Fwd: Teaming With Wildlife
Erik Mayer (PDris1995@AOL.COM)
Wed, 1 Oct 1997 00:21:08 -0400
I thought I would toss this out for everybody to chew on. Good idea or
Patrick Driscoll Time flies like the wind but fruit flies like bannanas.
Alamo Area Council San Antonio, Tx
Subj: Fwd: Teaming With Wildlife
Date: 97-09-17 16:14:54 EDT
From: clifford.shackelford@TPWD.STATE.TX.US (Clifford E. Shackelford)
Sender: TEXBIRDS@LIST.AUDUBON.ORG (Audubon birding discussion list for Texas)
Date: 97-09-17 16:10:52 EDT
**I realize this is lengthy, but YOU BETTER KNOW ABOUT THIS! Please
take the time to read it...carefully...the birds will benefit if this
passes; more bird-related jobs; more bird habitat; more birds**
I wanted to make sure that folks were aware of a national proposal
that could greatly benefit bird conservation and birdwatching in the
U.S., especially Texas. Teaming With Wildlife (hereafter "TEAMING")
is a proposed excise tax ("user-fee", if you will) that will add less
than 5% to the price of sporting goods. This includes many
birding-related equipment: binoculars, film, tents, bird
seed/feeders, canoes, sleeping bags, sport utility vehicles, etc.,
etc. Annually, this will raise $350 million nationally (over $17
million for Texas alone) which will go back to each state's wildlife
agency. The money that comes to Texas will support nongame
bird-related efforts as well as numerous other nongame efforts (like
lizards, butterflies, etc!). This money will be used for various
projects that will benefit birds AND birders.
For more information on TEAMING, visit the web site:
While the list of excise tax items seems large, the actual impact to
users would be fairly small. For example, a $100 tent, that
wholesales for $50, would include a user fee of $2.50. The amount of
the user fee will be based on a percentage of the manufacturer's price
of the product, ranging from a low of 0.25% to a maximum of 5%.
There are a number of companies that many of us recognize who are
supporting this proposal, including Swarovski Optic, Zeiss, American
Agco (bird seed), Petco, etc. There are over 2,000 other supporters
nationally (obviously too many for me to list).
The point of the legislation is that over 160 million Americans enjoy
the outdoors in activities including backpacking, hiking, camping,
canoeing, photography, mountain biking, birding and backyard wildlife
viewing. Through TEAMING, these users would be able to help finance
and have a bigger voice in conservation efforts that would benefit the
animals and wild places we are all interested in. The projected $350
million in annual revenue would enable states to address declines of
such wildlife as songbirds, wading birds, reptiles and amphibians, and
respond to escalating public demand for trails and other recreation
opportunities on state lands.
Hunters already pay a similar tax on hunting equipment, not to mention
paying for a lot of wildlife conservation through hunting licenses and
hunting stamps. That money goes back into the field thus benefiting
those game species. Many of our wetlands, for example, are created or
maintained thanks to these moneys which benefit ducks, but shorebirds,
wading birds, marsh-inhabiting birds, etc. certainly tag along.
**Birders need to pay to support their passion, just as the hunters
A coalition of conservation groups, including the International Assoc.
of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Wildlife Federation, National
Audubon Society and The Wildlife Society hope to introduce TEAMING
legislation this month. The plan is to get it introduced prior to
Congressional Recess this October, have coalitions heavily lobby
Congress during the recess (October and November), as well as see what
opposition occurs. Then we have January-October 1998 to try and get
The timing is good, the federal budget has passed and we have about a
year before Congress becomes pre-occupied with Nov. 98 elections. If
TEAMING doesn't succeed, then the coalition will get it back on the
table shortly after the Nov. 98 elections.
There has never been a conservation initiative that has had such early
support. A broad coalition of outdoor enthusiasts is working to
expand on this proven approach, to address the broader challenges of
today. A coalition of over 2,000 conservation organizations and
businesses has created this proposal. This coalition includes over
375 outdoor businesses as well as the nation's most prominent
conservation and outdoor groups.
There is still major opposition from several recreation equipment
groups and manufacturers. The question is, will Congress listen to
trade associations for the users. We probably have 80% support among
most user groups. But there is even some limited opposition from a
few conservationists and wildlife professionals: some who are nervous
hook-and-bullet types, some who are anti-tax, but mostly from folks
who are so strongly "environmental" that they don't understand or
don't support wildlife agencies.
Interestingly, the National Wild Turkey Federation is one of our
strongest and most active coalition members. They realize that: 1)
TEAMING benefits all wildlife and hunters support this, and 2) TEAMING
will also benefit hunters (just like birders benefit from "duck money"
at Anahuac NWR, Laguna Atascosa NWR, etc.).
What can you do to help? Ask your supplier of outdoor equipment if
they support TEAMING and only make purchases from those that do
support it. Coleman and REI, to name a few, were early opponents of
TEAMING. REI has since made the sly move into "neutral status."
Support those companies that support birds!
State Coordinator-Texas Partners In Flight (Austin)
Nongame and Program Leader-Texas Parks and Wildlife (Austin)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City