Policy News 2.37

Top stories for Sept. 14, 2010
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Professional soccer player endorses DU, NWF campaign to save coastal Louisiana wetlands

Jason Garey, reserve forward for Major League Soccer team the Columbus Crew, is the latest spokesman for Vanishing Paradise, a campaign started jointly by Ducks Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation to bring attention to the endangered wetlands of coastal Louisiana.

DU and NWF began Vanishing Paradise to advocate for restoration of the processes that created Louisiana's coastal wetlands—which are important to both wildlife and people and are being lost at an alarming rate—by nationalizing the issue and educating members of Congress.

Garey, who grew up in the southern Louisiana town of Gonzales, has noticed the changing landscape of the coast over the years and now wants to make sure the issue doesn't fall outside the public eye, especially since much of the restoration work needed in the region will require federal funding.

"It's absolutely a political problem," Garey said. "If I get a little bit of attention to it, get people a little more educated about the subject, maybe they can put some more pressure on the decision makers."

Bart James, director of public policy at DU's Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., said the importance of Garey's support of Vanishing Paradise cannot be understated. "Ducks Unlimited is thrilled that Jason wanted to loan his voice to our efforts to restore the Gulf Coast," said James. "His leadership will hopefully inspire others to contact their members of Congress and encourage them to support actions that will help bring much-needed restoration to this area."

Former Iowa DNR director migrates north to join FWS

After four years of dedicated service and leadership, Richard Leopold is stepping down as director of Iowa's Department of Natural Resources. During a reception held in Leopold's honor, DU publicly thanked Leopold and presented him with a commemorative Living Lakes initiative waterfowl print.

DU Regional Biologist Lindstrom presents Iowa DNR's Leopold with Living Lakes initiative print
DU Regional Biologist Eric Lindstrom (left) presents Iowa DNR Director Richard Leopold with a DU Living Lakes initiative waterfowl print. Leopold will be leaving the DNR to join the FWS.

"We'd like to thank Director Leopold, the Department and his staff for their dedicated service and commitment to conserving Iowa's waterfowl and wetland resources," said Eric Lindstrom, DU regional biologist. "Both he and the Iowa DNR have been valued partners for DU in Iowa and supportive of our policy efforts for getting dedicated natural resources funding on the ballot in Iowa."

Leopold will assume a new position as Midwest assistant regional director for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 3 in Fort Snelling, Minn. FWS Region 3 is comprised of eight states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. As assistant regional director for science applications, Leopold will help lead science planning and coordination efforts, including programs related to climate change, adaptive resource management and landscape-level conservation planning initiatives.

"We wish Director Leopold continued success at his new position with the FWS and look forward to continued collaboration with him and his colleagues on key policy issues affecting conservation easement and Farm Bill programs," said Lindstrom.

U.S. Rep. Cohen says "DU mission easy to support" during visit to national headquarters

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee's 9th Congressional District paid a visit to DU headquarters last week to better acquaint himself with the world's leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation.

DU CEO Dale Hall and Rep. Steve Cohen
DU CEO Dale Hall (left) greets Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) during Cohen's visit to DU national headquarters on Sept. 8. (Photo: John Hoffman)

Before taking a tour of DU headquarters, Rep. Cohen spent time discussing his support of DU's conservation mission with top DU officials, including CEO Dale Hall. Rep. Cohen also shared his advice with DU's public policy team on how to gain the legislative support needed to achieve its conservation goals.

"As long as the DU mission is explained clearly, it's really an easy issue to support," said Rep. Cohen. "I think people would want to get involved. I always try to help with conservation issues because it's vital that we preserve our natural resources for the next generation."

"We were honored to welcome Rep. Cohen at our headquarters and made sure he is aware of DU's commitment to protecting, conserving and restoring critical wetland habitat," said Hall. "Since policy decisions play an integral role in our conservation mission, having the support of a member of Congress could go a long way in our goal to achieve that mission. DU greatly appreciates Rep. Cohen's history of encouraging appropriations committees to allot sufficient funding for programs that protect our nation's wetland habitat."