Rhinelander’s Tom Rudolph has put his mark on local and state conservation efforts as the chairman of the Oneida County Conservation/UW Extension Committee and as a representative to the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. But early last month, Rudolph put his stamp on national conservation efforts.
As a delegate to the National Association of Conservation Districts, Rudolph authored and helped adopt a resolution that could change the way the organization operates.
“This resolution will serve as an umbrella to districts to bring a sharper focus,” Rudolph said. “I expect this to replace the piece meal policies that the organization operates under at this time.”
Rudolph’s resolution will bring a focus to terrestrial invasives, or invasives species outside of waterways.
“Terrestrial invasives are rising up on the radar,” Rudolph said.
The resolution, which could become national policy, was written broadly due the nature of the different kinds of invasive species seen throughout country.
“Each region has vastly different examples of invasive species,” Rudolph said. “Out west, wild horses that trample plants are a tremendous problem. In Alaska, they have a problem with wild cows. These are significant issues.”
To deal with these varying points, Rudolph’s resolution focuses on five points as keys to increased conservation measures.
Those five measures according to the resolution are “to support initiatives to formulate legislative proposals that would provide funding to determine: 1) the distribution; 2) ecological and economical impacts; 3) management and control measures; 4) the ways and means to prevent the spread of marine, aquatic and terrestrial invasive species; and 5) address negative effects on our economy, environment and human health.”
The resolution also reflects the shift in how the national group is operating by putting the mission on lobbying legislatures to focus on conservation issues.
“The organization on the national level has become more involved in government and government policy,” Rudolph said. “More work is being done with appropriate committees.”
One major piece of legislation the national association has been working on is the recently passed Farm Bill.
“That is a piece of legislation that the association has been working on for the past three years,” Rudolph said. “The national association has pushed for some of the controls, funding and support found in this bill. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of Congress in some time.”
What made the passing of the Farm Bill especial gratifying was that the vote happened while the national meeting was going on.
“They had the vote live on a big screen so we could watch as it happened,” Rudolph said. “Once the bill passed, it was overwhelming. There were people standing and applauding.”