National Fish Habitat Partnership Congressional Briefing

Doug Nygren, Fisheries Division Director of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, speaks at a Congressional briefing on the National Fish Habitat Partnership.

Recently, AFS joined the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Trout Unlimited, the American Sportfishing Association, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) in sponsoring a briefing for congressional staff on the accomplishments of the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) program. AFS member Doug Nygren, Fisheries Division Director of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and a director on the NFHP Executive Board, discussed the great work that’s been accomplished in the Kansas plains and reservoirs using volunteers and funds leveraged by partners. He highlighted the work of the Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership to address the thousands of barriers to fish movement, which cause fragmentation and the isolation of rivers in many areas across the country. Five native species of concern that could have been listed under the Endangered Species Act are rebounding thanks to removal of perched culverts at stream crossings. He also noted the economic impact of the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership in providing improved recreational fishing opportunities.

The National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act was introduced in both the House and the Senate (S.754) last week.  This legislation aims to codify the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP), whose mission it is to protect, restore, and enhance the nation’s fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for the American people.  Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) in the House, and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) introduced these bipartisan bills on March 12, 2019.

The National Fish Habitat Partnership is a voluntary, non-regulatory, fish habitat conservation program that has supported more than 840 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. The partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects of 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships.

Take action today.  Call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the bill.