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Policy News: Vol. 1, Issue 9

Top stories for July 28, 2009
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What duck hunters stand to gain – or lose – from clean water

Waterfowlers know that duck hunting can be a fickle affair—and the smallest things can make or break a day in the blind.

With this in mind, Ducks Unlimited wants hunters to know how the loss of Clean Water Act protections for more than 20 million acres of wetlands will affect them this season and into the future, and why restoring these protections is critical for ensuring that full seasons don't become the exception instead of the rule.



"Protect native prairies," say Congressional agriculture leaders

The leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees are taking a stand to protect native prairies, calling on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to ensure that there are not incentives for landowners to break native prairie.

U.S. House Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (Minn.) and U.S. Senate Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (Iowa) sent the letter to urge that the USDA not allow federally subsidized crop insurance to encourage farmers to farm land unsuited to crop production.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 502,000 acres of native grassland in the Dakotas and Montana were converted to crops from 2002 to 2007. A subsequent report from U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that farm program payments significantly influenced landowners' decisions to convert native grass to crop.



DU volunteers are speaking out for conservation – you can, too!

Ducks Unlimited volunteers in Wisconsin met with federal officials on how to improve the Great Lakes watershed, and more opportunities are on the way to improve it.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a new project designed to restore and protect the Great Lakes, is finally available to the public. Stakeholder meetings started on Tuesday in Wisconsin. The schedule for the upcoming meetings is below.

President Obama's 2010 Budget includes $475 million in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget for the Great Lakes initiative project. While led by the EPA, the project will involve several agencies. The EPA and its federal partners will coordinate State, tribal, local and industry actions to protect, maintain and restore the Great Lakes.

The multi-state, multi-agency approach is being used to find comprehensive solutions to the complex problems affecting the Great Lakes. Targeted problems include dealing with invasive aquatic species, non-point source pollution and contaminated sediment.

This summer, agencies and task forces involved started the process for (sometimes competing) grant proposals, with hopes of getting some grants issued as early as December. Public meetings scheduled from July to August in key Great Lakes cities are essential in gaining insight for these decisions.

The five-year-old Great Lakes Interagency Task Force has already built up a plan for the $475 million, including over $250 million in grants and project agreements. They determined that long term goals should include "safely eating the fish and swimming at beaches, assuring safe drinking water, and providing a healthy ecosystem for fish and wildlife."

Stakeholder meetings:
July 27, Cleveland, Ohio
July 28, Erie, Penn.
July 29, Rochester, N.Y.
Aug. 3, Lansing, Mich.

For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/grtlakes/glri/.



From the Capitol steps to your town hall steps – Congress is home for summer

Members of Congress will be back in their home states and districts at the end of the week. Find out when they will be in your hometown, and ask them to support conservation!

One bill that Ducks Unlimited supports is the Hunting Heritage Protection Act, a bill to promote America's proud hunting tradition.

Ask your members of Congress to support the bill and be a leader for our hunting legacy!

Find information on your members of Congress, including when they will be in your hometown!

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