Senate Unanimously Passes America’s Conservation Enhancement Reauthorization Act

Our United States Senate has acted in favor of conservation by unanimously passing America’s Conservation Enhancement Reauthorization Act of 2024. This reauthorizes a dozen provisions to bolster the conservation of fish and wildlife, and the habitats they call home, across North America. The Act especially provides an important protection for America’s anglers. 

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released a notification of applause for the Senate for passing the reauthorization. The unanimous consent shows complete support for some of the nation’s most successful conservation programs. Including, the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). 

“Thank you to Chairman Carper (D-DE), Ranking Member Capito (R-WV), and the many bipartisan cosponsors for championing the bill,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and President of the Association. “The unanimous support for this legislation is exactly the bipartisan commitment we should see for conservation that enhances habitats, ensures healthy populations, and provides greater opportunities for hunters and anglers.”

NAWCA was created in 1981. In the over 40 years since, the program has put more than 3,200 projects on the ground in North America. This projects have restored almost 32 million acres of wetlands. NFHP partnerships have led to over 1,500 successful conservation projects in all 50 states. These projects benefit anglers through protections of fish and aquatic habitats. 

“NFHP continues to be one of the most effective and highly leveraged conservation programs in the nation,” said Robert Boyles, Chair of the National Fish Habitat Board and Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “Reauthorization and increased resources for NFHP will mean even more voluntary projects between state, federal, NGO, and private partners to reverse declining fish populations and enhance aquatic habitats.”

The ACE Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) and increases funding for the program to $10 million per year. NFHP is a voluntary, non-regulatory, and locally driven program that has funded more than 1,300 on-the-ground aquatic habitat improvement projects since 2016. 

“The ACE Reauthorization Act will bolster America’s $148 billion sportfishing economy through funding for programs such as the National Fish Habitat Partnership, Chesapeake Bay Program, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act” said Mike Leonard, Vice President of Government Affairs at the American Sportfishing Association. “We applaud Senators Carper, Capito and the 14 additional bipartisan cosponsors for their leadership on this issue and their commitment to enhancing angling opportunities for America’s 54.5 million anglers.”

This legislation has been a top priority of the Congressional Sportsman Foundation (CSF) since the ACE Act was first signed into law in 2020. Leading up to passage, CSF worked to secure bipartisan cosponsors to demonstrate the wide-spread support for this legislation. CSF also worked to secure modifications to the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships (NFHP) language to improve the program’s ability to drive limited dollars to where they are needed most. 

“At a time when Congress appears to be extremely divided, we continue to see that issues of importance to sportsmen and women remain an area of strong bipartisan support,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “The unanimous Senate passage of the ACE Reauthorization Act is a clear result of the bipartisan efforts of CSC Members Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Capito, and the other leaders of this legislation to deliver wins for sportsmen and women across the nation.”

ACE includes many priorities for the sportfishing industry, including funding for fish habitat restoration, pollution reduction, invasive species management, and the protection of traditional tackle. The Act will provide a 5-year protection to ensure the EPA cannot be petitioned to regulate lead tackle under for 5 years.

See you down the trail….
Brandon Butler

Pic: Anglers have many reasons to applaud the U.S. Senate unanimously passing the America’s Conservation Enhancement Reauthorization Act.

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