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Sportsmen Cheer Senate Vote in Support of Clean Water

The Clean Water Restoration Act would provide conservation measures for many aquatic resources, including prairie potholes, which provide important waterfowl habitat and great hunting opportunities.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The hard work of American sportsmen to conserve our nation's wetlands and waters resulted in Congress taking a critical first step toward clean water. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee vote in support of the amended Clean Water Restoration Act was lauded on Thursday, June 18 by a coalition of prominent hunting, angling and conservation organizations, including the TRCP, Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited, which stressed the necessity of the legislation in sustaining clean water and essential habitat for fish and wildlife populations.

The committee's passage of the amended measure reaffirms the original intent of the Clean Water Act to broadly conserve the water quality of the streams, lakes and wetlands that are so important to our country and our sporting heritage. The voice of hunters and anglers played a crucial role in the advancement of this legislation, with sportsmen from around the country urging their senators to support this bill.

"Hunters and anglers know first-hand the importance of wetlands, lakes and streams," said Geoff Mullins, TRCP policy initiative manager. "Restoring these clean water protections will ensure that sportsmen can enjoy these resources for generations. Thursday's committee vote represents the biggest step yet towards restoring these much needed protections in the past eight years."

The Thursday vote builds momentum for the introduction of corresponding legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. In recent years, Supreme Court decisions have stripped federal protections for geographically isolated wetlands and intermittent ephemeral streams. As a result, it is now easier for wetlands and other waters to be polluted, drained, filled and paved. These protections must be restored in order to help conserve our remaining wetlands and enhance our nation's aquatic resources. The TRCP's Wetlands Working Group is encouraged by this important first step and is eager to continue to work to restore these protections.

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