Sportsmen Lose Ground in Fight Against Conservation Program Cuts

The current crisis over plans to eliminate many federal conservation programs has been well-documented here and here. In response to these plans hunters and anglers let their voice be heard, and many thought we had made progress. But as F&S's Bob Marshall writes in his column for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, we're apparently back to square one.

From the story:
For waterfowlers, the news is official: Those record-breaking rains that created the flooding Mississippi River have left the northern breeding grounds in such great shape we can expect a bumper duck production this summer. Then why was the president of Ducks Unlimited in such a glum mood Friday morning? Because the political conditions in Washington for the future of duck hunting are at their worst level in decades. Maybe ever. The controlling Republican caucus in the House has renewed its attacks on the two most important waterfowl conservation programs. It plans deep if not total cuts to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act , and big hits to the conservation titles in the Farm Bill, including the critical Conservation Reserve Program.

Bottom line: They're hitting ducks in the uplands where they nest, and the wetlands where they spend the rest of their lives. "I'm kind of stunned this morning," said Dale Hall, CEO of DU, the sportsmen's group that is the largest and most effective wetlands conservation organization in the world. "Just a few days ago it looked like we were making progress, convincing more than 100 House members that these programs were good for the economy, not just ducks. "Then our folks in Washington called to say the mood had changed, and they were now talking about zero-out NAWCA in addition to deep cuts in CRP. "It looks like we're right back where we were in the spring."

Thoughts? Reaction?