Sportsmen's groups have been some of the biggest backers of the water proposal, seeing the small streams and creeks that it would protect as critical habitat for fish and other wildlife. Trout Unlimited last week released a report aimed at showing how important the waters at issue in the rule are to trout and salmon habitat in key states.
"The angler community, we're not like the environmental community, it's not like we're accustomed to signing on to sign-on letters or lobbying Congress about every other environmental issue, but this is kind of a gut-check issue for people who fish," Trout Unlimited President Chris Wood said. "There is no law that has done more to improve fishing in this country than the Clean Water Act and the most important part of the Clean Water Act is the protection for intermittent and ephemeral streams, if you care about fishing."
He said his group would have to "take a hard look at" any riders added to the sportsmen's bill, however, and that he would welcome an amendment that would underscore what the rule is not intended to do.
"If they offer a more narrowly tailored amendment that addresses some of the misinformation that's out there, that makes clear that the federal government may not regulate ditches and farm ponds, we're wholly supportive of that," Wood said.