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Interior Secretary issues order to improve big game conservation - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Interior Secretary issues order to improve big game conservation

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Elk stands in field at National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming. (AP Photo) Elk stands in field at National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming. (AP Photo)
SALT LAKE CITY -

During a visit to the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo this past week in Utah, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a secretarial order to improve conservation and coordination of big game migration and winter range corridors in 11 western states.

During the Expo, Zinke spoke to the importance of preserving habitat and boosting coordination among states so that "our kids and our kids' kids" can enjoy the outdoors and North American big game as those who came before them have. 

"Sportsmen are the best conservationists," he said.

According to the Interior Department, Secretarial Order No. 3362 is designed to improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer. The order specifically targets Colorado, California, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

With the order, $1.2 billion of revenue from sportsmen-related equipment sales will be distributed among the states. The money will go towards a migration corridor initiative put in place last year to establish buffers to protect wildlife.

Zinke emphasized that the order will boost collaboration among private land owners, federal agencies, and states.

The plan received praise from multiple organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation.

"We look forward to working with the Department of the Interior to help bring together private land owners, public land managers, sportsmen and other conservation groups to implement win-win solutions for wildlife, from elk, mule deer, and pronghorn to bighorn sheep and bears," said Collin O'Mara, the federation's president and CEO.

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