AFFILIATE OF THE WEEK: Michigan United Conservation Clubs
In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and their commitment to wildlife.
WHO WE ARE
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is the largest conservation organization in Michigan, representing approximately 50,000 hunters, anglers, trappers and conservationists including 250 affiliated local conservation clubs. MUCC was founded in 1937 by sportsmen’s clubs to be a statewide voice for conservation. Their mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.
WHAT WE DO
Michigan United Conservation Clubs is a statewide watchdog for conservation that protects the rights to hunt, fish, and trap; advocates for policies which conserve our natural resources and our sustained ability to utilize them; and educates the public and policy makers about conservation, while physically improving wildlife habitat through a field program encouraging volunteerism and cooperation.
Using a robust grassroots policy-setting process, MUCC advocates for laws and regulations which advance the conservation policies set by members, similar to NWF’s process. In addition to legislative work in advising policy-makers and coordinating the conservation community’s interactions with legislators and the Department of Natural Resources, MUCC also has a number of initiatives to directly engage constituents, including publishing Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine and operating the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp, both since 1947. Its On the Ground program organizes wildlife volunteer projects benefiting species like deer, bear, elk, grouse and small game on public land. MUCC also spearheads initiatives within Michigan’s conservation community and serves on advisory panels related to hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation of natural resources.
Some of their historical accomplishments include protecting the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park by advocating for its acquisition and designation, initiating and passing Michigan’s bottle bill return law, passing the bill creating the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund —which uses oil and gas revenues to fund the purchase of public recreation land and protects the fund in the Michigan Constitution — and passing 1996’s Proposal G and 2014’s Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to ensure that fish and wildlife decisions are made using sound science.
MAKING A NATIONAL IMPACT
MUCC has recently been spearheading multiple issues in Michigan with national importance: defending public lands, protecting Great Lakes fisheries from commercial aquaculture, and delisting wolves in the Great Lakes.
With over 4.4 million acres of state land and almost 2.5 million acres of federal land, Michigan is blessed with ample public lands for its citizens. But the state faces constant political attacks from legislators trying to force the sale of these public lands, preventing their acquisition and interfering with their management. MUCC advocates for the adoption of a state land management plan, developed in part with other organizations and agencies, and works to defeat legislation that would allow private interests to force the sale of public land.
Additionally, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is working to protect Great Lakes fisheries from commercial net-pen aquaculture, which pose the risks of disease, escapement and effluent pollution to fisheries where they’re sited. MUCC has worked with state legislators to introduce legislation banning commercial net-pen aquaculture in Michigan-controlled waters of the Great Lakes and to oppose legislation which would specifically allow it. They have also sponsored a resolution adopted by the National Wildlife Federation against commercial net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes.
Additionally, MUCC has been fighting a running battle with radical anti-hunting animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States over management of recovered wolf populations in the Great Lakes. After passing the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act in 2014, which required decisions about game and fish species to be made on the basis of sound science, MUCC also joined in an appeal of a lone federal judge’s ruling to put recovered wolf populations in the western Great Lakes back on the endangered species list, despite their population tripling established recovery goals in Michigan which they’ve exceeded for over a decade.
Support MUCC’s conservation efforts by signing up for a wildlife habitat volunteer project at www.mucc.org/ontheground.