WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation to engage stakeholders like commercial fisherman, anglers, outfitters and other sportsmen industries to make lasting improvements to the health and sustainability of our nation’s fish habitats has been introduced by Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Their legislation, S.1436 The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (NFHCA) would leverage public-private partnerships and authorize $7.2 million annually for fish habitat restoration and protection projects that are supported by regional Fish Habitat Partnerships.
“Choosing to protect our natural resources is good for our environment and our economy. We need deliberate and targeted action to stem the loss of our precious aquatic resources and millions of related jobs, by ensuring that these important aquatic habitats are better preserved,” said Senator Cardin. “Our bill takes a comprehensive approach to encouraging healthier habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife as well as safer recreational waters for Americans to swim, boat and fish.”
“Protecting, maintaining, and improving fish habitat is a crucial for jobs, for recreation, and for long-term healthy fish populations,” said Senator Crapo. “Our bill encourages collaboration and partnerships between federal, regional, and local stakeholders to ensure healthy and sustainable fish populations for our communities across the nation.”
The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act (NFHCA) would improve the availability of financial and technical resources to support local fish habitat conservation efforts. NFHCA also better coordinates local efforts to restore regional fish habitat to assure that individual efforts will result in the greatest improvements to fish habitat across regional watersheds.
More than 700 species of fish can be found in the waters of North America. Fish are critical for maintaining the ecological health and balance of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems alike. They play a key role in the food chain to a wide variety of bird, reptile, and mammal species including iconic American species like Bald Eagles, Grizzly Bears, Great Blue Herons, and Alligators. The greatest threat to native fish species are the ecological impacts of habitat loss and habitat degradation.
The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act is supported Trout Unlimited.