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DU URGES LEGISLATURE TO REINVEST IN MINNESOTA


Thu, Feb 4th, 2010
Posted in The Great Outdoors

ST PAUL, February 4, 2010 - Ducks Unlimited says full-funding for the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve program would be a good investment bringing positive economic benefits and leveraging millions in federal dollars. DU urges the state legislature to include $50 million in the 2010 bonding bill for the Board of Water and Soil Resources RIM program, which offers landowners incentives to conserve wildlife habitat in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Wetlands Reserve Program.

"The RIM/WRP partnership is good for waterfowl, clean water and the state's economy," said Ryan Heiniger, DU director of conservation programs for Minnesota. "The more dollars the state legislature invests in RIM, the more federal WRP dollars will be invested in the state."

In 2007, before the RIM/WRP partnership began, the NRCS sent $13 million of WRP dollars slated for Minnesota back to Washington. "In 2010, Minnesota could lose at least $18 million in federal funding," said Tim Koehler, assistant state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Minnesota. "As a result of a national effort to accelerate WRP enrollment, Minnesota might have to forfeit an additional $50 million in WRP funding through 2011 unless the state bonding appropriation is secured."

NRCS recently completed an economic impact study of the RIM/WRP partnership in Minnesota. The study found there was a positive impact of $1.28 in industry output, or sales, for every $1 the state invests in RIM. The assessment said one full-time job would also be created or maintained through each $100,000 invested in RIM.

"RIM/WRP is very labor intensive and puts people back to work or keeps them in their jobs," Koehler said, "plus it generates dollars for things like grass seed, diesel and equipment work."

Heiniger says dollars invested through RIM/WRP would provide Minnesotans habitat restoration and protection projects that would provide improved water quality in downstream lakes and rivers, increased flood water storage potential as well as important habitat for ducks, pheasants and other wildlife.

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 nearly 13 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.

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