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On Monday, March 9, 2015, the South Dakota Senate Appropriations Committee met. On their agenda was the discussion to reallocate money taken out of the South Dakota Conservation Fund and put it back where it should have been.

The fund was originally set at £1.5 million, but the House Appropriation Committee reduced this to just one dollar previously. After the meeting on Monday, the fund has been raised up to $500,000.

The House Bill 1192, which originally provided the funds, was introduced to the House at the request of Governor Dennis Daugaard. The original request was for the $1.5 million awarded from the state’s general fund. The $1.5 million was to be the initial funding for a new conservation fund that was established on the bequest of the Governor’s Pheasant Habitat Workgroup last fall.

The bill also stipulates that any state money given to the conservation fund has to be matched by private donors first. So far, there has been a pledge of $250,000 from private donors.

The House Committee had cut the original appropriation because they wanted to ‘keep the bill alive’. They also wanted to wait on deciding a final amount until the state’s projected revenue could be determined or better predicted.

Senator Larry Tiedemann, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, made the motion to amend the bill in the house and increase the appropriation to $500,000. The recent amendment has one further change; it ensures that the state money can only be used for programming and not placed within an endowment.

Tiedemann hopes this will help the conservation fund to gain ground and raise more private money. “We’re hoping that this will give it a jumpstart.” Tiedemann said “And with that we’ll be able to raise more money and truly bring the pheasants back to South Dakota.”

However, others have been quick to point out that the amount may not be sufficient enough to help conservation efforts in South Dakota. Senator Scott Parsley is one: “I’m a hunter, I love to hunt but I’m not sure what $500,000 is going to do to restore the pheasant population in South Dakota.”

What are your thoughts? Is this enough from the State?

Let us know in the comments below.

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