together, we can take action for birds.
Sandhill Crane Hunt (Michigan Senate Resolution 20)
In March of 2021, a resolution to reclassify Eastern sandhill cranes as a game species in Michigan and create a hunting season was brought to the Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee. Sandhill cranes, once nearly extirpated from the state of Michigan, have thrived under the protections of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Farmers that request hunting permits for ‘nuisance’ birds that damage their crops. Farmers are not currently allowed to consume the birds that they kill, and this was the stated reasoning behind the 2021 version of the resolution. However, opponents to this resolution believe it was intended to change the status of cranes within the state of Michigan and then work with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency which oversees the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to reclassify them as a game species. While the USFWS indicated that they would be open to making the change, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which oversees management of game species and hunting seasons in the state, suggested that they were not interested in a sandhill crane season.
The senate resolution was tabled for now, pending additional population census information. Similar resolutions have been brought up in prior years, and are deeply unpopular with the public. While there is not currently a date set for this resolution to be brought to the Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee again, there are actions that we can take to support opposition to the resolution.
Current status: Decision delayed, pending census data
1) Call your senator and let them know that you oppose a Michigan sandhill crane hunt
2) Email or write your senator and the Senate Natural Resources Committee
Gray Wolf Hunt (Michigan Senate Resolution 15)
On March 9, 2021, the Michigan Senate adopted SR 15 to urge Michigan wildlife agencies
to create a hunting and trapping season for wolves in the Upper Peninsula of the state.
The Michigan Senate Natural Resource Committee can only make recommendations to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Committee, a body composed of appointed officials that oversee natural resources issues within the state of Michigan.
The Michigan DNR is updating the wolf management plan for the state, with an anticipated
completion date of 2022. SR 15 urges them to open the season on wolves even before the
updated plan is finished. The committee hearing within the senate did not include testimony from state wildlife officials or experts. While wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list in January of 2021, that decision is currently under review by the Biden administration.
The adoption of SR 15 does not necessarily mean that a wolf hunting and trapping season will be brought up for a vote. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has indicated that they would like to complete the state’s wolf management plan updates, consider input from the state’s tribal groups, and await a more final decision on the federal status of wolves.
Wolves, once eliminated from Michigan, have had significant population increases in the Upper Peninsula since the early 1990s and their population there is roughly 700 wolves. This population has remained stable for a decade. Wolf hunting and trapping is considered deeply unpopular with the public, and the Michigan DNR suggested they would want public input on any seasons. Two prior attempts at wolf hunting bills were put to the public and overwhelmingly opposed by voters.
Current status: SR 15, adopted on March 9, 2021 by the Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee
1) Call your senator and let them know that you oppose hunting and trapping of wolves
2) Call or write Governor Whitmer to let her office know that you support the creation of a wolf advisory council if it includes wolf science experts and non-hunters as well as pro-wolf season hunters
Protect Public Lands: Bureau of Land Management Alternative C2
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees public lands throughout the United States. The Central Yukon Regional Management Plan, currently open for public comment, would remove environmental protections from 13 million acres and open up this area to gas, oil, mining, and development. This region is home to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge. Additionally, tribes within the region utilize it for subsistence and cultural practices and one piece of this proposal would transfer land management to the state, whereby Federally protected subsistence hunting rights would be lost.
There are several rivers that are currently proposed as wild and scenic river designation that would potentially be lost as the region was opened to development.
Current status: Public comment period open through June 9, 2021
1) Attend a virtual townhall and comment on the proposal
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge