Conservation Recap of Our Last Congress

December 21, 2016

This fall, we asked you to join us in calling on Congress to #FinishTheBusiness as pressing conservation issues remained unaddressed while the clock ticked down the days until a new President and a new Congress took office.

After the election in November, Congress returned to their offices on Capitol Hill and our campaign kicked into high gear.

Thousands of AMC supporters responded. We sent emails, made phone calls, and helped highlight important projects that would not get funded if Congress did not act.

Thank you for being a part of AMC’s community and supporting this important conservation message, calling on Congress to #FinishTheBusiness.

One significant highlight of the final days of this Congress was the passage of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act. The Delaware River watershed is a magnificent area in the Mid-Atlantic region, of such high value that over 75% of the main stem of the river corridor is designated under the Wild & Scenic Rivers program for its outstandingly remarkable resource values. But, non-point source pollution from land use changes, energy project citing, and other stressors continue to present challenges to the watershed’s integrity. Now, the Delaware River will have the opportunity to secure federal funding to seed important restoration and conservation projects, bringing together state, local and non-profits partners to collaboratively address some of these stressors. AMC has been an active advocate for establishing this program since 2012.

Looking North at the Delaware Water Gap
Nicholas A. TonelliLooking North at the Delaware Water Gap

Though we celebrate this victory, many other important conservation priorities were ignored. Here are just a few of the issues that AMC was working in support of, that Congress just simply refused to get across the finish line:

  • Reauthorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • Reauthorizing the Highlands Conservation Act.
  • Passing a budget that includes robust investments in conservation and trails programs.

There is a lot of work ahead for our advocates, our volunteers, our policy staff and our broader community of conservation-minded outdoor enthusiasts. We will be working to ensure that our federal agency appointees respect sound science and support conservation-minded resource management, by calling on the Senate to carefully consider dangerous Cabinet and agency appointments such as Scott Pruitt, a climate science skeptic who was nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

We are also working to launch a broader campaign to raise our voice by uniting the recreation community in support of conservation ideals that we value and hold dear. Look for more information at the 141st AMC Annual Summit on January 28, 2017 in Norwood Massachusetts.

On behalf of our entire conservation team, from trails, to research, to policy, I want to thank you for enjoying the outdoors, caring about our lands and trails, giving back, and for supporting the AMC’s mission.

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Mark Zakutansky

As AMC's Director of Conservation Policy Engagement, Mark works to advance a number of important priority federal and state conservation issues, including land conservation funding, river and watershed protection, as well as access to public lands. Mark is an avid outdoor enthusiast, primarily as a whitewater paddler and telemark skier.