A poll released this week by the American Sustainable Business Council shows what most anglers who have visited a fly-shop, or spent a guided day on the river already know: clean water is good for business. The poll showed that 71% of small business owners agreed that “clean water is necessary for jobs and a healthy economy.”
This poll specifically referred to a recent proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers that would restore the protections of the Clean Water Act to certain headwater streams and wetlands that are important fish and game habitat. Over the last few months, TU and our members have vocally supported this rule, pushed for it to be finalized, and defended it from Congressional attacks. The new poll shows that we’re not alone – more than 80% of small business owners favor federal protection of upstream headwaters and wetlands as proposed in this rule.
To us anglers who know what it’s like to spend too much on a new fly rod or the trip of a lifetime, the economics of clean water makes perfect sense. Nationally, 33 million anglers spend more than $48 billion directly on trips and equipment, and support more than 800,000 jobs. Jim Klug, owner of fly-fishing travel service Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures recently wrote in a Montana paper, “As a businessman, I see the value of this clean water rule to my bottom line. When you take into account the importance of sportfishing and outdoor recreation to Montana's economy, I am guessing that there are a lot of others that would agree.” Clearly, the fishing industry reflects what this poll is telling us: clean water makes business sense.