The Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin’s largest land conservation organization, applauded Governor Doyle's call in his 2007-2009 Budget address last night to reauthorize the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund at $105 million/year through 2020, calling the Governor's action a critical step in continuing to conserve the best of outdoor Wisconsin.
"We commend Governor Doyle for the foresight and leadership he has shown in championing a program that has done so much to protect our forests, lakes, and streams; provide recreation opportunities; and support our forestry, tourism, and other industries," said Mary Jean Huston, state director of The Nature Conservancy. "We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to reauthorize a strong, effective program that will ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy Wisconsin’s beauty and natural resources as we do today.
“The Stewardship Fund is Wisconsin’s best tool for keeping Wisconsin forestland intact and local timber economies healthy,” said Butch Johnson, President, Flambeau River Paper LLC.
The power of the Stewardship Fund to conserve our natural resources while supporting a vibrant economy is exemplified by the State’s partnership with The Nature Conservancy and two timber companies to conserve more than 64,600 acres in northeast Wisconsin last summer. An innovative working forest conservation easement — purchased with Stewardship Fund dollars — keeps the majority of the land open to the public for recreation, including hunting and fishing, and guides forest management in a sustainable manner, ensuring that the forests remain healthy and diverse and continue to provide forest products and important forest industry jobs.
Since the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund program was established in 1989, it has helped protect more than 477,000 acres in 71 of Wisconsin's 72 counties. The program provides public access for outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, wildlife watching, and biking. It has also proven to be a wise investment in advancing Wisconsin’s tourism and forest products industries, both of which are based on the long-term sustainable use of our natural resources.
An important ingredient in the program’s success is the partnership between the State and local governments and non-profit organizations like The Nature Conservancy. The Stewardship Fund provides matching grants to local governments and non-profits for land acquisition, effectively doubling the amount of money available for land and water conservation by matching state dollars with private and federal funds.
For more information about the Stewardship Fund, please see our Frequently Asked Questions about the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund fact sheet.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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