In mid-March, the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) conducted our annual Hill Visit Fly-In to Washington, DC with a stellar team of Management Board members, key partners, and staff. All were excited to participate in these important meetings once again in-person and a jam-packed week of dynamic conversations ensued producing one of our most-engaging visits to date! Here’s a quick overview of the many incredible conversations that took place.
The non-federal members of the IWJV Hill Visit Team met with 15 key congressional offices as well as staff from the House and Senate Agriculture, House Natural Resources, and Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committees, and the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. This is a testament to the powerful relationships built by the IWJV’s Government Relations Committee with members of Congress over the years!
These meetings aimed to continue building strong relationships to foster bipartisan solutions for working lands conservation in the Intermountain West. They also provided space to discuss how the IWJV’s approach to conservation through partnerships can help ensure federal funding is benefiting priority habitats and western communities in meaningful ways. We focused conversations on our work on sagebrush conservation, water (emphasizing flood-irrigated wet meadows and natural storage), and western forest issues. The team shared about IWJV’s model of field delivery capacity, science-to-implementation, communications, and partnership development.
This focus connected well with those discussing how funding from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) represents an unprecedented opportunity to support community-led, landscape-scale, on-the-ground conservation delivery. The groundwork laid by all the previous IWJV Hill Visits was apparent in how we were able to get into the details of the role IWJV can play in supporting agencies’ application of BIL and IRA funds.
The Hill Visit Team also conducted valuable meetings with leadership of the Department of Interior (Associate Deputy Secretary Sarah Greenberger and Water & Science Assistant Secretary Tanya Trujillo), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Director Martha Williams), Bureau of Land Management (Director Tracy Stone-Manning), Department of Agriculture (Farm Production & Conservation Under Secretary Robert Bonnie), Natural Resources Conservation Service (Chief Terry Cosby), and U.S. Forest Service (Biological & Physical Resources Director Rob Harper), as well as staff from their offices along with those from the White House Council on Environmental Quality. This visit also aligned with the Association of Joint Venture Management Boards (AJVMB) Annual Meeting. AJVMB’s effort was supported by a Core Team of Joint Venture Management Board members and several Joint Venture Coordinators.
The success of the 2023 Hill Visits was a function of an incredible effort by every single member of the IWJV and AJVMB teams that contributed time, energy, relationships, and connections to the endeavor. We want to thank all involved and congratulations on such a successful week! The IWJV intends to build on the momentum from these visits and carry relationships and engagement forward throughout the year utilizing our partners and forums that include representation with congressional and high-level decision makers.
Learn more about IWJV’s 2023 priorities and associated communications products here.