A conservation group has lauded Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s commitment to invest $100 million through the Wetlands Reserve Program for easements from landowners to foment restoration of more than 24,000 acres of agricultural land in the northern Everglades watershed.
The Environmental Defense Fund said such steps are smart economically, while being imperative for good stewardship of the ecological landscape.
“Involving private landowners in these kinds of landscape-scale efforts is exactly what we need to do if we’re going to be effective in accomplishing our most important conservation goals, including healthy ecosystems that provide clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and other public benefits,” said Sara Hopper, agricultural policy director for the Environmental Defense Fund.
“We cannot effectively engage private landowners in big initiatives like this one without continued, robust funding for voluntary, incentive-based programs like the Wetlands Reserve Program,” she said. “It’s imperative that Congress not cut funding for these programs in the coming months, as members of the House and Senate continue to look for ways to reduce the federal budget deficit.”
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