Monday, December 22, 2014

S.C. Wildlife Federation - 2015 Legislative Wish List

SCWF Press Release from December 12, 2014:
Restrictor Plates keeps squirrels from changing the size
of the opening that is custom fit for bluebirds
2015 will be one of the most pivotal years for conservation for the South Carolina Wildlife Federation in it's 84-year history.  A new legislature will convene in January, and now is the time for all of us to prepare.
First, 2015 will be a critical year for survival of the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Since its funding began in 2004, over 240,000 acres have been set aside for recreation and protection through parks, preserves and private property conservation easements – all for an amazing $250 per acre average cost. This year is critical for SCWF supporters to make a strong showing  at the State House and around the state as we do everything in our power to make sure this program, that has worked so well, continues. The Bank overall enjoys broad support in the House and Senate, but there are a few powerful forces that use any argument imaginable to end the Bank. They will be back at it this year, no doubt.
Second, we must force action to prevent excessive surface water withdrawals from our threatened rivers and creeks to avoid doom for wildlife and fish and to protect recreational pursuits on our waterways.  Family farmers are among our most devoted conservationists. It is heartening to know that many of them realize that limitless withdrawals of water by a few is shortsighted and a policy that can only lead to crisis.
Third, you may have heard about the Obama Administration’s decision to open up the South  Atlantic to oil and gas exploration which could lead to massive development offshore and onshore along the SC coast.  If these plans become reality, the face of our beloved pristine beaches and marshes will be altered forever.  Along with allies in other southern states, we must work tirelessly to prevent these plans from becoming reality and threatening both our estuaries and our economy.
All three of these matters have personal meaning to me. Seeing the bountiful and beautiful wildlife on my first trip to Bulls Bay back in the seventies convinced me programs like the Conservation Bank are needed to preserve our natural heritage. Spending time in recent years visiting friends in the 20 or so counties that the Edisto River winds through makes me appreciate the vital role a  river can play in smaller communities.  
There will also be a lengthy list of legislative proposals which impact game and fish management, so we will be coordinating with legislators, SC Department of Natural Resources and other conservation groups to protect resources on many fronts. Please let us know if you have questions or suggestions.  Many thanks for your support.
Ben Gregg
Executive Director

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