Top stories for Jan. 12, 2010
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Senate returns next week
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives already have returned to work, and the Senate will return from the holiday district work period next Tuesday, Jan. 19. Conservation issues do not appear to be at the top of Congress' agenda, which likely will begin with discussion on a "jobs" bill and financial reform. But that doesn't mean conservation won't come up.
In early February a group of senior Ducks Unlimited volunteers will descend upon Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and their staff to ensure that conservation is a priority for the coming legislative year. Protecting wetlands and promoting waterfowl habitat conservation programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act are at the top of the list for discussion.
Ducks Unlimited members and supporters can emphasize these volunteer conversations by getting in touch with their senators now, while they are still in their home states and districts.
New leader for Chesapeake Bay cleanup
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is taking the reins of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, stepping into the role of chairwoman of the Chesapeake Executive Council. Jackson will lead the policy steering committee for the Chesapeake Bay Program, working with the governors of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., to continue restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Ducks Unlimited has been an active participant in efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay, which provides critical wintering habitat for many waterfowl species.
Jackson replaces outgoing Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who has served on the council since 2008. The council will release a final collaborative strategy in May 2010.
Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 170,000 acres of waterfowl habitat and is supported by more than 75,000 members in the six states that make up the Bay watershed.
"DU looks forward to working with Lisa Jackson in her new role within the Bay program," said Bernie Marczyk, DU governmental affairs representative for the Atlantic Region. "DU will continue to be a leader in the program, working with our state and federal partners to dedicate more resources to waterfowl habitat restoration in the Bay watershed."
Round two for conservation projects
After a successful first round of conservation projects, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council is recommending over $56 million for additional conservation projects through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in Minnesota.
One of the biggest grants approved by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council will continue Ducks Unlimited's work restoring shallow lakes to productive waterfowl habitat.
Many of these lakes have been degraded by various factors, such as invasive fish, and once again will be prime waterfowl habitat. DU's Living Lakes Initiative seeks to protect shallow lakes and floodplain wetlands and promotes sound restoration of lost or degraded habitat.