In regards to Commissioner Porter leaving Fish and Wildlife Department: 

The professional organization that represents fish and wildlife departments nationwide, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, calls for a transformation to meet the changing times. However, those who head up the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department seem stuck in the past.

Vermont surveys conducted by the Center for Rural Studies show Vermonters don't support many of FWD's core positions (think recreational trapping). In a 2018 survey conducted by Colorado State University, FWD staff indicated management isn't doing enough to address change. The dramatic drops in hunting and trapping license sales are evidence the times are changing in very significant ways. The FWD must evolve in order to remain relevant and to attract new sources of income.

This is not the time for a commissioner to simply maintain the status quo. This is a time for a new commissioner to be responsive to the 1,000 Vermont species that have been identified as species of greatest conservation need. A new commissioner must recognize the threats of climate change and focus resources to address the highest priorities and not maintain FWD's direction on cruise control. A new commissioner must be able to transform the FWD to address today's challenges: that includes reaching across the aisle and working with all Vermonters, not just hunters and trappers. I urge Governor Scott to appoint a new commissioner who is capable of tackling today's and tomorrow's issues. All Vermonters deserve to be represented. Our wildlife cannot wait.

Lark Shields


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