WASHINGTON, D.C. — This afternoon, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar held an online chat to discuss the U.S. Department of the Interior’s activities in support of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Noreen Clough was one of 363 individuals from organizations all over the country who participated in the online forum.
“I was amazed at the degree of participation,” said Clough. It was a 30-minute chat, and Clough estimated that 25 to 30 questions were asked and answered during this time. “I was also impressed with the quality of Secretary Salazar’s responses. They were on target and showed that the department clearly understands its role in getting the American public involved in the outdoors and in conservation.”
President Obama’s AGO Initiative is a nonpartisan effort that turns to communities for local, grass-roots conservation projects. It has launched a dialogue about conservation in America, and this online chat is just one example.
Questions to the Secretary regarding the department’s policies and activities in land and water resource conservation spanned several subjects, from the conservation of rivers, protection of farm and ranch lands, development of alternative energy sources and expansion of the National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System.
“B.A.S.S. Conservation has been a supporter of the AGO Initiative because it is important to us as anglers,” said Clough. “It is based on the tenet that lasting conservation solutions start with the American people — that nobody knows which places are most important to American communities better than the people who live, work and recreate in them. And not many people spend more time recreating and working to conserve and protect places to fish than anglers do.”
Part of the AGO Initiative is that June is now being celebrated as Great Outdoors Month. According to the proclamation, it is a time to “re-dedicate ourselves to experiencing and protecting this nation’s unique landscapes and treasured sites. ... For generations, America’s great outdoors have ignited our imaginations, bolstered our economy and fueled our national spirit of adventure and independence.”