The New York, Pennsylvania and Capital Region Chapters weighed in to support S. 2591, a bill to enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to assist local stakeholders to expand conservation and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. The text of the letter submitted to Senator John Barrasso, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senator Thomas Carper, Ranking MemberSenate Environment and Public Works Committee is below.
Dear Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper:
On behalf of the undersigned states representing Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), the fastest growing organization that represents nearly 40,000 sportsmen and women in North America, we encourage you to support Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV) bipartisan Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Defense (WILD) Act (S. 2591).
Over the last decade, the health of the Bay’s ecosystem has improved. However, with increased rainfall in the region and the amount of sediment, debris, phosphorous, and nitrogen polluting the Chesapeake watershed, water quality is on the decline.
S. 2591 establishes a grant program that enables the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist federal, state and local stakeholders to expand conservation and restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The legislation also reemphasizes the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement between six states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia encompassing 64,000 square miles of the watershed. The importance of this commitment to improve stream health and fish habitat and restore riparian areas that conserve upland and waterfowl habitat by 2025, cannot be overstated. USFWS engagement puts another conservation tool in the toolbox and provides the additional resources critical to improving the Bay’s water quality, ecological health, and enhancing recreational opportunities.
Combined, the six Chesapeake Bay watershed states generate nearly $119 billion annually to the outdoor recreation economy. Increasing restoration efforts with the enactment of S. 2591 will not only boost regional investments but also our nation’s $887-billion outdoor recreation economy that generates more than 7.6 million jobs.
Thank you for the opportunity to express our support for the Chesapeake WILD Act. We encourage you to support this legislation and safeguard our hunting and fishing traditions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
New York Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Pennsylvania Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Capital Region Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers