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What ASA supported Water Resources Act means to US anglers


The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has strongly advocated the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) recently passed by the US House of Representatives. But exactly what does the Act mean to the industry and the country’s growing army of recreational fishermen?

Here Angling International spells out the main policies that, if the Act gets the approval of the Senate, will support water quality, aquatic conservation and fishing access.

Ÿ It will advance the restoration of the ailing Everglades (above) by:

  • Speeding up construction of the Agricultural Area Reservoir, driving progress on the C-111 floodwater channel, Lake Okeechobee and Western Everglades projects;
  • Authorising the Loxahatchee River Watershed project;
  • Examining the impact to coastal estuaries in the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Review and…
  • Addressing invasive species risk control and prevention within the South Florida ecosystem.

Ÿ It will create a programme to assist in detecting, treating and preventing harmful algal blooms that are damaging fishery resources and fishing throughout the country.

Ÿ It will support the eradication, control and management of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by:

  • Authorising the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to block the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes;
  • Expanding the Army Corps of Engineers AIS research programme;
  • Increasing funding and geographic scope of watercraft inspection stations and…
  • Establishing  an Asian Carp Prevention Pilot scheme to fight the spread of the species through the Mississippi and Ohio river basins.

Ÿ It will support the greater use of natural and nature-based projects by:

  • Ensuring natural alternatives are afforded the same consideration as structural options;
  • Clarifying that natural and nature-based projects are eligible under the Corps’ authorities programme.

“Throughout 2020, it has become increasingly apparent that Americans deeply value opportunities to get out on the water,” said Mike Leonard, the ASA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. “However, a day on the water with family and friends and the associated economic impacts are threatened by poor water quality, invasive species and out-dated infrastructure. Thankfully, the WRDA takes meaningful steps to address these challenges.”

The ASA’s South East Fisheries Policy Director, Kellie Ralston, added: “Combined with record funding, these projects are key to improving water quality in South Florida and critical to maintaining the state’s honour as the ‘fishing capital of the world.’

Chad Tokowicz, the ASA’s Inland Fisheries Policy Manager, said that AIS are among the top threats to future sport fishing opportunities throughout the country. “Combatting AIS, ranging from Asian carp to Quagga and Zebra mussels, is being done by increasing funding for pre-existing programmes and creating new initiatives, This demonstrates the commitment of Congress to combatting AIS.”

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