Advocating for land trusts on the Hill
Last week, I traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of Oregon land trusts during the Land Trust Alliance (LTA)’s 2023 Advocacy Days fly-in. The energy on the Hill was high, the weather was gorgeous, and the hallways were bustling with staffers and school groups.
Over the course of two days, LTA’s Owen Wozniak and I met with all eight members of the Oregon delegation. In the 118th Congress, three of Oregon’s representatives are brand new to the Hill and many offices have new staffers getting up to speed on Oregon’s natural resource and conservation priorities.
Owen and I spoke with the delegation about Farm Bill recommendations, funding for state fish and wildlife budgets, and grasslands conservation opportunities. In other offices, we had conversations about the important work land trusts are doing to utilize private, voluntary tools like conservation easements to meet conservation, wildlife, and restoration goals.
Overall, the meetings went really well, and I was encouraged by the energy and interest in land trust projects across the state. I am proud to have represented Oregon’s land trusts to federal lawmakers, and I enjoyed celebrating all of the amazing work of our members and thanking legislators who support our priorities.
Land Trust Alliance 2023 Policy Requests
During our meetings, we celebrated land trust projects in each member’s district and discussed the following LTA policy requests:
- 2023 LTA Farm Bill recommendations
- Cosponsor the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
- Cosponsor the North American Grasslands Conservation Act
- Cosponsor the Forest Conservation Easement Program
In addition, we advocated for robust funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (provides 20% of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board budget each year), increased funding for FY24 for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (funds the Forest Legacy program), and shared Pacific Forest Trust’s work to make land trusts eligible entities under the Forest Legacy program and increase forest conservation in Oregon.
During advocacy days, we met with the following members of the Oregon delegation:
- Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR 1)
- Representative Cliff Bentz (R-OR 2)
- Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3)
- Representative Valerie Hoyle (D-OR 4)
- Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR 5)
- Representative Andrea Salinas (D-OR 6)
- Senator Ron Wyden (OR-at large)
- Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-at large)
Huge thanks to the Land Trust Alliance for coordinating a very fruitful 2023 Advocacy Days!