Today the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts (IASCD) sent a letter to Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) to share our thoughts in the vital federal conservation programs used by the fifty soil conservation districts in Idaho. IASCD requested funding for NRCS Conservation Operations, the 319 Nonpoint Source grant program, and State and Private Forestry programs.
“We fully understand the difficult decisions the Appropriations Committee has to make in funding or eliminating federal programs. IASCD fully supports a federal budget that reduces unnecessary government spending, and properly reflects our nation’s difficult economic situation. However, agriculture and natural resource spending almost always bears the brunt of spending cuts. For example, if we use the FY 2011 funding level adjusted for inflation, the NRCS Conservation Operations account in the FY13 Agricultural Appropriations budget would be $904 million, representing a 6% reduction from the FY2005 appropriated level. We would request you support $904 million in this account for this budget.”
IASCD requested that 319 Nonpoint Source funding be set at $227 million, and State and Private Forestry programs be set at $355 million for FY ’13. The 319 program has gained tremendous momentum in Idaho, especially in the southeast region. The program allows for further improvements in water quality, as well as reductions in sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous into the streams. Districts in the northern part of the state use State and Private Forestry programs to improve forest health, reduce wildfire risk, and improve water quality, and steelhead trout habitat.
President Kit Tillotson’s letter to Congressman Simpson was written on behalf of the IASCD Board of Directors and member soil conservation districts. A similar letter was also sent to Senator Mike Crapo, Senator James E. Risch, and Congressman Raul Labrador.
To read the letter in its entirety, please click here.