Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commissioner Dr. Jon Gassett has been appointed to a three-year term on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, an advisory group established in 2010 by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to advise them on wildlife conservation, habitat conservation and hunting.

Gassett, current president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and past president of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA), is the only state fish and wildlife agency head among the 18 council appointments made by Salazar and Vilsack.

The council is an official advisory group established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act that helps promote and preserve America’s wildlife and hunting heritage for future generations.

It provides advice about conservation endeavors that benefit wildlife resources and recreational hunting. It encourages partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, the states, Native American tribes and the federal government.

“During its inaugural term, members of the council provided important recommendations on conserving wildlife habitat and water resources that are so important to America’s hunting and angling heritage, as well as enhancing access to the great outdoors,” said Salazar. “I am confident that today’s appointments will provide a strong voice to the nation’s conservation and sportsmen communities and ensure that the next generation enjoys a thriving wildlife heritage.”

“America’s rural communities and rural economies depend on healthy soil, water and air and America’s hunters and anglers our nation’s first conservationists have long fought to conserve those precious resources,” said Vilsack. “These appointees are uniquely qualified to advise us on the full range of issues addressed by the council while reflecting the true conservation spirit of our nation’s outdoor traditions.”

Gassett also currently serves on the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, which works to promote the industry-federal-state relationship responsible for collecting and disseminating funding for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

He is a member of two federal task forces the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Joint Task Force and the Endangered Species Joint Task Force. He represents the Mississippi Flyway Council on the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, which allocates approximately $40 million annually for wetlands conservation across North America, and is a National Conservation Leadership Institute board member.

Others appointed to serve on the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council for a three-year term include:

  • David Allen (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)
  • Jeffrey Crane (Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation)
  • Robert Fithian (Alaska Professional Hunters Association, Inc.)
  • Thomas Franklin (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership)
  • Winifred Kessler (The Wildlife Society)
  • Robert Manes (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Frederick Maulson (Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission)
  • Tommy Millner (Cabela’s)
  • Robert Model (Boone and Crockett Club)
  • Joanna Prukop (former New Mexico Secretary of Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources)
  • Stephen Sanetti (National Shooting Sports Foundation)
  • Larry Schweiger (National Wildlife Federation)
  • Christine Thomas (College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin)
  • George Thornton (National Wild Turkey Federation)
  • John Tomke (Ducks Unlimited)
  • Howard Vincent (Pheasants Forever)
  • Steve Williams (Wildlife Management Institute)

The six federal agencies playing a key role in supporting and maintaining America’s outdoors heritage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, will also appoint organizational members to the council.

Image courtesy Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife

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