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Thursday, June 1, 2023

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WI working family advocates shine a spotlight on Reps' voting records; a new report says that Phoenix area can't meet groundwater demands; Nevada sporting community sends top 10 priorities to Gov. Lombardo's desk.

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The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

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Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

'Prairie Pothole' Region, Including SD, Gets Wetland Funding Boost

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Friday, March 17, 2023   

Through the federal Inflation Reduction Act, South Dakota and surrounding states will receive funds to restore wetland areas.

The Interior Department has announced $120 million in investments for key segments of America's wildlife management systems.

For the Northern Plains, it means protecting Prairie Potholes, which are shallow wetlands where wildlife has been threatened.

Ben Romans, Great Plains region communications coordinator for Ducks Unlimited, said because South Dakota has recently had long droughts, it might convince more farmers and other landowners to sell their property to developers. But he argued changing weather cycles should prompt a desire to preserve areas with wetlands.

"Now, we're coming through a year where we have a lot of snow," Romans observed. "These wetlands are great for not only providing water to livestock. Flood mitigation, habitat for wildlife, groundwater recharge; they're kind of nature's water filter."

He added the good news is farmers are more open to preservation, even as they look to hand over their property to someone else. For the region, $23 million has been earmarked for landscape conservation and restoration in parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. The investment comes at the same time the Endangered Species Act turns 50.

Christy Plumer, chief conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said much of the investment will quickly go to landowners who want to protect sensitive, low-lying wetlands on their property, but still use the upland sections for growing crops, ranching and other needs.

"So, I think a program like this provides that blend of opportunities for willing landowners to do great conservation work while also thinking long term about the economic vitality of their farms and their ranches," Plumer explained.

In addition to restoring habitat and increasing land resilience, Plumer pointed out the Prairie Potholes project will also mean environmental justice for historically disadvantaged communities. Nationwide, the money aims to address climate adaptation for species and provide more data collection in making landscapes more resilient.

Disclosure: The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Environment, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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