Feb. 1, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kira Finkler, 703-284-9408
Arlington, Va. – Trout Unlimited applauds yesterday’s announcement by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, which would increase conservation funding in the Farm Bill by $7.8 billion, almost tripling existing funds.
“NRCS and the Department of Agriculture really stepped up to the plate for fish and wildlife habitat,” said Kira Finkler, Legislative Director for Trout Unlimited. “We’re thrilled to see this level of commitment.”
The conservation title of the Farm Bill is the single largest source of federal money for conservation efforts on private lands, which cover two thirds of the American landscape. The 2002 Farm Bill provided $4 billion annually for restoration projects and initiatives that help farmers, ranchers and other private landowners implement conservation practices on their properties.
Yesterday’s announcement also included a proposed Regional Water Enhancement Program, which would invest $175 million annually to support large-scale cooperative projects that improve water quality and increase stream flows.
“While we need to study the details, this new proposal is compelling,” added Finkler. “Our research has found that only 4.5% of current Farm Bill funds directly support restoration of fish habitat. This new program may begin to make up that gap.”
This new data is included in Fair Funding for Fish , an analysis released today by Trout Unlimited, which finds that less than 4.5% of all allocations made from Farm Bill conservation programs benefit fisheries.
The Farm Bill is scheduled to be reauthorized later this year. Trout Unlimited encourages the House and Senate Budget Committees to support the proposal for increased conservation funding, and to focus specifically on securing additional resources for fish and water.
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Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 160,000 members dedicated to the protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.