YOU REALLY OUGHT TO READ THIS!!!

sdbrewer

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I repeat, you really ought to read this!!!! It isn't long and it isn't complicated.

http://www.fws.gov/saltonsea/pdf/Planning%20Update%202.pdf

Here's a direct quote that some might find interesting: "The hunting program would be modified to eliminate hunting on Wednesdays during the hunting season in the Union Tract, while also providing an additional hunting blind in this area for use on Saturdays and Sundays."

Page 5 lists the three proposed alternatives for managing the refuge. The quote above comes from Alternative B which is the preferred alternative. IF YOU DO NOTHING, THIS IS LIKELY WHAT WILL HAPPEN. If you voice your opinion, it may happen anyway but at least you can say you tried. Plus, you never know, we TOGETHER might be able to change the course a little.

Here is where you send your comments:

Victoria Touchstone, Refuge Planner (Please note new mailing address)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Post Office Box 2358
Chula Vista, CA 91912‐2358
619‐476‐9150 ex. 103 (phone), 619‐476‐9149 (fax)
Email: [email protected]; please include Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR CCP in the subject line message.

If you want your comments considered, you must get them to Ms. Touchstone by February 27, 2012

Here's what I'm thinking of sending (I welcome any comments -- feel free to use whatever you would like for your own letter):

Dear Ms. Touchstone:

I write in reference to Planning Update 2 regarding the development of the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge (the Refuge). Thank you for your work on this project and for the opportunity to comment on the CCP.

I reside in the greater San Diego area and visit the Refuge frequently during hunting season. I have been hunting on the Refuge and the Wister Unit for approximately 12 years and spend 16 to 24 days per year hunting there. My oldest son, currently 11 and on his second season as a licensed hunter, has been accompanying me on almost every trip for the last five years or so. The CCP will have profound impact not only on me but also on him. Accordingly, I write on behalf of both of us. During the non-hunting season, I visit the refuge occasionally for wildlife viewing. I also have participated in at least one volunteer work party on the Hazard Unit that was overseen by Mr. Schoneman. All of the 20 or so volunteers that day were hunters. In short, I suspect that I (and the many other hunters that frequent the refuge) visit and use the refuge far more than the general population.

I have reviewed the three alternatives set forth in Planning Update 2 and have the following comments:

As a general comment, I would like to remind you of Executive Order 13443 which states The purpose of this order is to direct Federal agencies that have programs and activities that have a measurable effect on public land management, outdoor recreation, and wildlife management, including the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat. Accordingly, I believe the CCP should be developed to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat. I was surprised and disappointed that no reference to the Executive Order was included in the Goals or Refuge Purposes sections of Planning Update 2 since, by its own terms, Executive Order 13443 applies to the Department of the Interior and therefore the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Refuge. I hope that reference to Executive Order 13443 will be included in future Planning Updates, the Draft CCP and the Final CCP.

As to Alternative B (the current preferred alternative): I support the restoration and enhancement of existing managed habitats on the Refuge. I also support permitting cooperative farming on the portions of the Refuge designated as foraging areas for wintering geese provided (i) such farming includes only crops of high food value to geese; (ii) such farming does not include livestock of any kind; and (iii) there is no difference in the type or intensity of farming between those areas of the Refuge that are hunted and those areas that are not. With respect to (iii), the hunting community has consistently noticed that those areas of the refuge that are not hunted (e.g. Unit 1) are managed much better than those areas of the refuge that are hunted (e.g. Union Tract) resulting in the non-hunting areas producing habitat with abundant food and cover whereas the hunting areas have sparse food and are generally not particularly attractive to geese. I think the management plan should state that except where soil or other objective factors prevent it, the hunting and non-hunting areas should be subject to identical farming practices.

In addition, I strongly oppose the proposal to close Union Tract to hunting on Wednesdays. Such an action would be in contradiction to Executive Order 13443. In addition, I suspect a large portion of the funding for the Refuge comes from hunters (through federal waterfowl stamp sales and Pittman-Robertson funds I have never seen a birder or other non-hunter pay a day use fee at any waterfowl area whereas I paid $146.62 for my Type A Season Pass last year). It stands to reason, therefore, that the management of the Refuge should particularly favor hunters and game species.

Finally, I strongly support the addition of a fifth waterfowl blind in Union Tract (for use on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays along with the other four blinds). Such an action would be in accordance with Executive Order 13443 and would be appropriate recognition of hunters significant contribution to the funding of the Refuge.

As to Alternative C: As discussed above, I support allowing third-parties to farm those portions of the refuge used by foraging geese subject to points (i)-(iii) discussed above. I also strongly support opening a hunting area in Unit 1. Such an action would be in accordance with Executive Order 13443 and would be appropriate recognition of hunters significant contribution to the funding of the Refuge.

Finally, I would like to see recognition of Executive Order 13443 and the fact that hunters provide a significant contribution to the funding of the Refuge in the final CCP. I have in mind including a statement such as A primary goal of the management of the Refuge shall be to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and consider my comments. If you have any questions or wish to discuss any of my comments, please feel free to contact me.


THIS PLAN GOVERNS THE REFUGE FOR THE NEXT 15 YEARS. GET INVOLVED AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!!!
 

ilovesprig

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Whit,

Thanks for posting.....................I thought we'd get more play over here.............................. :2zho0zs_th:


GET INVOLVED FOLKS!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Duckfan

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Other than stating they would close on Wed, have they provided the rationale for such a change?

I can't find any reason given..... Just a statement to do it.


That's crazy

I am happy to write but before I do, I would live to know their rationale... So I could better address the reason for the change, and allow me to be specific to that reasoning.

Anyone know.


This thread should be bumped every day til the end of Feb!!!


Also, have you contacted CWA and asked for support with this? They should be commenting on this whole CCP
 

sdbrewer

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Rick,

Here's why:

Developing Goals for the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR and Coachella Valley NWR

Goals are one of the unifying elements of successful Refuge management. They identify and focus management
priorities and provide a context for resolving issues and concerns raised during the scoping process. Refuge goals
also guide specific projects, provide rationale for decisions, and offer a defensible link among the management
actions, Refuge purposes, Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) policy, and National Wildlife Refuge System mission.
The Refuge System defines a goal as a . . . descriptive, open-ended, and often broad statement of desired future
conditions that conveys a purpose but does not define measurable units (Service Manual, 602 FW 1).

The CCP planning team drafted the following Refuge goals based on: 1) input provided during the scoping process for
the CCP; 2) discussions with various public agencies and interested organizations; and 3) internal Fish and Wildlife
Service review.

Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR

Goal 1: Manage suitable habitat for migratory birds,
including wintering populations of waterfowl.

Goal 2: Protect, restore, and enhance Refuge lands and
waters for federally and state listed threatened and
endangered species and species of concern.

Goal 3: Support native wildlife diversity by providing
appropriate upland and riparian habitat.

Goal 4: Work in partnership with other federal, state, and
local agencies and Tribes to develop an effective
management program to preserve the habitat
functions of the Salton Sea.

Goal 5: Enhance the publics awareness, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Refuges biological resources.

Providing hunting opportunities is not a goal of the CCP. Therefore, no problem with reducing hunting opportunity.

After noting this, I went back and revised a portion of my letter (the revised letter is what is posted above):

As a general comment, I would like to remind you of Executive Order 13443 which states The purpose of this order is to direct Federal agencies that have programs and activities that have a measurable effect on public land management, outdoor recreation, and wildlife management, including the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat. Accordingly, I believe the CCP should be developed to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat. I was surprised and disappointed that no reference to the Executive Order was included in the Goals or Refuge Purposes sections of Planning Update 2 since, by its own terms, Executive Order 13443 applies to the Department of the Interior and therefore the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Refuge. I hope that reference to Executive Order 13443 will be included in future Planning Updates, the Draft CCP and the Final CCP.

I have no idea whether CWA is aware of this matter.
 

shadowlawnskysthelimit

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Ok, so lets take a look at this Planning Update:

First, under the " Refuge Purposes" section there is not one mention of "hunting" which is to be secondary in importance to Goal 1(managing suitable habitat...). But not one word about hunting which is in the USFWS Mission Statement.

Secondly is Goal 1 ;already stated; are you kidding me!! They (Chris Schoneman and his staff) cant even do that, except for Union Tracts Closed Zone & Unit 1 (no hunting allowed). This year was a perfect example of his ability or wilingnessl to stay in line with "Goal 1" or "The Refuge Purpose" or the "USFWS Mission Staement". So to Chris, dont talk about a goal, just do your job as intended under the USFWS Mission Statement.

Thirdly, Goal 5; "Enhace the publics awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of Refuge resources". So Chris, do you call bowling ball size dirt clods or spraying weed killer during the hunting season as part as the appreciation and enjoyment of resources?

As far as the Alternatives;

Alt. A - What! That is just business as usual, screw the hunter(s) and coddle the tree hugging bird watchers!

Alt. B. - No improvements to the type of forage(food) for the geese, but lets add another blind. Really, Where in front of Union 3 & 4 or cram 3 & 4 closer together to add the 5th blind?? Great that will help the hunting and or hunting experience in Union Tract! Not!!! Oh I forgot, lets cut out a day of hunting to "enhance public awareness, appreciation and enjoyment of Refuge resources".

Alt. C. - I would love to see some hunting oppurtunties at Unit 1, it would be better than adding additional blinds at Union Tract. But, to be honest I think that will happen when Hell freezes over!!
I am all for letting some farmer grow food for the wintering birds! But, play close attention to what it states " contracting some or all of farming operations on the Refuge designated as foraging areas for wintering geese". It does not state "what type of farming" or "what type of food/forage would be farmed"!! Believe it, Mr. Schoneman would have no problem farming a crop that geese would not want to eat or even rest in, combine that with no hunting allowed at Unit 1 and he has his own private Idaho where no blood thirsty hunters are "killing his geese".

sdbrewer, I am with you on writing a letter, but I pretty sure mine wont be as nice as yours! I /we have seen firsthand Mr. Schoneman's agenda and its not a good one for hunters!

I hope all you TOFer's pick up the phone, send an email or write to Mrs. Touchstone; give her your suggestions and concerns on this CCP, but also your thoughts on Mr. Schoneman's management ( I use that term loosely) of the Federal Refuge areas!!!!!! :smiley-soapbox:

Cape Diem!!! or dont complain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin
 

ilovesprig

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I have sent a letter (e-mail) to Bill Gaines at COHA (& Rick at Wister). Have not recieved a response as of yet................... CWA will be next......................... :2:
 

Arise

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We all need to get involved w/ this. Especially CWA. Thx for posting Brewer.
 

sdbrewer

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QUOTE (shadowlawnskysthelimit @ Feb 9 2012, 04:47 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=363769
sdbrewer, I am with you on writing a letter, but I pretty sure mine wont be as nice as yours! I /we have seen firsthand Mr. Schoneman's agenda and its not a good one for hunters!

I hope all you TOFer's pick up the phone, send an email or write to Mrs. Touchstone; give her your suggestions and concerns on this CCP, but also your thoughts on Mr. Schoneman's management ( I use that term loosely) of the Federal Refuge areas!!!!!! :smiley-soapbox:

Cape Diem!!! or dont complain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin


Kevin,

You are, of course, free to do whatever you want and communicate however you like BUT (i) I don't think Ms. Touchstone cares about Chris' day-to-day management of the refuge; (ii) I don't think she is in a position to do anything about it anyway; (iii) this particular exercise has nothing to do with the day-to-day management that has occurred in the past, it is intended to lay out the broad framework of what will occur for the next 15 years; and (iv) if you really want to be effective in a context like this, calm, polite and logical tends to be more persuasive and get more attention and consideration than angry and ranting. No offense intended at all. I simply want all of our input to be as effective as possible.

Whit
 

shadowlawnskysthelimit

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Whit, dont get me wrong anything I write will be calm, concise and polite; and not an angry rant. Awhile back I wrote a thread here on TOF regarding SBNWR and Mr. Schoneman's mis-management of such asking TOF members to call or write to the USFWS staff. I sent multiple letters and emails to Cal DFG, and USFWS staff at different levels (bottom to top) with know response from any. I also sent a letter to the President of CWA with no response.

Now I really was not looking for a response from any, but more to light a fire in hopes that someone, somewhere would would see Mr. Schoneman's total disregard/disdain for the hunting community at Wister and his unwillingness to conform to the USFWS Mission Statement.

As far as this excercise is not being about "past" management practices. The way I see it is that a mans past character, morality and reputation is a great litmus test for his future actions.
Dont misunderstand Mr. Schoneman's agenda, he is an anti-hunter through and through. He does not care about what hunters, yourself or I want. His polite invitation to comment(s) is his way of covering up his true intentions.

Whit, I am glad to see someone like you taking time out of his schedule to write to the USFWS regarding the CCP for the next 15 years. For that I commend you, many here talk about there concern or love of Wister & SBNWR but do nothing to reach out to theose who matter about the conditions thereof.

Respectfully, Kevin
 

Huntducks

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USFWS mission statement is real simple > HUNTING IS A PRIORITY IT'S IN THERE MISSION STATEMENT and has been for about the last 8-10 years maybe longer.

Rick can you post this over at the refuge forum you doing it will have more weight with the NoCal guys then one of us SoCal guys, we need a state wide effort on this one because if they can do it here they can do it in NoCal just as easy.
 

ilovesprig

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Just got an e-mail from Bill Gaines (COHA president). He recieved a hard copy of this situation today (Sonny Bono NWR plan).


COHA works on the legal aspects of any document, when it effects hunter opportunities. It's great to know they're are on our side............................ :smiley_10sign:
 

Killer B

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What's wrong with Plan C? From the way I read it, Union would stay the same along with hunting opportunities being opened at Unit 1. Isn't that what we want?
 

Green House

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QUOTE (sitonmyface @ Feb 10 2012, 05:36 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=363817
What's wrong with Plan C? From the way I read it, Union would stay the same along with hunting opportunities being opened at Unit 1. Isn't that what we want?

That's why it's important to voice your opinion. Often these things are decided and public input is to satisfy a requirement for implementation of the plan. You can bet your bottom dollar plan b is the chosen plan. At most shoemann would do plan a, no changes. We have to voice our opinion and desire to have hunting at unit one and the crops managed properly.
 

KID CREOLE

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QUOTE (Band Collector @ Feb 10 2012, 07:41 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=363831
First the Marine Life Protection Act now this....Wow!

Exactly what I was thinking Tim, never trust the cool aid at a free lunch.

The Feds have screwed up the feed in the Unions, they spayed it with weed killer and so on. I will never support the lost of a hunt day especially weds.

I would really like to know what is behind this, I have an idea what it's about but who knows.

Bring in a farmer, plant the Unions with alfalfa and let's stop all this experimenting.
 

Duckfan

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I was going to write this up on the Refuge, but think it might be best if Whit posted this up over there. I know he has access too, and coming from a socal guy who is realy involved may be best.


ALSO...I read this: (page 2)

Expand waterfowl hunting to include wing shooting.

what does that mean...."to include wing shooting"?



Stay involved all!
 

sugar dog

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QUOTE (ilovesprig @ Feb 9 2012, 04:48 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=363770
I have sent a letter (e-mail) to Bill Gaines at COHA (& Rick at Wister). Have not recieved a response as of yet................... CWA will be next......................... :2:

Called Vicky at San Diego USF&W couldn,t beleive she answered super nice. Talked a little about the area, yes she has been down didn,t want to sound like a hater ask about the restoration of water at the south end of the sea they have some established plans to get some serious water back across red hill bay & down above unit 1. Most of all I wanted the main mans name who oversee's region 8 for USF&W ie.southern california so maybe we can shoot him some e mails about our conserns of the area and mr shonemans disreguard for hunter input. REN [email protected]&W.gov. I shot him Q&A today see if I get an answer.
 

Cazador Suerte

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Sent my letter today, supporting option C.

will send around to my group as well......I also notified my contacts at Ducks Unlimited, and Jim Matthews at WON.
 
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