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Collaborative Efforts Strengthened By Fish & Game Decision

Crapo applauds adoption of Elk Collaborative language

Washington, DC â?? The decision by Idaho Fish & Game Commissioners to adopt language from a collaborative effort to increase elk numbers in Idaho is more ammunition proving such grassroots consensus-building efforts are needed and can succeed. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo wrote Fish & Game Director Steve Huffaker to congratulate him on the efforts related to the Elk Collaborative Project Crapo and the Work Group produced in several work sessions over this past year. Representatives from sportsmenâ??s groups to conservation leaders to federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service have been a part of the project. â??Real progress is being made to solve contentious issues when representatives from entities like the Idaho Fish & Game Department, the Nez Perce Tribe and the U.S. Forest Service are willing to sit down with a collaborative group and then act on the agreements that are reached,â?? Crapo said. â??We have seen this process work from the Clearwater elk situation to the Owyhee Initiative in this year alone. Collaboration works.â?? During itsâ?? meeting in Orofino, the Fish & Game Commission voted to move forward with recommendations to improve elk numbers that the Elk Collaborative Work Group agreed on in August. Those recommendations include the setting of targets for burning and logging that may improve habitat for elk in forested areas. The group also agreed to suggest adjusting calving rates which could affect the number of animals taken during the hunting season. â??These kinds of collaborative efforts are gaining attention, be it from the Red Lodge Clearinghouse, a nationally-known forum on conservation issues, or the meetings weâ??ve held here in Washington on the Owyhee Initiative,â?? Crapo added. â??The word is getting outâ??collaboration and consensus bring lasting agreements that ignite action.â?? A copy of Crapoâ??s letter to Idaho Fish & Game follows. # # # FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at November 18, 2004 Steve Huffaker, DirectorIdaho Department of Fish and Game1075 Park Boulevard Boise, ID 83712 Dear Steve, I write to express my appreciation to you and Idahoâ??s Fish and Game Commissioners for their vision in adopting language from our Elk Collaborative project. I understand the Commission voted unanimously to implement findings of the work group during the meeting held earlier today in Orofino. You know the premium we put on solutions found through a process of collaboration and consensus. Restoring strong numbers of elk in the Clearwater Basin is paramount to sportsmen, recreational users and conservationists alike. Your willingness to follow through with us to implement solutions to these recommendations regarding the elk population is to be applauded. My hope is that our initial success in finding consensus on environmental issues such as the elk situation might make it possible to further engage collaboration on future situations. I stand ready to help and I look forward to working with you, the Commission, the Department, our federal agencies and all citizen groups as we apply these ideas in the Clearwater Basin. Sincerely,Michael D. CrapoUnited States Senator