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Comment: Proposed budget cuts will impair Conservation efforts

By Wendy Butler Burt

In the U.S. House of Representatives' Proposed Budget for this year, conservation funding got hammered. This proposed budget has now been sent to the Senate for concurrence. Consider writing a letter to your Senators to ask them to protect bird and other wildlife conservation.

I also urge you, if you belong to any form of conservation/hunting/fishing organization to write/email those leaders asking them to comment as well.

So what exactly has been cut? Lots of stuff but I will focus on 3 incredibly important programs. A conservationist friend did some research and learned of these three programs imperiled by proposed budget cuts:
  1. State Wildlife Grant Program (Budget cut from $73million to zero) This program is one of the few sources of funding for nongame and species of concern in the US. In Kentucky, as in most other states, KDFWR receives no taxpayer dollars for wildlife conservation. This effectively means hunters and fishermen pay for everything. SWG is one of the few money sources to do conservation work on nongame species. The money from SWG has allowed work on birds in Kentucky from barn owls, to raptors, to golden-winged warblers, to shorebirds, to least terns. Outside of birds, important work on reptiles and amphibians, bats, freshwater mussels, and numerous fish species of concern. This work just could not/wound not be done without State Wildlife Grants

  2. Section 7 money (Budget cut to Zero): This provides states with money to implement work to help recover species which are Endangered. This fund is partly responsible for recovery of species such as peregrine falcons and bald eagles. In Kentucky amazing work is being done to learn how to captively propagate endangered freshwater mussels and to protect endangered bats from the intrusion of white-nosed syndrome into Kentucky.

  3. North American Wetlands Conservation Act (Cut from $65million to Zero) This program provides funds which must be matched 1:1 (and is often higher than that) to carry out wetland conservation projects in the US, Canada and Mexico. This program provides critical habitat for many species of wetland birds including waterfowl. With the loss of this and the matching funds, as much as $200 million will not be going to conserving wetlands.
So if you care about bird/wildlife conservation, take a few minutes to write or call your Senators. It could make a huge difference!!! -Wendy Butler Burt

This story was posted on 2011-03-02 09:07:17
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