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Amendment 52 will leave conservation water projects high and dry

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Yes vote would take $225 million away from vital programs

DENVER, Oct. 23, 2008 – Ducks Unlimited says a proposed amendment to the Colorado constitution will rob Peter to pay Paul. Amendment 52 would take $225 million away from Colorado programs that need the dollars more today then ever.

“We all know Colorado’s urban population is exploding,” said Lynn Shore, state chairman for Colorado Ducks Unlimited. “We need increased, not decreased, funding to manage that growth and plan ahead for the water resources Colorado will need in the near future. With some of the dollars Amendment 52 would shift to other uses, Ducks Unlimited has been working with cities and other water users to provide for their water needs, while taking care of Colorado’s wildlife habitat.”

If approved on the November 4th election ballot, Amendment 52 would establish a new Colorado transportation trust fund from state severance tax dollars. This amendment would take the dollars from the programs now funded by the tax including for wildlife and water conservation, water projects, clean energy and low-income energy assistance. The transportation trust fund could only be used for construction, maintenance and supervision of public highways in the state. The Colorado Legislative Council estimates that the proposal would reallocate $225 million to transportation funding in its first four years.

“Passing Amendment 52 will severely hamper Ducks Unlimited’s delivery of wetland conservation projects in the state of Colorado,” said Matt Reddy, regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited in Colorado. “It will divert the severance tax funds for important water and wetland conservation work to highway development”

Ducks Unlimited works with farmers, landowners, cities and large water users to find conservation-friendly solutions to their water needs. In the last 12 months, Ducks Unlimited received almost $1.5 million for conservation programs from the water conservation board, nearly twice the amount DU receives for this work from any other source.

“DU is working closely with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to provide win-win water and wetlands conservation projects that benefit both water users and wildlife,” Reddy said. “Unfortunately, current programs would not even have been enough to meet future water supply needs, much less after this potential cut.”

DU asks Colorado voters to look for another source for transportation funding. “Let’s not cripple the good work being done to protect Colorado’s resources,” Shore said. “We need more funding for these programs, not less.”

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

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Media contacts: Becky Jones Mahlum, 701-355-3507 bjonesmahlum@ducks.org

Jennifer Kross, 701-355-3515 jkross@ducks.org

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