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Arizona conservation groups push for climate change action

In Arizona, sportsmen and women are witnessing changes to our landscape brought on by our warming climate. What little snowpack we have isn’t lasting through February, longer and dryer summers are leading to more catastrophic wildfires and our flora and fauna are suffering. All of this is having a direct effect on the ecosystems and wildlife we yearn to protect. 

Trout Unlimited has long been advocating for federal legislation on climate change, urging this effort to come from the top down, and in Arizona, we are pushing our members of Congress on this issue.  

Many of Arizona’s conservation groups are working hard to complete on-the-ground restoration projects to help mitigate climate impacts, but we need leadership at the federal level to pass bipartisan climate change legislation. This legislation will help conserve our public lands and waters, which is imperative, as they are a vital resource to our economy and way of life. 

This year I worked to organize a coalition of sporting conservation groups with the common goal to see action at the federal level. Working with Arizona’s eleven members of Congress, this coalition highlighted the message that sportsmen and woman are seeing these drastic changes and that something needs to be done soon.  

The coalition recently met with U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema to discuss legislative options to help Arizona. These ranged from forest restoration, solar incentives, carbon capture research and PLREDA (Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act). The objective of this meeting was for the senator to utilize this coalition as a sounding board and work together to create bipartisan legislation around climate change. More meetings with other members of Congress are planned to encourage action with our support.  

A key member of this coalition is Arizona Wildlife Federation’s (AWF) Advocacy Coordinator Michael Cravens. He made it known that AWF supports common-sense climate change legislation and acknowledges the need for federal legislation to evoke real landscape-level change in Arizona. 

Trout Unlimited, along with the other coalition members, is working to bring differing opinions together all striving toward the common goal. It’s time for Congress to take action and address key causes of climate change as well as methods to mitigate its current impacts.  

Nate Rees is the Arizona coordinator for TU’s Angler Conservation Program.