June 27, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jeff Hastings, TU, 608-606-4158
David Wilson, DAI, 608-723-6377 x135
Senate Provides Funding for Restoration in the Midwest’s Driftless Area
Arlington, VA – A Senate committee has included an appropriation in the FY2007 budget to help with the restoration of the Midwest’s Driftless Area.
Last Thursday, the Agriculture Committee approved $260,000 for conservation practices in the Driftless Area. The funding is included in the conservation budget of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“Sen. Kohl has been a strong and constant supporter of restoration work in the Driftless Area,” said Jeff Hastings, Project Manager for Trout Unlimited’s Driftless Area Restoration Effort. “Although this is just the beginning of a long appropriations process, we are confident that this funding will be included in the final budget.”
The Driftless Area is considered by many to be a national treasure with its unique limestone formations, springs and small trout streams. Bypassed by the last glacier, the region lies within the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Land use practices in the 1800s and early 1900s led to wide scale erosion, flooding and the altering of its streams and valleys. Though conditions have improved, impacts from past damage continue today in many forms, especially on the streams and rivers in the region.
Trout Unlimited and the Driftless Area Initiative (a collaboration of six Resource Conservation and Development Councils) have partnered to lead regional organizations in a focused effort to restore streams, rivers and upland habitat in the Driftless Area. In April of this year, TU worked with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the governors of all four Driftless Area states to develop a resolution that commits state and federal agencies to work together in collaborative restoration projects for the Driftless Area and to utilize Farm Bill conservation programs to help finance the work. The resolution followed on the heels of the 2005 release of a report (The Driftless Area: A Landscape of Opportunities) calling for the wide-scale restoration of the streams and rivers of the region.
“The sharpened focus on appropriate land use and management practices created by this unique partnership is critical to bringing to the table the resources needed to achieve long-term resource sustainability,” said Ed Weber, a Council member of the Driftless Area Initiative.
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Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 160,000 members – including over 10,000 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois – dedicated to the protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
The Driftless Area Initiative is a collaboration of six Resource Conservation and Development Councils working to promote improved stewardship of Driftless Area land and waters.