On August 8, former Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Congressman Rob Wittman introduced the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act (H.R. 6660), a bill that authorizes an important fisheries conservation effort to restore and enhance fish habitat and fish populations across the country and improve angling opportunities.
The National Fish Habitat Partnership currently consists of 20 strategic partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies, conservation and sportsmen’s organizations, private landowners, and the business sector. The goal of the program is to develop a partnership effort for fish similar to the highly successful model for waterfowl implemented in the 1980s through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Although the program has been administered through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than a decade, it has never been Congressionally authorized.
“We very much appreciate Congressman Wittman for his efforts to finally authorize this important program,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Fisheries Program Senior Director Chris Horton. “Even with very limited resources, to date this collection of locally-driven, collaborative partnerships between anglers, landowners, businesses, state and federal agencies has done a remarkable job in protecting and enhancing fish habitats across the country. It is time that Congress officially authorizes the program and provides the National Fish Habitat Partnership with an opportunity to realize its full potential to restore and enhance fish habitat, increase angling opportunities and improve water quality and the nation’s aquatic resources for all Americans.”
A Senate companion bill, S. 1436, introduced by former CSC Co-Chair Senator Mike Crapo (ID) and Senator Ben Cardin (MD) was recently included in the HELP for Wildlife Act (S. 1514), which passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 26, 2017.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?