Storm Lake mayor and senior Ducks Unlimited volunteer Jon Kruse traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress and policymakers to discuss conservation priorities.
Kruse is an long-time outdoor enthusiast and volunteer with the Ducks Unlimited Conservation Program, and is part of a volunteer committee that helps to guide the conservation organization in its mission to make the skies full of waterfowl again.
He especially encouraged Congress to support strong conservation measures in the Farm Bill and appropriations for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
CPC members were also joined by members of the House and Senate at a Capitol Hill reception to celebrate the beginning of the waterfowl nesting season. The reception gave Members of Congress from around the country a chance to interact with the volunteers.
"As a DU member, I care about waterfowl habitat, and that habitat is greatly affected by decisions made in Washington," Kruse said. "I want wetlands conservation to be a priority for Iowa's Congressional Delegation."
"Letting our representatives in Washington know that their constituents are informed and concerned about the future of the Farm Bill is one of the best ways to ensure its reauthorization," said Joseph Satrom, director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited's Great Plains Regional Office.
A life-long resident of northwest Iowa, Kruse lives in Storm Lake with his wife, Colleen, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a water management technologist.
Kruse has served as Area, Zone, District, and State Chairman locally, as well as State Trustee and Regional Vice President at the national level for Ducks Unlimited. He and his wife currently chair the Iowa DU State Convention Committee.
The Farm Bill, which is being debated in conference, has several conservation provisions that are farmer-friendly and needed for waterfowl and wetlands habitat, he said. CPC members reminded their Senators and Representatives that Farm Bill programs are critical to protecting millions of acres of breeding and wintering habitat for waterfowl.
CPC members also lobbied about appropriations for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a popular matching grants program that has conserved more than 23 million acres of habitat across North America. One of the most const-effective conservation programs in history, NAWCA projects usually leverage $2-3 in partner contributions for every $1 from the federal government.
The U.S. is currently losing 80,000 wetland acres each year.