Thursday, March 31, 2011

ACTION ALERT: US Congress to elimiate RC&D funding

Please write a letter to your Representative(s)
to insist that funding be continued
for the nation-wide
Resource Conservation and Development Council Program


In the CNMI, Marianas RC&D is finally back on its feet after several years of dormancy. It would be such a shame to have all of last year's hard work go to waste. Marianas RC&D recently assisted with a number of projects in the last twelve months and stands to help with many more in the next few years:

CNMI ---
  • partnership with Beautify CNMI! in tracking volunteer hours and helping process donations
  • helped make the Beautify CNMI! calendar fund-raising project possible
  • approved the partnership for the Marine Science Center project in PauPau
  • looking to facilitate other projects such as the Garapan Public Market, a fisherman's co-op and various solar projects, just to name a few
Guam ---
  • Masso Watershed Project
  • Streambank Stabilization Plan
  • Fanihi Forever
  • Friends of the Guam National Wildlife Refuge
  • Haggan Fund
  • Navigating Change Marianas
Marianas RC&D can help facilitate groups and projects to find resources, secure funding and provide guidance in project/program development. Rural community areas such as our stand to benefit from the continuation of this type of federal program. While Marianas RC&D can continue as a private non-profit, it will be less functional without its very hard working regional coordinator who helps guide the local council in so many aspects.

Funds provided to RC&D Councils
through Congressional appropriations
provide technical assistance and support
for one federal coordinator per RC&D Council.

In turn, RC&D Councils seek outside funding to address local needs identified in RC&D Council formulated area plans for conservation and economic development. In FY10, RC&D Councils were able to raise an average of $6.93 in funding (from private foundations and government grants) for every $1.00 provided by Congress. However, since 2003 program funding has remained level and inflation has thus gradually decreased the level of RC&D Council services provided to local communities. Many RC&D Councils no longer have full-time coordinators, and many program assistant positions have been eliminated. In FY 2010-2011, Marianas RC&D was able to exceed a 1:1 ratio of matching local donations through projects of more than $250,000.

By its simple nature and organization, every single person in the CNMI is an eligible member of the Marianas RC&D. The sample letter below can be used by anyone...simply adjust for your local area/community accordingly. Feel free to copy and paste this letter in its entirety to your own letterhead (or to an email) --- simply change the information where you see italics.


[insert date]

Honorable Gregorio C. Sablan
US House of Representatives
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
423 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Honorable Madeline Z. Bordallo
US House of Representatives
2441 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

RE: FY 2011 Funding for the Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program in Agriculture Appropriations

Dear Representative(s) Sablan (and/or Bordallo):

I am a member of the Marianas RC&D Council located in Mariana Islands, including both the CNMI and Guam. I would like to add my voice to the many RC&D Council Members and supporters who are urging the Senate to restore FY 2011 funding for the RC&D Program. Please note: this is a PROGRAMMATIC REQUEST and not an earmark.

The RC&D Program has created jobs and businesses, and leveraged financial means to support economic development and protect natural resources. On average, $6.93 is generated for every $1.00 of federal funds invested in the RC&D Program; for some RC&D Councils the leveraged amount is even greater.

If funding for this program is cut, there are a number of local community projects only just getting off the ground that will suffer or just simply end or not happen at all. These include an array of environmental awareness and restoration projects, species protections projects, alternative energy projects, science programs as well as various projects aimed at bringing local agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing products to market. The variety and types of assistance that RC&D bring to our community are wide.
Please show your support for our RC&D Council by asking the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to provide $50.73 million to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for the RC&D Program. Specifically, please ask them to insert the following language into the FY 2011 Agriculture Appropriations bill:

“Resource Conservation and Development Councils play an important role in job creation, rural economic development, and natural resource conservation. There are currently 375 existing RC&D Councils and 38 pending applicant Councils. The Committee provides $50.73 million to maintain the current operations of existing RC&D Councils.”


Your name
Marianas RC&D Council
Your contact information

LAST STEP --- Email your electronic copy and mail your hard copy:

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