Remarks of Secretary Norton at International Association of

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5 Dec 15:20.

Remarks of Secretary Norton at International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies in Wichita, Kan.

Contact: Interior Department Press Office, 202-208-6416

Thank you. I appreciate your warm welcome. I especially want to
thank Bob McDowell and Max Peterson for inviting me to speak to you.
I had planned to be with you in September before the terrorist
attacks.

Our world has changed dramatically since Sept. 11. Our country is
at war. Our economy has been affected.

Last month, I visited Ground Zero in New York City. No one
watching on television can imagine the sheer magnitude of the
destruction or fully appreciate the heroism of the firefighters,
police and rescue workers.

We suffered the loss of one of our own in the attacks. Rich
Guadagno, a refuge manager for the Fish and Wildlife Service, was on
board the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.

Rich started his career as a temporary biologist with the New
Jersey Fish and Game Department. He joined Fish and Wildlife 17 years
ago. He worked at refuges in Delaware, New Jersey, Oregon and
California. His last assignment was project leader at California's
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I'm sure some of you in this
room knew and worked with Rich.

Rich was a trained law enforcement officer and known for his
courage. As you know, investigators believe that passengers on Rich's
flight overpowered the terrorists to stop their plans to attack the
White House or the Capitol. We will never know exactly what happened
on that airplane, but I am certain that Rich was in the middle of it,
doing his duty to the end.

The aftermath of Sept. 11 reminds us why what all of you do at
state fish and wildlife agencies and what we do at the Interior
Department is so important. Perhaps as no other people on earth,
Americans have a deep and abiding love our land and its wildlife.

We have done more than any nation on earth to conserve them. In
the wake of the attacks, people have found solace and strength in our
parks, refuges and other natural places.

Over the Veteran's Day weekend, the Interior Department joined
with other federal agencies and 30 states to waive entrance fees at
parks, refuges and historic sites. I want to thank so many of you for
supporting the "Unity, Hope and Healing Weekend."

By all reports, Americans across the country flocked to parks and
refuges. As one national park ranger in California put it, "It's nice
to have a place to get yourself grounded with all the crazy stuff
going on."

The atrocity of September 11 also revealed the strength of
America. When faced with a crisis, the American people join forces to
respond.

We are a nation founded on the principal that we can and must work
together. The long lines at blood banks and the millions of dollars
donated to relief agencies bear witness to this.

As we look back over the past century, we find the same is true of
conservation. Dating back to Teddy Roosevelt and the hunters and
anglers who gave birth to the conservation movement, conservation in
America has been a partnership between the American people and their
government.

As someone who worked in state government, I appreciate the vital
role state wildlife agencies have played in this partnership. I
recognize what you bring to the table. You know what is happening in
your states. You have the flexibility and ingenuity to come up with
innovative programs.

I am pleased that Steve Williams has been nominated to be director
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Steve has a long and
distinguished record of conservation in Kansas. After he's confirmed
by the Senate, he'll bring his energy and creativity to the Service.

Anyone who has been around the Interior Department this year knows
that I have made what I call the 4 C's -- consultation, cooperation,
and communication, all in the service of conservation -- the
cornerstone of what we are doing at the Interior Department.

At the heart of the 4 C's is the belief that for conservation to
be successful, we must involve the people who live on, work on, and,
yes, love the land.

Steve already has applied the 4 C's successfully in Kansas. He
implemented the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance, a program involving
hundreds of landowners to preserve tallgrass prairie ecosystems.
Along the same lines, Kansas is home to the Tallgrass Prairie
Preserve, a model partnership to conserve a unique part of our
nation's natural heritage. The Preserve became part of the National
Park system in 1996 thanks to the efforts of Senator Pat Roberts and
former Senator Nancy Kassenbaum.

Steve also has been one of the driving forces acquiring and
restoring the McPherson Valley wetlands complex in central Kansas.

This wetlands partnership involves a variety of organizations such
as Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and the Koch Pipeline Company.

Steve developed the Walk-In Hunting program. It compensates
private landowners from monies generated by hunting license and
equipment purchases when they provide public access on their lands
during hunting season.

Kansas is proving that voluntary partnerships are one of our most
effective conservation tools. Give people the tools to get the job
done, and they will get it done.

Coming from a background as a state fish and wildlife director,
Steve also will provide you a stronger voice in the Fish and Wildlife
Service. Under Steve's leadership, I believe the relationship will
become more coordinated and more productive.

Of course, talking about 4 C's and partnerships without the
funding to back them up would be simply that -- talk. Fortunately,
one of the most positive developments in recent years is the increase
in federal funding to state wildlife agencies.

I commend all of you for your hard work in getting Congress to
recognize the need to provide federal dollars to state conservation
initiatives.

President Bush showed his commitment to partnership with states by
helping to shepherd historic levels of state grants through Congress
for FY 2002.

This includes $144 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund
State Grants to assist states in promoting conservation and
recreation; more than $96 million for the Cooperative Endangered
Species Conservation Fund; $85 million for State Wildlife Grants; and
more than $43 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation
Fund.

Congress also passed the President's proposal for $40 million in
new funding to states for landowner incentive grants and $10 million
for private stewardship grants that go directly to local landowners.
We are not just talking about the 4 C's ? we're working with you to
get funding for them.

I am also pleased that we are working with you on promising new
initiatives, ranging from more comprehensive efforts to conserve
migratory birds to getting ahead of the curve on endangered species.

In particular, it is good to see the Interior Department, states
and a variety of other partners moving forward with efforts to
protect migratory birds through Partners in Flight, the U.S.
Shorebird Conservation Plan and the North American Waterfowl
Management Plan.

On the endangered species front, I commend the International for
working with the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop the idea of
State Conservation Agreements. These agreements will be a new tool in
the endangered species toolbox.

We'll team up with federal agencies, the International, and states
to conserve species that are in decline before they become candidates
for listing.

Endangered species conservation is not simply a federal matter --
it's a state and local issue as well. We all bring something to the
table. Together we can get the job done -- and hopefully with less
conflict and litigation.

I am also pleased we are enhancing our partnership with state
wildlife agencies on international issues. We plan to work more
closely than ever with you on the U.S. species we are proposing to
list under CITES.

As the next fall's meeting in Santiago, Chile, draws near we'll
continue the dialogue begun this week and sit down with you on an
ongoing basis to formulate our species proposals and resolutions.

Law enforcement is another area where we have worked closely with
you and need to work even more closely in the future. We've had a
strong standing partnership over time with state wildlife officers.
In the current crisis, this partnership is more important than ever.

As you may know, some of our law enforcement officers and agents
are temporarily assisting as air marshals. States are helping us
cover all our bases while we are stretched thin by the need to
protect Americans from terrorism. We appreciate you stepping up to
the plate in this difficult time.

Finally, Marshall Jones will be speaking to you in more detail
about the Federal Aid program and other cooperative conservation
efforts involving the States, the International, other cooperators,
and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

I don't want to steal Marshall's thunder, but I do want to let you
know I think the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs are
among the most successful conservation programs in history. I am
fully committed to seeing a continuation of this proud legacy so that
they will be even more effective programs in the future.

Let me close by reiterating the commitment of the Department of
Interior to work closely with you. Starting with President Bush, many
of us in the administration have our roots in state government.

My deputy secretary, Steve Griles, managed a state conservation
program for 10 years.

Craig Manson, our nominee for Assistant Secretary for Fish,
Wildlife and Parks, was general counsel for the California state
parks and recreation department.

Fran Mainella, our National Parks Director, was Florida's very
successful director of recreations and parks.

The list goes on. We know firsthand the pressures you are under,
the challenges you face, and most important, your professionalism and
dedication.

Of course, our leaders also know firsthand about land's amazing
ability to us renew our strength.

President Bush finds solace at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. He
clears brush, fishes in a local lake and walks the land.

Earlier this month, Vice President Cheney briefly left what he
calls his "undisclosed secure location" for a short hunting trip to
the Dakotas. Steve Griles tells me some his fondest memories from
raising his children are of fishing trips out West. Now that his
children are grown, they still go on fishing outings together.

I've also been traveling to many of your states as part of my
duties as Interior Secretary. I look forward to meeting with you
personally and learning about what you are doing.

One image that came out of the September 11 tragedy speaks
directly to America's greatness -- and what each of us do as public
servants. It was President Bush, Governor Pataki and Mayor Guilianni
at Ground Zero surrounded by all the fire fighters and rescue
workers.

Each represented a level of government -- federal, state and
local. Each represented part of the overall response to the terrible
attack. Each played a vital role in guiding America through the
crisis.

We in this room represent the federal and state level of national
resource management. Working hand in hand with those at the local
level, we will chart a course that will use the strengths of each to
bolster the conservation of our fish, wildlife and other natural
resources to benefit the American people.

On my last day in office, I expect that all of us will look back
and see that indeed the whole has been greater than the sum of its
parts. Thank you.
 
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