Ducks Unlimited’s Western Region Director of Public Policy Gary Link recently sat down with the DUWestBlog to give a quick update on what’s going on with DU’s legislative efforts around the western region.
What are some of the notable projects you’ve been working on the last few months?
“One of my biggest pushes right now within the Western Region states is working on keeping wildlife areas open so that our conservation team of biologists and engineers can keep working and keep our projects turning dirt. I’m also focused on preserving the ability of individuals to get out and access the outdoor areas in a safe and responsible manner during the current pandemic. Part of this includes making sure Pittman-Robertson dollars continue to flow to state fish and wildlife agencies. In California we’re working heavily on figuring out a stimulus package for the state that includes providing for natural resources infrastructure—exactly what DU does.
In Utah we recently helped secure the ability for the citizens of Utah to vote on whether or not hunting should be a constitutional right for their state. And we are also very close to obtaining a large amount of water rights for conservation efforts in the Great Salt Lake.
And then finally at the Federal level, the policy team and volunteers are busting their butts to obtain federal stimulus money to help Ducks Unlimited operate as a non-profit. It’s a busy time.”
How has the current Covid 19 pandemic affected DU’s legislative efforts to conserve wetlands across the west?
“The policy team works on wetlands habitat conservation via regulation and legislation. And our best means of achieving this is through face-to-face meetings. So it’s created a disjointed activity with legislators, governors, and members of Congress because we’re not meeting face-to-face to build or maintain those relationships. But we’re adapting and still getting it done.”
What are some of the first things you want to get to work on when statehouses open back up?
“I want to dig down and figure out ways we can solve bans of online raffles to help make Ducks Unlimited’s work more efficient and effective should we ever experience another pandemic like this one. These raffles plays a huge role in providing funds so that we can do our work and we want to solve the issues.”