All of us in western and central Wisconsin are aware of how important the environment and our state’s beautiful natural resources are to our daily lives. I’m proud to have made responsible stewardship of our natural heritage one of the hallmarks of my work in Congress.I have been particularly focused on sportsmen’s issues, protecting the Mississippi River, and advocating for our National Wildlife Refuge System.
- As an avid hunter and fisherman, I’m passionate about protecting the rights of hunters and anglers across the country so that they can pass the sporting tradition along to their children. I believe that families enjoying nature together paves the way for future conservationists. That’s why I was proud to see one the bill’s I’ve authored, the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, become law. This legislation increases funding for wetland conservation.
- The Mississippi River is vital to our economy through tourism, recreation, and commercial transport; to the health of our natural environment; and to our very way of life. That is why I founded and co-chair the Upper Mississippi River Basin Congressional Task Force and championed to ensure that the Mississippi River be designated as a Critical Conservation Area under the Farm Bill’s new Regional Conservation Partnership Program. This designation will provide voluntary assistance to farmers, bolster our farm economy, give conservation groups the tools they need to continue preserving and protecting the river, and help create jobs in the Mississippi River basin communities.
- Home to three national wildlife refuges, western and central Wisconsin benefits from billions of dollars these federal lands generate in economic activity. The Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is visited by over 4 million people each year – more than Yellowstone National Park. National Wildlife Refuge System Yet the National Wildlife Refuge System has been critically underfunded for years, causing debilitating maintenance backlogs and loss of visitor access and services. Seeing this unmet need, I founded the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus in 2006 to bring these issues to light and advocate for increased funding for the system.
- I have been a strong supporter of our National Parks system for years, taking my family backpacking in a different park each summer. Truly one of our nation’s greatest treasures, the National Parks have proven to be sound investments for communities, jobs, and future generations. Research shows that every dollar invested in National Parks generates ten dollars in direct economic impact. In 2013 alone, National Park visitors contributed $26.5 billion to the nation’s economy and supported nearly 240,000 jobs. As the upcoming 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service draws near, I am determined to use my leadership role as Co-Chair of the Congressional National Parks Caucus to push for continued investment in the National Park system.
More on Conservation
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind announced that the University of Wisconsin-Platteville would be receiving a grant from the US Department of Agriculture and National Institute of Food Agriculture. The grant will aid in the establishment of a Hydrologic Observatory and supports long-term agro-ecosystem research, education, and outreach in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
La Crosse, WI – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (WI-3) sent a letter to House Leadership requesting that in light of the Senate’s passage of the Railroad Emergency Services Preparedness, Operational Needs, and Safety Evaluation (RESPONSE) Act the House take action to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Rep. Kind worked with Sen. Heitkamp to introduce the legislation, which helps first responders deal with the negative impacts of a train derailment or fuel spill.