DES MOINES, Iowa, – Following an important vote on Monday, Iowa moved one step closer to creating a permanent and dedicated Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This legislation will protect and improve the state’s water quality, agricultural soils, natural areas and fish and wildlife habitat.
Iowa’s House of Representatives passed Senate File 2310 by an overwhelming bipartisan margin of 92-7, following a unanimous 50-0 passage by the Senate in late February. This legislation will be forwarded to Governor Culver’s desk to hopefully be signed into law. Enactment of this bill will provide greater clarity and accountability of allocation and distribution of funds from the new trust fund. Voters will be able to vote on this bill during the general ballot election on November 2, 2010.
“The future looks much brighter for Iowa’s wetland and waterfowl resources,” said James Roetman DU’s Iowa volunteer state chairman from Pocahontas. “The passage of this important legislation provides much more specificity, understanding and assurance to Iowa voters and our members that these funds will be invested wisely, and as intended, as they head to the polls in November.”
The legislatively-created Sustainable Natural Resources Advisory Committee provided recommendations for SF 2310. The bill broadly defines that trust fund moneys be allocated and invested toward protection and enhancement of Iowa’s natural resources and outdoor recreational amenities. These recommendations were based on specific natural resource needs and current funding limitations estimated at approximately $150 million per year. According to the advisory committee, Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states nationally in current conservation spending and 49th in total public land ownership.
Ducks Unlimited has a long history of involvement in this effort and is supportive of the proposed constitutional amendment.
“This will help accelerate the conservation of wetlands, shallow lakes, wildlife management areas and other important waterfowl habitats in Iowa,” said Steve Adair DU director of the Great Plains Regional Office.
“DU has worked closely with many other organizations and supporters to build strong bipartisan support for this legislation,” said Roetman. “We’re grateful for the overwhelming support it received in both chambers and realize it’s now up to Iowa voters to make this vision a reality on November second.”
At least three other states have amended their respective constitutions to provide dedicated funding for habitat conservation including Missouri in 1976, Arkansas in 1996 and Minnesota in 2008.
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved over 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.