WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -- US Senator Tammy Baldwin spent an hour in Wausau this weekj listening to conservation leaders from across the state regarding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire at the end of September.
Baldwin says the money isn't just about protecting natural resources and habitats for wildlife, it's also about protecting the outdoor way of life. "It's vital to our longstanding traditions of sportsmanship, hunting, hiking, and fishing," said Baldwin.
The LWCF is propped up by fees on oil extracted from the continental shelf. Baldwin says those fees usually add up to about $900 million, which is then given to local governments and conservation groups. “Wisconsin has long been a national leader for conservation and we have a proud tradition of hunting, fishing and enjoying the great outdoors. I’m proud to work across party lines to protect these traditions for future generations and safeguard the natural resources we enjoy in Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsinites understand that protecting public access to our natural resources is critical to our quality of life and to our economy, so Congress must act swiftly to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.” Senator Baldwin was joined by representatives from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society, Wild Turkey Federation, Gathering Waters, Pheasants Forever, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.
Wisconsin has received more than $200 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places like the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, the North Country Scenic Trail, the St. Croix National Scenic River and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
In addition to the environmental impacts, Baldwin says it's important to keep the funding flowing for the groups like Ducks Unlimited that keep access to hunting and fishing areas open. "A lot of them run on volunteer time to provide training and access to the next generation of people to enjoy our natural resources." Baldwin says she doesn't expect the funding to be put back in place before the current agreement ends, but she does think that something will get done by year's end.