In June, Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Ben Cardin, D-Md. introduced bipartisan legislation to authorize the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP). The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, S. 1436, authorizes $7.2 million annually for fish habitat restoration and protection projects that are supported by regional Fish Habitat Partnerships and codifies the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.
As our nation’s waterways have been dramatically altered, many populations of once abundant fish and other aquatic species now show drastic declines. Some commercial fisheries no longer exist and non-native species have had significant impacts on native species. To address these challenges, the state-led, public-private NFHP was formed in 2001. Through the efforts of 20 regional Fish Habitat Partnerships comprised of federal, state and local agencies, conservation and sportsmen's organizations, private landowners, and the business sector have created over 680 successful conservation projects benefitting fish habitat and anglers throughout the country.
AFS has had an active role in the NFHP throughout its history. AFS sits on the board of directors and AFS Executive Director Doug Austen served as vice-chair of the board when he led the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. AFS supports legislation that would formally put the NFHP into law with dedicated, sustainable funding and we encourage our membership to support this bill by calling or writing your Senators.
The National Fish Habitat Conservation Act is supported by the American Sportfishing Association, The Conservation Fund, Trout Unlimited, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.
Do you have a NFHP success story? Please share it with us! We would love to highlight your story in our efforts in support of the bill. Have you considered inviting your local congressman to see examples of the good work being done through the NFHP? August is a great time to visit with your members of Congress. Want to learn how to arrange a field visit? Get in touch with AFS policy staff to learn more!