Why Hunters & Anglers Should Care About Clean Water Act Rules

hunter-takes-aim-on-an-animal-in-a-tree_w483_h725The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been in the works to provide clarification to the Clean Water Act as to which waters are covered by these protections. In the last decade EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, USDA, the court system, landowners, and conservationists have been in a confusing and frustrating tango as to which waters are and are not regulated under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule making reinforces the Act’s legal and scientific foundation, provides greater long-term regulatory certainty for landowners and enhances protection for America’s streams, wetlands, and other waters.
Under the Clean Water Act, it is the EPA’s job ensure that the U.S. waters are clean, protected, and working toward the benefit of fish and wildlife and humans, for such things as agriculture, drinking water, industry, and outdoor recreation such as hunting, and fishing.The rule definitively restores Clean Water Act protection to two major categories of waters: 1. Tributaries to waters already covered by the Clean Water Act – For example, intermittent headwater streams that have a defined bed and bank and flow to a water already covered by the CWA; and 2. Wetlands, lakes, and other waters located adjacent to or within the floodplain of these tributaries.
Hunting and fishing bring in a combined $200 billion dollars of revenue and impact the U.S. economy in numerous ways. This revenue then goes back into the environment via fishery restoration and habitat conservation. While this rule is beneficial for fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation, it also preserves the existing exemptions for farming, forestry, mining and other land use activities which are also critical to the economy. The rule also – for the first time – explicitly excludes many upland water features important for farming and forestry, giving industry and landowners more certainty.
MUCC is asking that organizations sign on the a letter of endorsement to say the outdoor community is in support of EPA’s proposed rules on the Clean Water Act. The link to the letter is found here and you can complete the form to sign on an organization that you represent.
MUCC’s grassroots manager, Drew YoungeDyke also is preparing various communications to go to members of the media. We ask you and any organization you are a member of to also contact your local media. Contact Drew at dyoungedyke@mucc.org for a letter to the editor template and additional talking points to use.
Individuals can also take action by supporting the Clean Water Act rules by submitting comments to the EPA, for more details on how to do this please see our last post.

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