Christmas comes early for conservation program

Christmas comes early for conservation program

In a move that would have made Tim Burton's Jack Skellington proud, Congress gave conservationists a Christmas gift this Halloween! After years of frighteningly low levels of funding, Congress gave an incredible gift this Oct. 30 to the Department of Interior – most notably, the National Parks Service and the vital Land & Water Conservation Fund – as well as the woefully underfunded US Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture.  After decades of deteriorating funding levels, those agencies received a remarkable $4.6 billion funding increase for 2010. The 16.8-percent increase cleared Congress on Oct. 30, passing both houses with wide majorities,  and will help the USFS and Park Service address some maintanenace backlogs as well as launch some new intitiatives including research into how climate change will impact public lands. The funds also will help revitalize the the National Wildlife Refuge System and provide a boost to the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which helps promote outdoor recreation opportunities for our nation's youth. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009, which President Obama has already signed into law,provides that funding boost, and provides some specific recreational benefits. The Act protects thousands of miles of scenic, historic and recreational trails, and establishes an 807-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail running from the the Mexican border to Utah, through the state of Arizon. Other specifics of the Omnibus Bill: The bill also provides: – $90 million for the Legacy Road and Trail Remediation Program to help protection and enhance recreational opportunities by decommissioning obsolete roads and maintaining trails on federal lands; – $75 million for the National Landscape Conservation System, which protects some of the most spectacular scenery managed by the Bureau of Land Management; –  $306 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that promotes outdoor recreational opportunities and preserves wild spaces  in all 50 states; – $77 million for the Forest Legacy Programto help promote true multiple-use programs that conserve open space, wildlife habitat and clean water while allowing for sustainable timber harvesting.
%d bloggers like this: