July 7, 2014

Bush School Research Institute Continues Bush ’41 Conservation Legacy

Bush conservation

Leading conservationists headed by Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris gathered to honor President George H.W. Bush for his lifetime commitment to conservation. Pictured are Bush (front row) and (back row, left to right) Morris; Matt Connolly, president of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust; George Dunklin, Jr., president of Ducks Unlimited; and Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association (photo credit: Bass Pro Shops).

The Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy (ISTPP) at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, is helping to extend President George H.W. Bush’s well-deserved reputation as a staunch conservationist and supporter of many important conservation and wildlife protection activities through its program of research, publication and public service efforts related to natural resources and the environment.

During his presidency, Bush established 56 wildlife refuges, set aside more than three million acres of public land, and set a national policy of “no net loss” of wetlands.  The North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 established the President George H. W. Bush Conservation Fund, which supports conservation projects that are important nationally and that can produce significant benefits for fish, wildlife, and their habitats.

“We at ISTPP are proud to carry on the president’s conservation legacy through our research,” said ISTPP director and Bush School executive associate dean, Arnold Vedlitz. “President Bush’s vision is a principal reason that natural resources and the environment are a major research focus for the institute,” he added.

The issue of conservation was highlighted during the president’s recent 90th birthday celebration in Kennebunkport, Maine. A group of conservation leaders, headed by Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris, gathered to go fishing with President Bush and to honor him for his lifetime commitment to conservation. Morris presented his long-time friend with the Bass Pro Shops Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, recognizing Bush’s significant impact on the nation’s fish and wildlife resources.

As a nonpartisan, interdisciplinary public policy research institute that examines pressing and difficult policy questions related to science and technology, ISTPP is uniquely positioned to create multidisciplinary teams to address the complex environmental issues facing the nation and the world. In recent years, ISTPP scholars have concentrated on issues related to climate change, energy and water, which not only are significant to the overall environment but also intersect with other key policy concerns – national security, the economy, energy security, public health, agriculture, and protecting vulnerable populations against floods.

The institute has received nearly $16 million in funded research for some 21 projects that are supported by such agencies as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security in addition to state and local agencies. The results of these studies have been widely published in top academic journals and other scholarly publications, and are often used by government agencies. One example is the highly regarded policy book, Collaborative Approaches to Watershed Management, published by MIT Press.

“I believe the work at ISTPP has helped extend President Bush’s conservation vision through publication and presentation of its research to academics, policy makers, and the public and through research and education opportunities given to Bush School students and other Texas A&M students who have gone on to be community leaders, policy makers and  educators,” said Vedlitz.

Additional details on the Institute and its research initiatives can be found at http://bush.tamu.edu/istpp/environment.

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