Washington, DC-- The Nature Conservancy in Washington honored South Sound Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) with its “Champion of Nature” award.
Mike Stevens, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Washington, presented the award in person as he and members of the Washington Board of Trustees and staff traveled to Capitol Hill to discuss several conservation issues currently facing Congress.
The Promoting United Government Efforts to Save Our Sound (PUGET SOS) Act was introduced by Congressmen Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) this September to designate Puget Sound as a water body of national significance, ensure adequate federal resources are allocated to Puget Sound recovery, and coordinate and align federal agency efforts with the state-led efforts under the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
While presenting the award, the Conservancy and some of its volunteer leaders from Washington noted the importance of lands and waters to their families and their businesses.
In the Capitol Hill meetings, representatives of Conservancy focused on actions Congress could take to help nature be a part of the solution to improve our nation’s economy, health and well-being. Specifically, they asked Congress to renew and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired on September 30 after a successful 50-year history of conserving places in every state in the nation. They also focused on other ways to ensure sustainable funding for conservation programs and efforts to secure a cleaner and more secure energy future.
Nationally, outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation provide a minimum $1.7 trillion in economic impact in the U.S. and support 12.8 million jobs. (Southwick study, May 2013) In Washington, outdoor recreation generates $22.5 billion dollars in consumer spending.