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Recap of meeting with Sen. Stabenow and NRCS Chief David White

September 2nd, 2011

On Thursday, September 1st, MUCC and the Frankenmuth Conservation Club welcomed Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NCRS) Chief David White for a presentation and question and answer session on conservation and natural resources issues.

Below is a list of some of the key points that were discussed at the meeting:

Stabenow

  • Wolves – The Senator said that delisting needs to happen ASAP. She is hopeful that the process set in place for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) will properly run its course and they will be delisted by the end of the year. If not, she noted that there are other options out there that could be looked at if this process is held up.
  • Asian Carp – Said she thinks we are well on our way to a solution to the Great Lakes’ pending Asian Carp problem, however, she believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) must work faster at preparing a study that would provide recommendations separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River basin. She also said that all states are on board for the long term separation and monitoring, however there is a difference of opinion with Illinois when it comes to closing the man-made Chicago locks in the short term.
    • She has sponsored legislation (S. 471), along with Congressman Dave Camp (R-Midland) to require the USACE to speed up their timeline. No hearing, however, has been scheduled for these bills.

    Farm Bill – As chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, she said the Farm Bill is on a fast timeline because of the federal budget process. The Farm Bill is one of the largest sources of private land conservation dollars that comes to Michigan and has been a big piece of executing the plan to partner both agriculture and conservation principles.

Chief White

  • How NRCS uses the Farm Bill –
    • The NRCS is using the Farm Bill to help farms and agricultural properties restore property to a condition that is more conducive to wildlife, wildlife habitat, and conserving our natural resources.
    • Created self-sustaining wetlands to protect migrating waterfowl during the deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
    • Working to build up river and stream banks to prevent nutrient run-off. Heavy nutrient s in streams can create large algae blooms and dead zones that can destroy fisheries.
    • Agricultural production and wildlife habitat can go hand in hand, and should as this partnership can provide better farms, wildlife habitat, and better hunting & fishing through more habitat area and cleaner natural resources.

MUCC will follow up on these issues and looks forward to working with both Senator Stabenow and Chief White to ensure that our tax dollars designated for conservation projects are used as efficiently as possible.

Many thanks to Mike Piper, President of the Frankenmuth Conservation Club, and his crew there for making this event happen.

Stay tuned for more photos and video footage from this event coming in the near future.

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