Conservation CEOs Gather to Push for Iowa Funding

Leaders urge lawmakers to fund state’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

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CEOs from Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and National Wild Turkey Federation discuss Iowa conservation funding April 11.

Leaders from the three of the largest hunter-supported wildlife conservation organizations united in Iowa April 11, to urge lawmakers to fully fund the state’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall was joined by Pheasants Forever CEO Howard Vincent and National Wild Turkey Federation CEO Becky Humphries for Fund the Trust Day at the Capitol, where they met with Iowa government officials, media and outdoors enthusiasts.

“Iowa is an important place for us. It’s in the Prairie Pothole Region, which is our sweet spot for conserving wetlands and grasslands,” Hall said. “The real issue is how do we make sure we protect these natural resources for future generations, and that’s what the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund is really about.”

The three met privately with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. They also discussed the fund with Iowa House and Senate leadership.

The fund is a permanent and constitutionally protected funding source approved by voters to conserve Iowa's natural resources. The trust will ensure productive agricultural soils, thriving wildlife habitats and clean water for generations to come. It will address serious state problems including soil erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, flooding, water pollution and cuts in state park funding.

Sustainable funding has yet to be established, but was identified in the Constitution and passed by the voters as a 3/8 of 1 percent sales tax increase, which is expected to raise $180 million annually.

Hall, Vincent and Humphries participated in a panel discussion in the Iowa Capitol Rotunda about the importance of putting dollars into conservation. The discussion was attended by lawmakers, members of the Iowa Water and Land legacy coalition and members of the three organizations.

They also joined WHO Newsradio 1040 for a live on-air talk about natural resources.

Kyle Rorah, Ducks Unlimited governmental affairs representative, said the three CEOs pushing this message shows its importance to the conservation community.

“This is the first time these leaders have come together for a state issue and it sends a message to elected officials that this is a priority to sportsmen and women across Iowa,” Rorah said.

Visit here to get more details about the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, and how to urge lawmakers to fund the trust.