Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, VoteWater.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
1. Anglers, Guides, and Conservationists Successfully Force Changes in Florida Water Bill
For the past few weeks, we have been posting about Florida Senate Bill 2508, which threatened some of the key tenets of Everglades restoration. After a lot of negotiation, the passed the full legislature vote on Monday, but its final form is a far cry from its original. Because of the engagement of Florida’s guide community, anglers, and conservationists–largely organized by organizations such as Everglades Foundation and Captains for Clean Water–major harm to the Everglades watershed was avoided. The bill still doesn’t do anything to help our waters, and there are some concerns remaining, but the threat it presents is significantly reduced because people who cared made their voices heard.
• A revised Lake O bill heads to DeSantis’ desk. Here’s what it means for the St. Lucie River on TCPalm.com
• UN Climate Report Highlights Importance of Everglades Restoration on communitynewspapers.com
2. A Watershed Moment for the Klamath River
On February 25, the long campaign by TU and our Klamath Tribal and conservation partners to restore the Klamath River passed a major milestone when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on proposed decommissioning of the Lower Klamath Project.
The bottom line: the DEIS recommends removing four old fish-killing dams consistent with formal agreements and the proposal built by TU and our Klamath partners to restore the Klamath River and its legendary salmon and steelhead fisheries.
Now, anglers and river advocates need to urge FERC to adopt the findings of the DEIS and issue a Final DEIS as quickly as possible so the river restoration work can begin later this year, as planned.
3. Hunters and Anglers Applaud House MAPLand Act Passage
The House of Representatives has passed the Modernizing Access to our Public Land Act (H.R. 3113)–with firm support from both Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership–which would enhance outdoor recreation opportunities on public land by investing in modern mapping systems that provide Americans with the public access information they need while using handheld GPS technology commonly found in smartphones.
The MAPLand Act will direct federal land management agencies to consolidate, digitize, and make publicly available recreational access information as geospatial files. Such records include information about:
- Legal easements and rights-of-way across private land
- Year-round or seasonal closures on roads and trails
- Road-specific restrictions by vehicle-type
- Boundaries of areas where special rules or prohibitions apply to hunting and shooting
Companion legislation in the Senate (S.904) passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in November 2021, with unanimous support. The bill now needs to clear the full Senate before it can be delivered to the president’s desk and signed into law.