Request For Action By Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Illinois Legislature Winding Down, Three Major Needs For Wildlife Remain - Please Contact Your Legislators
Text extracted from press release by Aaron Kuehl of Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever (217-635-5207)
Illinois Wildlife Needs YOUR Voice NOW
Springfield, IL. – May 18, 2009 – There are only a couple weeks left in the legislative session, but there are three big needs for wildlife facing some opposition. We need upland game hunters and conservationists to step up and let our voices be heard.
1.) Oppose cuts to DNR. We recently learned of efforts to AGAIN slash funding for the agency charged with managing our state’s natural resources. The proposed cuts would slash DNR funding from the general revenue fund to levels 25% lower than last year’s Blago budget – one that forced park closings and lay-offs. The DNR was a favorite target under the previous administration and has undergone disproportionate cuts compared to other state agencies. In fact, the current GRF funding is ½ of what the agency saw when Manning was director. Enough is enough! Further cuts could force park closings, more lay-offs and untold losses of wildlife habitat.
2.) Support iSPACE (open land acquisitions) at $350 Million. The Illinois Special Places Acquisition and Conservation Enhancement (iSPACE) program is a line item of $50 Million in the proposed capital bill which targets key acquisitions in Illinois. The conservation community sees this as a mere placeholder and believes the line should be at least $350 Million, representing 1-2% of the total package which is similar to previous funding levels. The IL Natural Areas Inventory alone has identified 250,000 acres of unprotected high-priority areas costing an estimated 1 Billion. Access has been an identified priority of Pheasants and Quail Forever and recently it has been identified as one of the top 2 priorities for the DNR. The economic benefits of this increased access is far reaching with Illinois sportsmen spending $1.2 Billion annually and supporting 22,000 jobs in the state.
3.) Support DNR Fee Increases. Sportsmen and women have long paid their way for the recreational opportunities we enjoy. Current fees, set 20 years ago have not kept up for the ever-rising costs of wildlife and habitat management. These fees, collected from sportsmen and women will be protected from sweeps by the new administration and dedicated to projects benefiting the users who pay the fees. Some of the fee increases have been proposed to hire an upland game biologist (vacant since December) and turkey biologist (vacant for 3+ yrs).
Your voice can make a difference. Please contact your legislator today and ask for their support in these 3 items. To find your legislators and their contact information go to: http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/SelectSearchType.aspx?NavLink=1 .
Please call your legislators staff with the simple message to 1) oppose cuts to DNR, 2) support iSPACE in the capital bill for $350 Million, and 3) support DNR fee increases.
For additional information please visit www.illinoispf.org and www.illinoisqf.org