Washington, DC -- American Rivers praised Secretary Ed Schafer and the U.S. Department of Agriculture today for continuing to protect sensitive lands under the Conservation Reserve Program, a decision that will benefit natural flood protection, help safeguard river communities, and ensure continued benefits for hunting and fishing.
Following the devastating Midwest floods in June, American Rivers released an eight-point plan to overhaul the nation’s flood response. Honoring commitments to farm land conservation programs is a key part of the plan, as these lands help absorb flood waters.
The USDA had considered allowing farmers to opt out of their Conservation Reserve Program leases without returning the money the federal government had already paid them to protect the land.
Andrew Fahlund, Vice President of Conservation for American Rivers, made the following statement:
“We applaud Secretary Schafer for agreeing that we need to protect natural areas along rivers and streams in order to absorb flood waters and prevent future flood damage. USDA’s decision will maintain natural flood protection and will continue to help protect the millions of people who live in riverside communities.”
“Decision makers at the local, state and federal levels have a responsibility to overhaul the way our nation prepares for and responds to floods. With climate change bringing more frequent and severe floods, business as usual won’t work anymore. We need bold decisions that improve natural flood protection and protect our communities. Today’s decision by the USDA is a good start.”
Read the eight-point plan (PDF).
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.