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Entries in Congress (32)


Fish Habitat Conservation Act Needs Your Support


Please urge your U.S. Senators to support the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, S. 2080, introduced recently by Ben Cardin of Maryland and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

Keep America Fishing says this:

“This vital piece of legislation would strengthen a program that has been in place for close to a decade and contributes to river rehabilitations, reservoir enhancements, salt-marsh protection efforts and other fishery conservation projects across the country.

“Fish habitat resources are of enormous significance to the economy of the United States providing recreation for 60 million anglers; more than 828,000 jobs and approximately $115 billion in economic impact each year relating to recreational fishing; and 575,000 jobs.

“Healthy habitat = healthy fish populations = better fishing!”

Gene Gilliland, National Conservation Director for B.A.S.S. adds, "The legislation will provide much needed funding for the 18 fish habitat partnerships.  The one that is most relevant to bass fishing is the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership and its Friends of Reservoirs Foundation.

 "But several of the other partnerships deal with fish habitat issues in lakes and rivers where you fish and need Congressional support to continue their work."

Go here to take action.The legislation noted below will provide much needed funding for the 18 fish habitat partnerships The one that is most relevant to bass fishing is the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership and its Friends of Reservoirs Foundation that many of you heard Jeff Boxrucker talk about at the Classic Conservation Summit. But several of the other partnerships deal with fish habitat issues in lakes and rivers where you fish and need Congressional support to continue their work.


Bill Introduced to Protect, Enhance Nation's Fisheries

Photo by Robert Montgomery

A bill to authorize a national partnership through a National Fish Habitat Action Plan has been introduced into the U.S. Senate, with the intent of protecting, restoring, and enhancing the nation’s fisheries.

“Choosing to protect our natural resources is good for our environment and our economy. Right now we need deliberate and targeted action to stem the loss of our precious aquatic habitats,” said Maryland’s Ben Cardin, one of the sponsors.

 “Our bill takes a comprehensive approach to stopping the single greatest cause of declining fish populations by stemming the decline of healthy aquatic ecosystems that are critical to all fish species. We need to encourage healthier habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife as well as safer recreational waters for Americans to swim, boat and fish.”

Idaho’s Mike Crapo, the other sponsor, added, “The legislation we’ve introduced stems from Senator Cardin’s and my shared goals of protecting, maintaining, and improving our fish habitats.

 “Instead of creating new regulations and mandates, our bill fosters partnerships between federal, regional, and local stakeholders to work together to promote healthy and sustainable fish populations for our communities.”

Go here to learn more.



House Group Looks to Stop Abuses of Endangered Species Act

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Arguably the bald eagle, our national emblem, would be extinct if not for the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The legislation also has helped with recovery of the wolf and alligator, as well as lesser known species.

But critics charge that it also is being abused by environmental groups that want to force the federal government to spend billions of dollars restricting use of both public and private lands and waters.

As a consequence, the U.S. House of Representatives has formed an Endangered Species Act Working Group. Throughout the coming year, the group will sponsor events, forums, and hearings on how well the act is working, how it could be updated, and how to boost its effectiveness.

“We should be good stewards of the planet God gave us and its inhabitants,” said Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford. “But federal laws protecting dwindling animal populations should be crafted to actually access the problems they intend to solve. Current law, including the ESA, is outdated and does more to protect paperwork than animals.”

As an example of the paperwork problem, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) late last summer to protect 53 new species of amphibians and reptiles. This followed closely on a 2011 settlement between the Interior Department, CBD, and WildEarth Guardians that covered 779 species in 85 lawsuits and legal actions. In exchange for FWS taking action on those species during the next seven years, the two groups agreed to limit lawsuits so that efforts could be focused on accomplishing the terms of the agreement.

This second petition does not directly violate the terms of the settlement, but it does divert money and resources away from species recovery and disregards the spirit of the settlement by adding to the agency’s backlog of petitions.

“Time and gain, CBD and other similar groups have undermined the goal of the ESA by litigating, obstructing, and frustrating the FWS while racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded attorney fees that continue to feed their litigious strategies to the detriment of species and people,” the House Committee on Natural Resources said in a statement.

As an example of the cost of implementing the ESA as it currently is enforced, FWS estimates that restoring habitat for two species of mussels--- the Neosho mucket and the rabbitsfoot--- will cost between $4.4 and $5.9 million during the next 20 years. And it  admits that  “the majority of these costs are administrative.”

“I believe that we all support the goal of wanting to preserve, protect, and recover key domestic species,” said Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “Forty years after it was signed into law, and 25 years since it was last renewed by Congress, I hope there can also be recognition that there are ways this law can be improved and made to work better for both people and species.”

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


Tell Congress That You Support Access Act for Fishing, Hunting

We’re losing our waters. Both development and government regulations--- pushing by anti-fishing groups--- are taking them away. In fact, one in five anglers has lost access to a favorite fishing spot during the past year, according to surveys.

That means federal properties --- lands and waters owned by all of us--- are more important than ever for recreational fishing.

In early 2013, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) introduced the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act (S. 170, H.R. 1825) into both chambers of Congress. This bill would facilitate the use of, and access to, federal public lands and waters for recreational fishing, hunting and shooting. 

Keep America Fishing says, “To help ensure that current and future generations are able to access and fish in our nation's federal lands and waters, please send a message to your legislators today urging them to co-sponsor this important legislation.”

Go here to take action through Keep America Fishing.


Senators Begich, Rubio Honored by CCC for Conservation Work

U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were honored by the Center for Coastal Conservation at its annual legislative conference.  Begich received the Center's Lifetime Achievement Award, and Rubio was recognized as its Conservationist of the Year.

"These two senators are extraordinary leaders for conservation," said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.  "Their commitment to good stewardship of America's marine fishery resources is making a difference from coast to coast to coast."

Begich chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, and has long been an advocate for proper management of fishery resources.  He was an original co-author of the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA) in the last Congress and is proud that anglers today enjoy great salmon fishing in the heart of Anchorage thanks to the award-winning Salmon in the City program he launched while mayor there in 2007.

Begich is guiding the reauthorization process for the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the overarching federal law governing marine fisheries. He recently delivered the closing remarks at the Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries Conference in which he highlighted some of the difficulties MSA has created for recreational fisheries as well as other challenges, such as the loss of marine habitat through the removal of “Idle Iron” in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Congress has taken some major steps forward to make our marine fisheries sustainable but we have a lot more to do," said Begich.  "Sound scientific management needs to be our priority as we work toward reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act this Congress."

Rubio, the Ranking Republican on the same Subcommittee, hails from America's #1 state for marine recreational fishing and was also an original co-sponsor of FSIA.   An avid angler himself, he sees the $17+ billion economic impact of recreational fishing in the Sunshine State.

“I am honored to be the Center's Conservationist of the Year. Federal fisheries management is broken for recreational fishing,” said Senator Rubio. “It is vital that we address the problems faced by our recreational anglers when Congress reauthorizes the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  This industry is a huge economic driver for our state and we must ensure those recreational fishermen who use the waters and precious resources surrounding Florida can continue to enjoy their favorite pastime.  I look forward to working with the Center for Coastal Conservation and other stakeholders as we begin this important debate.”