Biden administration takes action to boost conservation of small streams and wetlands, improve measures implemented by previous administrations
WASHINGTON – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers welcomed an announcement by the Biden administration that it will revise federal protections for U.S. wetlands and waterways and work to overturn an existing rule that reduces federal oversight of more than half of American wetlands and close to 20 percent of small streams.
The administration’s action would boost conservation of waters and wetlands that encompass critical fish and wildlife habitat, offer diverse hunting and fishing opportunities, and provide drinking water relied upon by 117 million Americans. The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers are asking a federal judge overturn a rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, that was implemented by the Trump administration.
The decision kicks off a new rulemaking process that will draw on protections in place prior to a 2015 rule established by the Obama administration. That so-called “Waters of the U.S. Rule” followed a multi-stakeholder process aimed at eliminating confusion surrounding the scope of the Clean Water Act.
“Our wetlands and waterways provide critical habitat for wildlife, including waterfowl in places like the Prairie Pothole Region, America’s duck factory. They’re also key to healthy fisheries,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “No one appreciates their importance more than hunters and anglers.
“American sportsmen and women were leading voices supporting passage of the original Clean Water Act in 1972,” Tawney continued. “We appreciate the need for strong protections of our nation’s waterways that carefully consider the needs and interests of diverse stakeholders. We look forward to working with the administration to ensure that this rulemaking process reflects the input and values of hunters and anglers, outdoor-focused businesses and the citizenry at large.”
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