On July 26th, 2017, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced S.1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act (HELP Wildlife Act). Trout Unlimited supports this bill, which reauthorizes a number of useful conservation programs until 2023. The reauthorized programs that Trout Unlimited is particularly supportive of include:
- North Americans Wetlands Conservation Act
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act
- Chesapeake Bay Program
- Partnerships among public agencies and interested partners for promoting fish conservation
- New Amendment added: More funding for the Great Lakes Geological Survey science program
Many of these programs, like the Chesapeake Bay Program, allow TU to partner with private landowners and the government to help restore water and fish habitat. Many of these programs help protect some of the most vulnerable regions in the U.S. To show support of the HELP Wildlife Act, Trout Unlimited is sending letters of support to congress members.
An archive of the hearing and witness testimony is available here.
170725_TU Ltr_S.1514-HELP Wildlife Act_markup.pdf
July 25, 2017
RE: Trout Unlimited support for S.1514.
Dear Senator Barrasso, Senator Carper, and members of the Committee:
Trout Unlimited supports S.1514, The HELP for Wildlife Act of 2017. This bill includes valuable provisions to conserve fish and wildlife habitat that will sustain outstanding hunting and fishing opportunities across the country. We appreciate the strong leadership demonstrated by Senators Barasso, Cardin and the bill’s bipartisan co-sponsors, in advancing sportsmen’s conservation issues.
S. 1514 includes the reauthorization of some of our nation’s most successful conservation programs such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). NFWF has been especially valuable to Trout Unlimited for many years, providing funding for some of the Nation’s best stream and river restoration projects.
For example, in Wyoming, TU partnered with landowners and the State to implement projects throughout the Greybull River drainage, including culvert improvement and riparian restoration projects that restore and reconnect historical habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
HELP would also reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Chesapeake is one of the Nation’s hunting and fishing gems. Damaged by nutrient pollution, the Bay is making a good comeback due to the Chesapeake Bay program and the incredible partnership of state, federal, local, farming and conservation interests. In the Bay’s headwaters in West Virginia and Virginia, TU has had good success using Chesapeake Bay and NFWF funds to work with farmers to restore streams, thereby improving fishing in the mountains but also improving water quality in the Bay.
We are especially pleased that the bill includes the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, which would encourage fish habitat partnerships nationwide to work with landowners of all types to achieve broad scale fisheries benefits. Nineteen partnerships are already underway, restoring fish habitat from Alaska to Maine, and this bill will ensure that those partnerships will be sustained and enhanced.
The lynchpin to all of these programs is partnership. These programs bring together a broad range of partners to protect and restore thousands of miles and acres of habitat, leverage state, federal and non-profit funding sources as matching dollars, and to assist private landowners with conservation. Together, these habitat programs have amassed years of proven conservation and partnership successes, and this bill will make sure that these successes continue.
We urge you to support S. 1514, The HELP for Wildlife Act, in committee markup.
Vice President for Government Affairs