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NO. R-201. JOINT RESOLUTION REQUESTING THAT THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS INCREASE THE FUNDS ALLOCATED TO THE U.S.D.A. NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE FOR CONSERVATION TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE IN VERMONT.

(J.R.H. 161)

Offered by: Representatives Starr of Troy and Howrigan of Fairfield.

Whereas, the state of Vermont has significant concern for its soil, water, and related natural resources, and

Whereas, soils enhance the quality of surface and groundwaters and serve as the foundation for our bountiful agriculture, our unique wildlife habitats, our beautiful landscapes, and the homes and communities of our citizens, and

Whereas, clean water quenches our thirst, provides habitat for fish and other aquatic creatures, supports recreation for our citizens and visitors, and promotes economic growth, and

Whereas, agriculture is a major contributor to Vermont's economy, and

Whereas, Vermont's family farms provide recharge areas for aquifers, scenic and open land, habitat for wildlife, oxygen, health food, and help to retain the traditional rural Vermont lifestyle, and

Whereas, Vermont leaders have identified flooding as the highest natural resource concern in Vermont, and

Whereas, the Conservation Partnership completed a national conservation technical assistance workload analysis that showed a need for additional one-on-one technical assistance to help landowners and communities conserve natural resources on private lands, and

Whereas, the analysis included input by local citizens, agricultural and community groups, and state agencies, and

Whereas, the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service is the only federal agency that has responsibility for providing locally available, science-based, conservation technical assistance directly on private lands and to local government, and

Whereas, the number of Natural Resources Conservation Service field staff providing technical assistance has decreased during the past five years, and

Whereas, additional technical assistance will have a positive effect on the people, the environment, the economy, and the infrastructure of Vermont, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly requests that the President of the United States and Congress increase the funding for U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service and charge the agency to provide field support to address the unmet conservation workload in Vermont, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the United States Secretary of Agriculture and Vermont's Congressional Delegation.