New Conservation Policies Adopted at MUCC Annual ConventionJune 24th, 2013
Michigan United Conservation Clubs held its Annual Convention this weekend, where delegates for affiliate clubs and individual members across the state gathered to decide MUCC policy, elect officers and honor leaders.
MUCC is a true grassroots organization and our policy-setting process reflects that. Our members decide our policies through resolutions, and the staff’s job is to implement those policies. Policy resolutions can be introduced by any member, which are debated at district meetings, at MUCC’s approximately 250 affiliate clubs, and at regional meetings. MUCC and DNR staff then offer objective comments about how a proposed policy might be implemented and what potential challenges or benefits would result.
This year’s convention was held at the DNR’s Ralph A. MacMullen (RAM) Center on Higgins Lake, where the northern pine setting provided a perfect backdrop for the vigorous policy debates among delegates, which resembles a session of the Legislature, albeit with an important distinction. The debates center purely on the issue at hand and how it will affect our natural resources and outdoor heritage. There is no horse-trading for a vote on some unrelated issue like road funding or health care; it’s all about conservation and the out-of-doors.
This year delegates adopted 10 new policy resolutions (click to download the full text of the 2013 Policy Resolutions-as passed), most of which required a two-thirds majority to pass. They direct MUCC to work toward creating a Fish and Wildlife Habitat Trust Fund to ensure that oil and gas royalties continue to fund conservation after the State Parks Endowment Fund reaches its cap; to allow large bore air rifles in the southern shotgun zone; to reduce phosphorus runoff in watersheds draining to Lake Erie; to support long-term state investment in Belle Isle; to increase fishing license fees to ensure funding for fisheries habitat, hatcheries and stocking; to protect the rights to keep and bear arms; to educate the public about the connection between Second Amendment rights and conservation funding in Michigan; to work with home-rule cities to allow bowfishing within city limits; to allow #3 and #4 buckshot for nighttime predator hunting; and to specially recognize the efforts of legislators to pass Senate Bills 288 and 289, which allow the Natural Resources Commission to name game species and to give Michigan citizens the right to hunt and fish.
These resolutions are marching orders to MUCC staff, and we work to implement them. They originate from the hunters, anglers and trappers of the state, and have been researched, dissected, discussed, debated and voted upon by representatives of conservation clubs, rod and gun clubs, sportsmen’s associations, fishing groups, hunting groups, trapping groups and individuals from every corner of the state. When Resource Policy Manager Amy Trotter speaks in front of the Natural Resources Commission or Legislative Affairs Manager Kent Wood speaks in a legislative committee meeting, they are not giving their own personal opinions: they are communicating the results of this extensive process.
In addition to deciding MUCC policy, the Annual Convention allows us a chance to honor individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to the cause of conservation in Michigan. Headlining this year’s awards ceremony was the induction of Bob Garner into the Conservation Hall of Fame. This is an extraordinary honor that is not given lightly nor awarded every year. As a legislative aide instrumental in the formation of the Natural Resources Trust Fund, longtime host of Michigan Out-of-Doors TV, Natural Resources Commissioner and a member of the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, Garner’s contributions to conservation are matched only by his positive personality.
Wildlife Conservationist of the Year awards were given to members of the DNR’s “Wolf Pack” – wildlife biologists Dr. Dean Beyer, Brian Roell and Adam Bump – for their exemplary work on instituting a regulated wolf season. Louis Colgrove, a member of the Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club and retired forest firefighter, was the Fisheries Conservationist of the Year for his efforts to introduce kids to fishing and improve fish habitat.
Five groups received the Conservation Organization of the Year award for their financial and grassroots contributions to the effort to pass Senate Bills 288 and 289. The Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, U.P. Bear Houndsmen and the Michigan chapters of Safari Club International were recognized for their commitment to upholding the principles of 1996’s Proposal G.
The MUCC Annual Convention is a celebration of conservation in Michigan, honoring its past, celebrating its present and planning its future. Thank you to everyone who participated in this important process.