AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004CONTINUED
DELMARVA CONSERVATION CORRIDOR DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise today, joined by my good friend and colleague from Delaware, Senator CARPER, to bring to the attention of the esteemed ranking member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee an important provision in his bill relating to the Delmarva Conservation Corridor Demonstration Program.
I just want to take a few minutes to emphasize the importance of this provision for the State of Delaware and for the entire Delmarva peninsula. As you know, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture was authorized to develop a Delmarva Conservation Corridor Demonstration Program in the 2002 farm bill. Unfortunately, the USDA has not implemented the program.
The Delmarva Conservation Corridor Demonstration Program does, however, complement the existing conservation provisions in the bill and allows the USDA to target the benefits of watershed-based conservation programs to farmlands that local stakeholders have determined to be the most ecologically and economically important.
We must prevent the shrinking and fragmentation of undeveloped open space that results from increasing growth pressures. By fortifying and restoring green infrastructure, we can maximize the ecological and working lands' potential of our landscape. Creating extensive corridors of both natural and agricultural lands will safeguard wildlife habitat, contiguous headwaters, wetlands and open space. Left unprotected, our remaining green infrastructure is vulnerable and will be further reduced or fragmented.
The Delmarva Peninsula is blessed with an abundance of important natural resources and productive working lands that support agriculture, forestry and the seafood industry. We believe that this is the right time to make this commitment to conservation that reaches across state lines and is important to a much larger region.