March 3, 2023 | By:

Episode 105: Changing The Future Of Wildlife Management On Public Lands


Rick Steiner, Alaskan Conservation Biologist and Founder of Oasis Earth.


Rick Steiner is a conservation biologist in Anchorage, Alaska, and founder of Oasis Earth. He has been involved in the global conservation movement for over 40 years. From 1980-2010 he was a marine conservation professor with the University of Alaska, stationed in the Arctic, Prince William Sound, and Anchorage, specializing in marine conservation, and worked on environmental effects of offshore oil, climate change, fisheries, marine mammals, shipping safety, habitat conservation, and conservation policy. After the university and the U.S. government pressured him to restrain from raising concerns about the risks and impacts of offshore oil development in Alaska, he resigned his tenured professorship in protest.

Rick has authored over one hundred publications; written commentaries for many national and international media outlets including USA Today, LA Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Hill, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, and Huffington Post; and worked around the world with governments, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and many Indigenous People’s and non-governmental organizations in diverse regions including Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Pakistan, China, the Middle East, the South Pacific, Australia, the Arctic, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and El Salvador.

He has received several conservation awards, and The Guardian called him “one of the world’s leading marine conservation scientists,” and “one of the most respected and outspoken academics on the oil industry’s environmental record.” He serves on the Board of Directors of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and the Board of Advisors of The Ocean Foundation. He has delivered Oasis Earth: Planet in Peril as a public presentation for over 30 years, in many venues around the world, and authored the book Oasis Earth: Planet in Peril, released in 2020.

  • Mismanagement of non-game species on public lands
  • Global and national biodiversity crisis
  • How you can change the future of wildlife management on public lands in the U.S.
Extra Credit (Take Action!)

Here are specific asks re: Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), that we need to insert into the bill when it comes back up. (And these should also apply to annual Pittman-Robertson (PR) federal funding to state wildlife agencies)

  1. Clearly specify that, for state wildlife management agencies to receive RAWA or PR funds, they must satisfy federal sustainable ecosystem management principles, sustaining all components of a naturally balanced ecosystem, and these principles must be clearly elucidated in the act;
  2. Clearly specify that each state plan must address climate change impacts on wildlife, both present and foreseen, and how the state will adjust its wildlife management accordingly;
  3. Prohibit use of any of these federal funds from being used, either directly or indirectly, state predator control programs;
  4. Require a public comment period for all annual plans submitted by state’s for use of these federal funds;
  5. Require an independent scientific assessment of all state plans, programs, and experiences periodically by the National Academies of Sciences;
  6. Explicitly require the Secretary to review each state plan with regard to public and science comments, and require the Secretary to find state’s ineligible to receive these RAWA (or PR) funds if they are out of compliance with the federal ecosystem management standards.

June 7, 2023 Update: 

A very short update on our proposed rule at Dept. of Interior, that would require greater federal oversight and public engagement with how states use their annual federal wildlife funds – e.g. Pittman-Robertson, and potentially Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) funds:

We have remained in continual contact with the USFWS and DOI Secretary’s office on our 2021 rulemaking petition, and about 6 months ago, DOI told us they had a response in preparation, and would send it shortly. Yet nothing has been received from them. They are obviously dragging their heels on this, as they consider this a political problem for them. After sufficient time has elapsed (perhaps coming soon?) we can sue the agency for non-response. I believe PEER is considering just that.

In the meantime, RAWA has been re-introduced into congress, and it would provide another $1 billion or so / year in federal funds to state wildlife management, bringing the total federal funds transferred to state wildlife agencies to around $2 billion / year…..yet still without adequate federal scientific oversight, or any legitimate public comment process. People should contact their senators and congressional reps. requesting that RAWA be amended to accomplish what our rulemaking proposes for Pittman-Robertson; and contact their USFWS offices to request that the agency respond favorably to the 2021 rulemaking petition.

We have requested a meeting with Secretary Haaland on this, no response. And we have contacts with Sen. Cory Booker on this, and their office is in touch with the Secretary’s office on this as well.

As RAWA will be making the rounds in congress this summer, this is THE time for we-the-people to push for greater federal oversight of federal funds transferred to states, both Pittman-Robertson and RAWA funds, including scientific and ethical integrity of state use of these federal funds.

Thanks for the interest!

Rick Steiner

Spread Rewilding Around the Globe!
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11 months ago

such excellent information!! thank you.

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