Mr. Eno Goes to WashingtonBy: Amos S. Eno
Posted on:06/12/2014 Updated:01/09/2018
As LandCAN President, I often travel to Washington, D.C. to talk about current items such as sage grouse and Lesser Prairie Chicken conservation. Here's a recap of the four busy days I spent there last week.
Traveling from our office in Maine to Washington, D.C. is a regular occurrence for me. Whether it be for fundraising, policy meetings, or just keeping in touch with friends and LandCAN supporters, and often a little of all three, my trips to DC are always action packed. Here’s a look at last week’s trip to the nation’s capitol.
Tuesday, June 3:
I arrived in DC around 3 pm. That evening, I had dinner with long-time friends Pam McClelland and Stuart Taylor. PK, as I affectionately call her, I first met while working on my Masters in Natural Resources from Cornell University. She is a former riparian specialist with whom I have worked for decades, and she now serves as Secretary of the LandCAN Board of Directors.
Wednesday, June 4:
The day started with a Department of the Interior meeting with Jim Lyons, counsel to the Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management, and Steve Small, division chief of fish and wildlife conservation for the Bureau of Lands Management (BLM). We talked in earnest about LandCAN’s work in helping the BLM and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with their sage grouse and sagebrush conservation efforts. Several months ago, we created the Habitat Conservation Assistance Network (HabitatCAN) to help landowners sustainably manage species habitat for both listed and proposed endangered species.
On HabitatCAN we first featured the Lesser Prairie Chicken, which has since received threatened status under the Endangered Species Act as a declining species that needs habitat conservation and restoration on private lands for population recovery. The page provides landowners with all of the information on, and access to, professional resources which can help them successfully improve habitat on their lands. We are now creating a page (seen at right) to achieve the same objectives for the sage grouse, which inhabits eleven western states from California to North Dakota.
On my way to the meeting with Lyons and Small, I popped in on Hannibal Bolton, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Assistant Director for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program in DC. Some of the most effective bureaucratic and congressional meetings are pop-ins.
Lunch was spent with John Freshman, Senior Director of the lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig LLP and former staff assistant to Maine’s own Senator Edmund Muskie. He is a specialist in water policy, which is extremely important to conservation in the western US. He is in the midst of developing a strategy to enhance the nation’s water and sewer infrastructure.
After lunch, I drove to Virginia to meet Jim Rich to solicit his support for LandCAN’s development of a conservation center for Virginia. Rich is a former executive of Shell Oil and was last year removed from Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board after being the Board’s lone dissenter to construction of the Western Bypass in Albemarle County, a project that is widely regarded, even privately by staff of the Virginia Department of Transportation, as likely to be ineffective, destructive, and a gross waste of taxpayer money (more on that here).
Thursday, June 5:
In the morning, I visited LandCAN board member Magalen Bryant for a multi-faceted discussion. We spoke about the second annual Tara Talks, an environment and conservation conference Bryant hosts in Eagle Lake, Mississippi which I spoke at last year, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s 30th anniversary on September 27th, and meeting with Jackie Mars later this summer.
I had lunch with the former Ambassador to Paraguay Tim Towell, who is an old friend and traveling companion of Maggie Bryant. We talked about conservation efforts in Paraguay and our building the Virginia Conservation Center, which is in honor of Maggie’s decades of support for the conservation of private lands in Virginia.
Chandler Van Voorhis, a cofounder of GreenTrees whom I profiled on this blog last spring, recommended that I meet Scott Robertson of FarmLink, LLC, a company that hosts data on 20 million acres of farmland and corresponding weather data. They are developing a product, called TrueHarvest, that uses big data to show farmers their land’s full range of performance potential, down to a 150 square foot area they call a micro-field. He is unfamiliar with conservation work, but their data enables farmers to use their land more effectively based on the soil and weather conditions, which leads to more sustainable farming practices, and he is interested in using our Private Landowner Network to reach more farmers. I am planning a follow-up meeting with him for next month.
I also met with Joe Starinchak per Van Voorhis’ suggestion. He is the Outreach Coordinator at USFWS’s DC office, who describes himself as “not your typical government guy.” He is developing three, perhaps unlikely, cross-sector relationships with the recreational equipment industry, the pet and aquarium industry and the pharmaceutical industry, which will empower citizens to become part of the solution to complex environmental issues, such as aquatic invasive species. I am also planning a follow-up with him in July.
Thursday evening Maggie hosted a dinner, which was originally _ on an event for me to pitch the Virginia Conservation Center, but most of the people on the guest list were either away of tied up in their children’s school events so we have postponed my presentation until late October or early November. I reconnected with Edie and Bruce Smart. Bruce is a life-long conservationist whom I worked with while he was the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Reagan Administration and had not seen since. The Smarts life near Maggie, but also come to Tenants Harbor, Maine, where I hope to see them again this summer.
Another interesting guest of Maggie’s was Cate Magennis Wyatt, President of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership (JTHG), which is a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of American heritage from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. JTHG is currently planting trees, some 640,000, representing the soldiers who died during the American Civil War.
Friday, June 6:
On my final day in DC, I met in the morning with Jim Hubbard, Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to discuss USFS and NRCS funding for our Sage Grouse project.
I also had lunch with LandCAN board member Mark Rey before heading to the airport for my flight back to Maine.
There you have it; a review of my action-packed four days in Washington, D.C.
re: Mr. Eno Goes to WashingtonBy: russel friedman on: 06/25/2014
you are crazy but so dedicated well done.
re: Mr. Eno Goes to Washington
By: Norma Hill on: 06/25/2014
Great write up Amo.
re: Mr. Eno Goes to Washington
By: Neil Oldridge on: 06/25/2014
Great to talk with you today Amos. You are a busy guy. Hope to see you out this way some time this year.
re: Mr. Eno Goes to Washington
By: John D. Gavitt on: 06/25/2014
Hi Amos - sounds like a busy agenda! When you have an opportunity, I would very much like you to visit my property in Hampshire County, WV. (www.northriverretreat.com). I have 437 acres and am actively managing it for wildlife and opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, etc by guests. I'm only a couple hours from D.C., so it would not be a long trip for you. I could even meet you in Winchester and we'd drive out together.
I'm a retired special agent with USFWS (since 2000) and truly enjoying my retirement job. Just wish I had the same energy I used to have!
Keep up the good work!