A Thank You Note From 35 Conservation Groups to 76 Senators

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Posted by National Wildlife Federation

American Fisheries Society – American Fly Fishing Trade Association – American Sportfishing Association – Archery Trade Association – Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies – B.A.S.S. LLC – Berkley Conservation Institute, Pure Fishing – Boone and Crockett Club – Catch-A-Dream Foundation – Coastal Conservation Association – Center for Coastal Conservation – Conservation Force – The Conservation Fund – Delta Waterfowl – Ducks Unlimited – Houston Safari Club – Izaak Walton League of America – Masters of Foxhounds – Mule Deer Foundation – National Marine Manufacturers Association – National Shooting Sports Foundation – National Wildlife Federation – The Nature Conservancy – North American Grouse Partnership – Pheasants Forever – Quail Forever – Quality Deer Management Association – Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska – Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership – Tread Lightly – Trout Unlimited – Wild Sheep Foundation – Wildlife Forever – Wildlife Management Institute

Sent to the 76 senators who voted in favor the RESTORE Act Amendment.

We are writing on behalf of 35 of the country’s leading conservation and sportsmen’s organizations and trade associations to express our profound thanks for voting in favor of the RESTORE Act and Land and Water Conservation Fund amendment to the Transportation bill. That amendment, which passed with an overwhelming 76 bipartisan votes, dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties collected from the responsible parties to restoration of Gulf Coast resources and economies. The amendment also, includes $700 million dedicated funding of Offshore Continental Shelf lease revenues for two years through the LWCF, and reauthorizes the fund for ten years. It is an enormous win for sportsmen and job-seekers throughout the nation.

As you know, the RESTORE Act and LWCF funding amendment will invest billions in needed conservation projects in the Gulf and throughout the country. The RESTORE Act dedicates Clean Water Act penalty funds from the BP spill to habitat restoration, conservation and other projects that will restore the health of the Gulf of Mexico for the benefit of all Americans. As such, it is a high priority for sportsmen. The Mississippi River Delta alone supports some of the best hunting and fishing in the world. It hosts millions of ducks and geese during the winter — roughly 70 percent of the waterfowl that use the Central and Mississippi flyways. Louisiana is one of the only places where you can catch bass, redfish, and tuna all within 25 miles from shore. Roughly one-third of all saltwater recreational fishing trips take place in the Gulf of Mexico.

The LWCF program provides funding for the conservation of critical game habitat, such as the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area that is working with private landowners to place conservation easements on nearly two million acres of some of the most important waterfowl breeding habitat in North America.

Moreover, funding provided by the RESTORE Act and LWCF is an investment in American jobs. The outdoor industry, which depends on the conservation of habitat and scenic landscapes, generates $730 billion in economic activity, while hunting and fishing alone generate $122 billion. So, for many reasons, it makes sense to expand our investment in this sector.

We hope that you will continue to promote conservation and American jobs by actively supporting the retention of this amendment in the final conference report on the Transportation Bill.

Thank you again for your support of the RESTORE Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund amendment.