The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) advanced S. 1514, The Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act (HELP for Wildlife Act), on July 26. The bill contains several provisions important to conservationists, sportsmen, and fisheries managers including re-authorizations of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Chesapeake Bay Program. Many of these programs help protect some of the most vulnerable regions in the U.S. through partnerships between private landowners and the government to restore fish habitat.
AFS is especially pleased that the bill includes the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, which would encourage fish habitat partnerships nationwide to work with landowners of all types to achieve broad scale fisheries benefits. Nineteen partnerships are already underway, restoring fish habitat across the country, and this bill will ensure that those partnerships will be sustained and enhanced.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo), chairman of EPW, introduced the bi-partisan bill commonly known as the Sportsman’s Bill in late June. His co-sponsors include Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). Over the past few years, other bipartisan sportsmen bills have been introduced in Congress, but none have been signed into law. AFS will continue to provide periodic updates as this bill moves through the Senate.