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Pheasants Forever Supports Proposed Wetland Loan Act

Act would advance $400 million for accelerated wetlands protection

Washington D.C. – November 18, 2005 – Today, Pheasants Forever (PF) participated in a press conference announcing the Wetland Loan Act (Bill HR 4315). The proposed Act, which would accelerate wetlands conservation and their associated upland habitats, contains key provisions crafted by PF. The Act would authorize a $400 million loan to accomplish goals in accordance with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Congressmen Mark Kennedy (R-MN) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), introducers of the bill to Congress, made the announcement with PF and other wildlife conservation groups.

The loan is necessary to meet the rising value of land as the demands for wetlands increase. Immediate protection is necessary to prevent further development of these wetlands and conversion of these wetlands to crop lands. Wetlands conservation also protects a wetland’s associated upland habitats important to waterfowl, pheasants, and a variety of other wildlife. Funds from the loan would be used for acquisitions and easements protecting these fragile wetland habitats, especially in the breeding grounds of the prairie pothole region.

“It’s no secret that wetland habitats are important to ducks and a variety of other wildlife,” explained Howard Vincent, PF’s president and chief executive officer. “The price of land isn’t going down. We need to act today to ensure a future for waterfowl and hunters.”

Currently, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service uses funds generated from the Federal Duck Stamp Program to pay for wetland acquisitions and easements. However, the $15 per-stamp revenue is not keeping pace with land costs and habitat needs. The proposed Wetland Loan Act would increase the price of the Duck Stamp by $10 in 2007 to $25, and again in 2015 to $35. The last time the price of the stamp was increased was in 1991; from $12.50 to its current $15 price. The proposed Act would provide authorization to expend $400 million in advance of Duck Stamp receipts over the next 10 years.

“Hunters have always led the way for conservation,” added Vincent from the Minnesota-based Pheasants Forever headquarters. “Here in the prairies, duck hunters and pheasant hunters alike will benefit from additional public hunting opportunities on our federal Waterfowl Production Areas. Waterfowlers nationwide will see the benefits of wetlands conservation in the breeding grounds of the prairie potholes with an increase of beating wings in the air each autumn. And, society will benefit from this Act through improved water quality and lessened soil erosion.”

PF is a national non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike. There are currently over 110,000 PF members and 600 PF chapters across North America.

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