House Committee approves fish habitat conservation bill

H.R. 1747 proposes to codify National Fish Habitat Partnership and direct additional funds to restoration projects.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A bipartisan bill proposing to direct more money to fish habitat restoration projects made it out of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Sept. 25.

Reps. Rob Wittman, R-Virginia, and Marc Veasey, D-Texas, introduced House Resolution 1747, or H.R. 1747, in March. The National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnership Act, as the bill is also known, specifically proposes to codify the National Fish Habitat Partnership. The partnership already provides funding for various habitat restoration projects, such as aquatic plant removal, dam removal and streambank stabilization.

H.R. 1747 would expand the partnership to fund more restoration projects. The bill would also help stakeholders identify funding priorities, according to the American Sportfishing Association.

A greater number of fish habitats across the country could be conserved and restored through public-private partnerships if H.R. 1747 ultimately makes it out of Congress and is signed into law by the president.

“This legislation will protect and restore aquatic communities around the nation through public-private partnerships to promote conservation,” Wittman said in a released statement. “It is critical that we properly maintain this sector, incorporating the needs of our recreational and commercial fishermen.”

The American Sportfishing Association added the National Fish Habitat Partnership is a “voluntary, non-regulatory and locally-driven program housed within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” and oversees “20 individual Fish Habitat Partnerships that focus on specific regions or habitat types.”

“To date, more than 800 successful conservation projects have been carried out through these partnerships, benefitting fish habitat and anglers throughout the country,” American Sportfishing Association staff said in a released statement.

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