Tiffany Turner

August 16, 2021

What the Latest Global Climate Report Means for Sportsmen and Sportswomen

The unquestionable impacts of climate change are affecting the places where you hunt and fish

A new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe. This leaves no question that fish and wildlife habitat in the U.S. is experiencing impacts.

This should come as no surprise to the hunting and fishing community that has long been on the front lines of climate change and working to adapt to the effects. Extreme drought, sea-level rise, flooding, and catastrophic fire are climate-driven events that have increasingly become a part of our daily lives and threaten our hunting and fishing heritage.

Warming temperatures and drought in the Prairie Pothole Region and other waterfowl habitats have dried up wetlands and shortened wet seasons. Sea levels continue to rise, displacing critical marshlands along with fish spawning grounds. Largescale flooding and record-high king tides have caused saltwater to move into lakes and rivers, increasing salinity and decreasing freshwater trout and salmon populations. Meanwhile, big game like deer and elk are experiencing concurrent heatwaves, drought, and fire conditions, further challenging migration and altering seasonal habitat.

The IPCC’s reports provide governments with the objective scientific information needed to develop climate policies. The data in this assessment—the sixth overall and the first since 2014—made it clear that quick and dramatic actions are required at national, state, and local levels to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Truly comprehensive climate legislation must address this and include expanded roles for our nation’s water- and land-based systems that could mitigate at least 20 percent of our carbon emissions. The Senate recently passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which represents a significant investment in infrastructure. The TRCP advocated for several critical provisions in the legislation that will improve habitat through nature-based solutions.

The IPCC will release two more reports in 2022 to further expand on the data and offer adaptation and mitigation recommendations, but we can’t afford to hesitate. The TRCP is already leading a coalition of 40 other hunting, fishing, and conservation nonprofits to advance land- and water-based climate solutions that mitigate the impacts of climate change and in improve habitat along the way. In July 2020, the coalition released the Sportsmen & Sportswomen Climate Statement centered around seven focus areas: adaptation; agriculture; coastal resilience; forests, rangeland, and grassland; rivers, lakes, and streams; oceans; and wetlands. Many of the solutions we’ve identified for climate are conservation projects that also provide better hunting and fishing opportunities.

Stay up to date with the TRCP as we track legislation that would help improve habitat, limit harmful emissions, and capture or sequester carbon to combat climate change. And if your hunting or fishing has been affected by climate change, tell us how.

14 Responses to “What the Latest Global Climate Report Means for Sportsmen and Sportswomen”

  1. Tav Gauss

    fact check your prairie pothole info. Ducks are hatching but for the last 3 years they’ve not come as far south because of the warmer weather up north and the water and food available north of typical southern climes. I have been a duck hunter for 56 years.

  2. Michael C Hope

    New report from (IPCC)..ha that’s funny. I hunted the duck factory (ND) last fall, frigid temps in October. One of the best fall flights–both from breeding numbers and migration, on record. Junk science reigns supreme here. If one is really concerned about a cleaner planet why don’t you stop supporting China, the world’s largest polluter and pillager of our oceans. Might have to give up your ipad, iphone, iwatch though. Can’t do that.

    • Virgil Stephen Jones

      In response to comment by M. C. H…I’m not sure about your term “junk science” but with regards to your statement “why don’t you stop supporting China” WAKE UP!!! Yes China is a major polluter, so is the good old USA. As for your statement about your frigid October temps last year, great, hoped you enjoyed it. I’m also a waterfowl hunter (from Alabama) been dodging snakes in the duck swamps for decades. It ain’t fun sitting down in a blind with a water moccasin, but I’ve done it. Point is, if we felt it was cool enough to go we went. On the cold days, we stayed as long as we could stand it. Don’t go much anymore. To warm. Point is, it’s NOT junk science, it’s climate change. It’s a world wide problem. If you don’t get that, you must not be paying attention. Or maybe you’re getting your news from the wrong folks. Stay tuned to the TRCP, they’re on top of it.

    • Kenneth Lane

      China? Really? Sensing a bias and excessive watching of a certain news syndicate. Research is primary to honest responses to today’s insane weather patterns. Our planet needs to response but in an intelligent way not irrational politics. Surprised our boarder situation didn’t come up for you.

    • Jack Sorum

      That was last year. I live in ND and I’m telling you the drought has had a major impact on wetlands and waterfowl. We own land with wetlands that are dry for the first time in 20 years. Duck production has tanked. I hunted last year, it was great. This year is going to suck. This article is spot on!!

  3. Michael C.Pope,

    It’s not junk science. You’re confusing climate and weather. There are observable weather events that add up to a “climate” for a given region. I’ve traveled from the southern U.S. to Alaska, and many places in between. No matter where I spend time, record setting weather events are occurring.
    Looking at the science, is more than a one duck-hunting season. At almost 60 years of age, I’ve watched this change and many of my favorite trout streams, or caribou grounds have declined in health and diversity.
    There is much more science to this than I can convey, as I’m not a scientist, but follow climate, weather, and am in the field as both a hunter/angler and citizen scientist, for Oregon’s fish and wildlife agency, and have worked in conservation.
    I hope in your lifetime, you don’t witness the substantial declines in fish and wildlife I have.

    • Michael C Hope

      @Karl. First thanks for the civil discourse. I’m not confusing climate and weather. Simply stating that if the Earth is a fraction of the age “scientists” claim it is then there isn’t sufficient data to back claims of climate change. Think back to your junior high school days learning the scientific method. How long have we been accurately recording the temperatures across the globe? Not too long and certainly not long enough for these claims. Scientists also claimed an ice age was coming. Still waiting on that one. Since we are only several years apart it is probably safe to say that we have witnessed the same or similar trends of fish and wildlife. I have witnessed the return of Bald Eagles, Turkeys, and White Tail Deer. If the “climate” is effecting these things, is it good or bad or which species due we decide to side with?

      • Kenneth Lane

        Faction of the age? Again that plain and clear reference to Fox Facts———seeing a trend here Mike. Not to criticize, more to help out. As to duck hunting, drawing conclusions from experiences on a small part of a flyway do not make for policy decisions but do point out taking too narrow a viewpoint in err. I hunted in the boom times 1960’s 1970’s and saw both cycles and trends change season by season. I was a hunt most days of our seasons type hunter then.

      • Larry Cowden

        The evidence of climate change has been recorded over billions of year locked away in fossils and rocks. From changing O2 levels to CO2, temperatures, seas rising and falling. We as man have been physically recording the temperatures for over 200 years along with natural observations. Global temperatures are rising and that is proven scientific fact. They have risen faster in the last 150 years than at any other time in geological history! The evidence is declining glaciers and sea ice. Alpine meadows disappearing along with their species, shell fish and coral decimation due to rising sea temperatures, increased CO2 dumping and acidification of oceans. I have seen the evidence! I challenge you to prove otherwise! Check Glacier National Park! Check the Great Barrier Reef! Check Greenland!

    • Carol Kemmerer

      Just so you know …. it is or should be proven fact…..we just can’t fix stupid!
      Climate change is real and happening all over the world!!!!! I believe in science not these idiots spewing nonsense all over the internet.

  4. Oscar Mace

    It is apparent that hunters and anglers are boots-on-the-ground citizen scientists recording observations about wildlife populations and environmental conditions. Respectfully, interpretations based on these observations cannot be judged right or wrong regarding climate change. The controversy associated with climate change is its scapegoating feature so that everything under the sun is blamed on climate change, and this scapegoating makes for bad science. These citizen scientist observations need to be incorporated into the climate change research discussions, and monitoring programs need to be developed in order to better understand how and if these observations can be correlated to climate change.

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Kristyn Brady

July 29, 2021

House Votes to Increase Key Conservation Funds that Benefit Waterfowl, Deer, and Sportfish

The chamber passed a “minibus” package of appropriations bills outlining funding for the federal agriculture, energy, water, environment, and public land agencies, including investments in conservation that will affect hunting and fishing in America

In a 219 – 208 floor vote this afternoon, the House passed a “minibus” package of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022, including those that fund conservation at the federal agencies overseeing agriculture, energy, water, the environment, and public lands.

Experts at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have scrutinized these funding levels and identified important increases in several areas, including drought resiliency, wetlands conservation, private land conservation, big game herd health, and habitat restoration in the Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, and Upper Mississippi River watershed.

“We’re pleased to see the House supporting robust and increased investment in conservation at a time when public land visitation is up, participation in hunting and fishing is growing, and our natural resources face many challenges, including climate change, drought, development, invasive species, wildfire, and disease,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “We have to create certainty for the federal workers who keep hunters and anglers safe on our public lands and waters and give them the resources to improve habitat and stave off risk—rather than scramble to recover after losses or watch maintenance backlogs grow. This requires investment. We look forward to working with the Senate to secure these funding levels and seize additional opportunities to commit to conservation in fiscal year 2022.”

Some highlights of the appropriations package include:

  • $25 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Drought Response Program, which is $10 million more than FY21
  • $350 million for Army Corps construction projects within the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program—an increase of $100 million over FY21, although less than half of what the TRCP and conservation partners had pushed for to expedite completion of authorized Everglades restoration projects
  • $50 million for North American Wetlands Conservation Act programs, up by $3.5 million
  • A $65-million bump in funding for conservation technical assistance available to private landowners who enhance habitat, bringing total program funding to $894 million
  • A $44-million increase for Bureau of Land Management habitat programs, bringing the total to $233 million
  • $33.5 million for Upper Mississippi River restoration
  • $15 million for Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • $10 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to assist state agencies in CWD containment

While the funding measure takes an important step in growing federal investment in several areas important to wildlife, conservation needs continue to outpace funding. Challenges ranging from chronic wasting disease to drought are affecting hunters, anglers, landowners, and fish and wildlife. The TRCP looks forward to working with lawmakers in the Senate to support these critical funding needs for FY22 and years to come.

 

Photo by RimLight Media

Randall Williams

July 28, 2021

An Inspiring Tale of Generosity and Stewardship to Help Nevada’s Bighorns

Hunters and conservation groups step up to support Nevada’s wild sheep in a time of need

In parts of the arid West, water is often the limiting factor for populations of desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife. Over the years, groups like the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited,  and the Wild Sheep Foundation have partnered with the Nevada Department of Wildlife to build structures known as guzzlers. These manmade water sources provide a reliable supply of drinking water for all types of local wildlife and help to distribute sheep throughout the range. Typically, these water catchments are filled by collecting rain on an apron, but without adequate precipitation they need to be filled by helicopter or else they’ll run dry.

This year’s heat and drought, which has been prolonged and severe in southern Nevada, drove Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn president Clint Bentley to ask his fellow hunters and sheep fanatics for help. And—as usual—sportsmen and sportswomen rose to the challenge, making a huge difference for wild sheep and offering another extraordinary example of hunters and conservationists opening their wallets to support wildlife.

Here’s Clint’s story:

Like much of the West, Nevada has been hot and dry this summer. Simply put, there has been no habitat anywhere in the southern part of the state with any greenery whatsoever. Everything is totally brown and dead, so the nutritional value for our wild sheep is basically zero. That has been as big a concern to me as the lack of water, because we can haul water, but we can’t just replace their food-base.

What worries me most—and not just me, but Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Wild Sheep Foundation—is that this lack of nutrition and lack of water will cause our lamb survival rate and recruitment to plummet. These conditions are just devastating to the lamb crop.

In conditions like we’ve been experiencing lately, where there hasn’t been enough rainfall to replenish the guzzlers, we need to supplement them with water hauls, primarily using aircraft.

 

Between August 11 of last year through January 8 of this year, we hauled 167,000 gallons of water, with more than 160,000 gallons of that by helicopter. That amounts to somewhere between 800 and 1,000 helicopter trips to deliver water to 28 different guzzler sites on 13 different mountain ranges.

Then, in three weeks this June, we hauled another 71,000 gallons by helicopter to nine mountain ranges and 15 different sites. On June 24, 2021, we flew water surveillance flights to 16 different guzzler sites on three different mountain ranges and saw there would be an urgent need for additional water in early August.

At that point, however, we had totally depleted the FDB’s emergency water haul fund. I started that fund seven years ago, and we’ve been building it ever since because I knew we’d need it someday. But it doesn’t take very long to deplete a large sum of money when you start flying helicopters ten hours a day.

So, knowing the conditions on the ground and the state of our account—I think we had $4,000 left, which wouldn’t cover anything—something needed to be done to help our sheep.

The day after our water surveillance flight, I made a request on behalf of the Fraternity of Desert Bighorns at the Wild Sheep Foundation’s 13th Chapters and Affiliates Summit for any financial assistance to help us in the upcoming months of water hauling. I was secretly hoping to garner $50 to $60,000 from this request.

Instead, it received a response far beyond my hopes and expectations: WSF and NBU-Fallon each pledged $30,000 and 17 chapters and affiliates as well as two individuals combined to pledge another $122,000. The grand total amounted to $182,000.

As a result, on August 1st we will begin three days of recon flights to establish where we need to start hauling water. These funds will be going directly to keeping wild sheep on the mountain.

I still get tears in my eyes thinking of everyone who contributed. It has strengthened my faith in all of these groups and reestablished that we all really are in this for the benefit of wild sheep and all of the other wildlife that depend on these same guzzlers. It’s just so reassuring to see how everyone is truly committed to the same cause.

What’s important is not just that we can raise this amount of money, it’s how those funds will be used. That money is going to go into the ground to keep our wild sheep healthy. And these water hauls have already saved the day on two mountain ranges where the herds were in serious trouble. Sheep were going to start dying if we didn’t get water there, plain and simple.

Over the last 50 years, hunters and conservation groups have worked to increase Nevada’s wild sheep population from basically 2,000 to 12,000. At the same time, we’ve been able to augment sheep numbers in Texas, Utah, and Oregon. Clearly, the commitment that led to those successes is alive and well in our community.

I get overwhelmed every time I look at the list of those groups and individuals and see what everybody is willing to do for our wild sheep. I was just praying for $50 to $60,000 and then the response that we got it—well, it just chokes me up. What else can I say?

Guest Blogger Randall L. Behm

June 23, 2021

Why Giving Rivers Space to Flood Helps Fish, Wildlife, and Communities

Levees built right on the riverbank were once the golden standard for preventing dangerous flooding, but setting structures back from the river could help communities faced with increasingly costly storms, while improving habitat

As common flood protection structures, earthen levees line American rivers and streams. Levees constructed in response to historic river flooding—where property damage soared and life loss steadily increased—have been relied upon for generations.

But these manmade barriers also work against our natural environment. Connectivity of a river to its floodplain is critical for the exchange of flows with the river, which deposit and transport sediment through the watershed and support the sustainability of fish and wildlife populations. Levee construction across our major river systems has interrupted and prevented this natural and beneficial ecological function of floodplains.

Over time, Congress acknowledged the adverse impacts of human development that depletes habitat by passing the National Environmental Policy Act in 1970 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973, among other legislation. But levees are still used today. Fortunately, there is a way to make communities more resilient from flooding and reconnect habitat that relies on life-giving sediment and river flows.

It’s Not a Question of Whether Levees are Good or Bad

Numerous levees have performed and continue to perform as they were originally intended. Just ask someone from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For that matter, just ask me. After 34 years of service with the Corps, I’ve seen the good and the bad associated with levees.

On the one hand, levees have prevented devastating flooding from occurring in large cities and small towns—protecting critical facilities (like hospitals, fire and ambulance stations, utility distribution services, government buildings, and military bases) as well as acres upon acres of productive farmland.

However, many of these levees were designed before we began experiencing the apparent effects of climate change, which could pose higher risks now and in the future.

A levee’s height and width will not change once it has been constructed. No matter how much you water it, that levee will not grow. The design conditions are static, with levee performance being based upon the hydrology and hydraulics from when the levee was originally designed. Unfortunately, the climate is dynamic and, as we have witnessed over the past decade, the intensity and frequency of severe weather is increasing along with the failure of vulnerable levees—most recently within the lower Missouri River Basin.

When a levee fails, the results can be catastrophic to people, buildings, infrastructure, livestock, and cropland. Setting levees back far enough to allow the river more room to convey flood waters, while protecting all landward assets, could solve multiple problems.

The photo on the left below illustrates the devastation to the land after a levee breach occurred along the Missouri River during the 2011 flood. The photo on the right illustrates the levee setback that was implemented after the flood, improving flood conveyance, reducing the depth of inevitable floods, and increasing the resiliency of the levee.

Levee breach and levee setback located along the Missouri River. Photos by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Further, the land located riverward of the levee has been enrolled into conservation easements, reconnecting a large portion of the historic floodplain and allowing for that critical exchange of flow between the river and the floodplain.

Environmental Benefits of Levee Setback Projects

Diversification of flood flows through reconnection of the historic floodplain to the river is the greatest environmental benefit associated with a levee setback like this one. As shown in the images below, fish and wildlife are flourishing within the conservation easements, because they mimic natural ponds and wetlands. The positive trade-off of transitioning some productive cropland to conservation easements by realigning the levee is that fewer levee failures will occur, the setback levee is more resilient to flooding, and the environment has an opportunity to recover.

View of fish and wildlife using conservation easement near a setback along the Missouri River.
Consider the Setbacks

The cost of setting a levee back from the river can be millions of dollars. The cost of not setting back certain levees, especially those that continue to encounter flood damage, may be costlier in terms of damage to buildings, infrastructure, livestock, cropland, and the environment. While funding from the federal government flows with fewer restrictions to states and local governments after a disaster, it would be beneficial for states and federal agencies to identify vulnerable levees now—prior to flooding.

We must acknowledge that our needs have changed since levees were first designed and constructed. Continuing to rebuild after every damaging flood, rather than implement forward-thinking solutions, like levee setbacks, all but guarantees that fish and wildlife habitat will continue to suffer.

Learn more about this issue and proposed solutions here.

Randall Behm is retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after 34 years as a professional engineer. As a consultant, he now works nationally on the implementation of nonstructural flood mitigation measures and advocates for the setback of perennially damaged levees to improve flood-risk management and environmental benefits.

Top photo by Justin Wilkens on Unsplash

by:

posted in: Climate Change

June 2, 2021

18 Hits (and a Few Misses) for Conservation in Biden’s Budget

The annual budget request, which guides Congress on administration priorities, emphasizes natural climate solutions but overlooks some critical Western water quality and quantity conservation efforts

Just before the Memorial Day weekend, the White House released its proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, which could push Congress to create new conservation programs and invest more heavily in existing efforts to restore fish and wildlife habitat.

The TRCP policy team has read the proposal with an eye toward some of the most important line items for fish and wildlife conservation. First, the Biden budget proposal makes some of the most meaningful investments targeted at addressing climate change we’ve ever seen, taking a refreshing “whole of government approach” and mobilizing the entire federal government to take climate-smart actions.

The White House also recommended increasing investments in many priorities important to sportsmen and sportswomen, including improving public land access and reconnecting fragmented habitats.

“For the first time ever, a president’s budget is sent to Congress that places action on climate change right where it belongs: front and center,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “It is refreshing to see investments in forest health, the national wildlife refuge system, full implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, among many other positive developments.”

“Congress holds the power of the pursestrings and will ultimately decide how to fund conservation with this proposal in mind, and we look forward to working with decision-makers to invest in critical areas of need, including water quality, climate-resilient habitat, private land conservation, public access to outdoor recreation, and conservation jobs,” says Fosburgh.

Here are the team’s major takeaways in four key areas.

migration corridors
Photo courtesy of Sara Domek.
Climate Change

The president’s budget lays out a “whole of government” approach to tackling the climate crisis, with more than $36 billion in investments for FY22—an increase of more than $14 billion compared to this year. This funding would support new programs or enhance existing efforts through conservation, planning, technical assistance, and research, while actively creating jobs. The plan’s emphasis on ecosystem resilience and research is good news for fish and wildlife habitat that could be improved to capture and sequester more carbon while boosting our hunting and fishing opportunities.

Other key line items:

  • An additional $325 million for forest health programs at the Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture to mitigate the risks and impacts of catastrophic wildfires. This includes $20 million in new funding for Healthy Forests Reserve Program which helps landowners restore, enhance, and protect forest resources on private lands to promote the recovery of threatened and endangered species, improve biodiversity enhance carbon sequestration.
  • $914 million for climate-smart agriculture practices (see Private Land section below), including $161 million to help private landowners integrate science-based tools into conservation planning for carbon sequestration.
  • $500 million in new dedicated funding for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, which helps communities proactively use the power of habitat to lessen the impacts of future storms and other disasters. This was one of the priorities identified by the TRCP’s coalition pushing for conservation solutions that put Americans back to work in the wake of the pandemic.

Learn more about the climate provisions supported by the TRCP-led Conservationists for Climate Solutions coalition.

Photo by Kyle Mlynar
Public Land

The president’s budget proposal recognizes the value of migration corridors and modernizing public land access data so that outdoor recreation is truly accessible to all. It would also fund important place-based efforts to conserve iconic American fish and wildlife resources. Perhaps most importantly, a little more than $59 million has been proposed for improving recreational access across Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service lands. This is a decrease from $67.5 million in FY21, but it far exceeds the $27-million minimum for access projects set by the 2019 John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

Other key line items:

  • A $6.1-million increase for the Bureau of Land Management to address habitat fragmentation and advance efforts “to identify, protect, conserve, and restore functional, landscape-level wildlife migration, dispersal, and daily movement corridors.”
  • An $82-million increase for the National Wildlife Refuge System to help address staffing and upkeep needs for some of the nation’s best public lands. The $584 million budget set in the president’s request is the largest-ever proposed for the refuge system, which could also be open to more hunting and fishing than ever before under this administration.
  • A $28-million increase for BLM Resource Management Planning that would enable the agency to update decades-old land management plans that could be used to conserve big game migration corridors and winter range, manage and support outdoor recreation, and expand and provide access for millions of Americans.
  • No new resources were proposed to support the Corridors Mapping Team at the U.S. Geological Survey, which is responsible for working with state agencies to map migration corridors, but agency officials on a June 2 briefing call did commit to continue funding this work through the Cooperative Research Unit program. The TRCP hopes to see the USGS corridors mapping work expanded in the future.
Photo by Tim Donovan/FWC.
Private Land

The president is proposing a $2.6-billion increase—or a 9-percent bump—to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s discretionary budget, which includes $914 million to support the adoption of climate-smart agriculture and forestry. But the full USDA budget is projected to shrink by almost $17.4 billion, to $198 billion, after the sunset of COVID-19 emergency support payments.

The White House is seeking an increase of $43 million for more technical assistance to landowners through the Natural Resource Conservation Service, which is critical to enabling agricultural producers, conservation districts, and local officials to make informed decisions about conservation planning. The TRCP supports this increase, but more funding is needed to enable the tidal changes in land stewardship that the administration has promised.

Other key line items:

  • Level funding, or $175 million, for the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Operations Program.
  • USDA will increase resources for CWD research, although it has not shared a specific funding level at this time.
  • No cuts to USDA mandatory program spending, which includes the suite of conservation programs included in the farm bill.
Photo by Lael P. Johnson
Water Resources

In the water space, the president’s budget is, unfortunately, a mixed bag for hunters and anglers. Overall, the Bureau of Reclamation’s budget is cut by almost 10 percent from FY21 funding levels, and WaterSMART—a critical program for restoring fish habitat and developing solutions to water shortage issues brought on by drought, aging infrastructure, and agriculture and population strains—is cut by nearly 63 percent in what seems like a glaring oversight. This represents the smallest investment in WaterSMART since 2015, down from $55 million in FY21 to roughly $15 million in the current proposal.

“The TRCP has long championed solutions to water supply crises in Western states and, more broadly, proposals that improve both water quality and quantity across the country,” says Melinda Kassen, TRCP’s senior counsel and interim water resources director. “We look forward to working with Congress to make sure that these programs receive adequate funding as the FY22 budget process unfolds, and we appreciate the cooperation of both Congress and the administration to support and fund these mission-critical water initiatives.”

Some other water programs did see increases, and funding for the Environmental Protection Agency increased substantially across the board.

Other key line items:

  • A modest $3-million increase for the EPA’s “319” program, which provides grants to projects that help rivers and streams withstand the impacts of polluted runoff.
  • A large additional outlay of $232 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, including the Green Project Reserve for natural infrastructure, water efficiency, and other environmentally innovative projects.
  • An additional $580 million for initiatives to remediate orphan wells and abandoned mineswhere heavy metals and acidic runoff cause water quality issues—tripling the current annual discretionary funding for these purposes. The proposal also includes $165 million for the Abandoned Mine Land and Economic Revitalization program, which will help accelerate remediation and reclamation work on Department of Interior lands.
  • $340 million for Great Lakes restoration, which is $10 million over FY21 enacted levels.
  • $90 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program to continue leading on the restoration of the Bay.
  • $350 million for the Central Everglades Restoration Program is less than half of what the TRCP and others would like to see, but it’s still an increase of almost $100 million over FY21. Here’s where the massive Everglades restoration effort stood at the end of 2020.

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As our nation rebounds from the COVID pandemic, policymakers are considering significant investments in infrastructure. Hunters and anglers see this as an opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations.

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