Interior Department Recognizes the Benefits of Man-Made Water Developments  

January 3, 2008

Washington, D.C. – In a victory for wildlife management, Safari Club International, the National Rifle Association, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and several other wildlife and conservation groups received acknowledgement from the Department of the Interior that artificial water developments may be used to enhance wildlife conservation and management on National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service administered lands.

A letter signed by the Directors of the three Interior agencies stated that “after an examination of existing DOI, BLM, FWS, and NPS policies, we find that man-made water developments are not precluded where they are deemed to be necessary.”

SCI has long been a leader in the effort to elicit a consistent federal agency approach to artificial water developments. In the past, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management have often denied the benefits of guzzlers, drinkers, wells and other similar man-made devices on federal lands. SCI has participated in litigation to defend the use and retention of these devices in the Mojave National Preserve and is currently defending a lawsuit in federal court in Arizona challenging the FWS’s restoration of artificial water sources necessary for bighorn sheep conservation.

In addition to recognizing the legality of these critical water sources, the Directors of the three agencies offered an invitation to state fish and game management agencies to work with the NPS, BLM and the FWS to integrate these water sources into planning for federally administered lands.

SCI President Dennis Anderson recognized this agency-wide action as a long sought after victory. “Since 2003, SCI has pushed the Department of the Interior to acknowledge the benefits of water developments. These agencies have often denied the value of these structures. This letter marks a significant milestone for those who truly understand wildlife conservation and management. We applaud the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service, encourage them to work with state wildlife management agencies and expect that SCI will continue to play a role in demonstrating and defending the importance of these structures.”

Anna Seidman
Chief Litigation Counsel
(202) 543-8733


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