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Congressional sportsmen call for conservation program renewal

From the Ducks Unlimited Organization

-- Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, have called for the extension of a popular habitat conservation program to promote conservation easements on private land.
       
“The majority of undeveloped lands for wildlife habitat – including more than 75 percent of the remaining wetlands in the United States – are privately held,” said Barton James, director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited. “Conservation easements are a win-win solution for landowners who want to protect their land. Their land is conserved and they receive a break on their taxes.”
       
Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus co-chairman Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) spoke about how he personally used an easement to protect 150 acres of his family’s ranch in Oklahoma.  "My family decided to place a conservation easement on our family farm to ensure that future generations would still be able to use the land for hunting and recreation,” said Boren.  “It is a decision that I hope other Americans will make so that we protect an important part if our way of life.”
       
The legislation that allows landowners to protect their land by donating easements to conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited expires at the end of 2009, prompting the briefing and subsequent letter to the entire Caucus, urging them to support extending the life of the provision.
       
“Conservation easements are a critical tool for helping private landowners protect their land for future generations, and I’m happy to lead an effort to extend these options for landowners across the country,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the other co-chairman for the House of Representatives for the Caucus.
       
More than 160 Members of Congress have co-sponsored legislation that would make conservation easement donation incentives permanent.
       
Ducks Unlimited encourages supporters to contact their representatives in Congress and ask them to support the permanent conservation easements. Please visit www.ducks.org/taxes for the latest news on conservation easements. With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The group works to raise awareness that the United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands − nature’s most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

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