Aug 10, 2018

Hunters and conservationists represent at the Capitol

Participants in California Waterfowl's Lobby Day on Aug. 8 included, from left to right, CWA member Maura Hennelly, CWA Director of Development Chelsea Molina, CWA board member Dan Sozzi, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), CWA VP of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy Mark Hennelly, CWA member Nathan Hora and Pheasants Forever Regional Representative Dan Connelly./PHOTO BY ERIK BERGREN

About a dozen California Waterfowl volunteers and staff attended over 20 meetings with state legislators, their staffs and the governor’s office on Wednesday to put a face on hunting and waterfowl conservation in California.

CWA representatives shared facts about the public benefits of hunting, including funding for wetland conservation efforts, economic value for rural communities and use as a wildlife management tool, incentive for wetland conservation efforts. CWA volunteers also shared their personal experiences with hunting and conservation work, such as CWA’s California Wood Duck Program.

L-R: CWA Life Member Bart Weitzenberg; CWA Director of Development Chelsea Molina; Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa); CWA President John Carlson, Jr.; CWA Life Member Zachary Carlson; CWA Director of Water Law and Policy Jeff Volberg; CWA member Wyatt Knippen and CWA Life Member Deke Dormer (whose efforts to rescue duck eggs one at a time can be seen here).

There was also considerable discussion about gun control bills, a measure to prohibit the possession of African animal parts, and CWA-sponsored legislation to create a nest cover program and an annual combination hunting and fishing license. (Learn more about these bills and see CWA's position on them here.)

“CWA’s Lobby Day allows CWA members the opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with decision-makers at the state Capitol on issues of importance to waterfowlers, and provide personal testimonies as to why hunting is important to them and their families,” said Mark Hennelly, vice president of Legislative Affairs and Public Policy. “We in the waterfowl community have a great story to tell about the value of hunting, and Lobby Day allows us to convey that message in a meaningful way.”

While hunters in California can feel it's always an uphill battle at the Capitol, California Waterfowl has been successful in fighting some of the worst pieces of legislation, like AB 3199 (Holden, D-Pasadena), which would have limited organizations like California Waterfowl to no more than three events per year where guns are offered as raffle prizes, taking a huge bite out of conservation fundraising efforts.

The voices of our members can make a big difference. And while Lobby Day is over, sportsmen and women in California can still participate in our efforts by signing up for action alerts here. Our alerts make it easy for you to contact your representatives at exactly the time our voices need to be heard loud and clear.

Clockwise, starting in the upper left: Katherine Moore, consultant for Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee; CWA Director of Water Law and Policy Jeff Volberg; CWA Life Member Deke Dormer; CWA member Wyatt Knippen; CWA Life Member Bart Weitzenberg; CWA Life Member Zachary Carlson and CWA Director of Development Chelsea Molina./PHOTO BY ERIK BERGREN