Congress votes YES on lands and water bill

What’s News? On Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 363-to-62 to advance the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47), a bipartisan, sweeping package of land and water bills of importance to sportsmen and women. Today’s vote follows one week after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill with a vote of 92-to-8 in favor. The legislation now goes to the president for his signature.

Visit to thank your Members of Congress for their support of this important legislation.

What Does This Means for Trout Unlimited?  S.47 is a uniquely bipartisan, sweeping package of land and water bills negotiated between leaders in the House and Senate. This bipartisan package includes several priorities for Trout Unlimited members that will help protect and restore trout and salmon fisheries and support local collaborative restoration projects.  These provisions include: 

  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), permanent reauthorization. The LWCF is our country’s premier conservation, fishing and hunting access program, and has bipartisan support in both chambers.  While dedicated funding for this program is still needed, this step of securing permanent reauthorization is a critical step toward ensuring that the LWCF will continue to sustain our outdoor traditions for generations to come.
  • The USFWS’ Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, reauthorized through 2023. This program supports collaborative conservation partnerships between willing landowners and partners like Trout Unlimited to protect and restore fish habitat on private lands. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife provisions of the bill will ensure that the benefits of conservation and restoration extend to private lands in places such as West Virginia where we have installed over 300 miles of fence to protect creeks from over-grazing.
  • The Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Act includes federal authorizations needed to advance the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, a balanced package of actions that will restore hundreds of thousands of salmon and steelhead to the basin, improve water quality and quantity, and support a healthy agricultural and recreational economy.  The Plan was agreed upon by a diverse coalition of conservation groups, irrigators, farmers, sportsmen and women, local, state, and federal governments and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
  • The Methow Headwaters Protection Act would place 340,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land in the Upper Methow Valley off limits to large-scale mining. This much-needed measure is critical to protect crucial coldwater habitat for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bull trout, mountain whitefish, Chinook salmon, and steelhead.     
  • The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area Designation Act would protect around 100,000 acres on Steamboat Creek, an important spawning tributary of the North Umpqua River used by wild summer steelhead and spring Chinook. The designation is titled in honor of World War II veteran, Frank Moore, and his wife, Jeanne.
  • The Oregon Wildlands Act would designate more than 250 new miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in iconic fisheries like the Rogue, Chetco, Elk and Molalla basins, and create new wilderness in the Devil’s Staircase area east of Reedsport.   
  • The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act would protect approximately 76 miles of streams, including Deep Creek, which provides a rare opportunity for freshwater fishing in Southern California and is one of the region’s few designated Wild Trout streams.  The fish, and fishing opportunities, would be improved and sustained by better protecting their habitat as Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River segments.  
  • The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act would prohibit new mining claims at the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park.  Fisheries in the area include the North Fork of Sixmile Creek, which supports an important population of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, as well as headwater streams that feed the Yellowstone River, a world renown blue ribbon trout river.
  • The Cerros del Norte Conservation Act designates areas within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument as wilderness areas.  The Rio San Antonio Wilderness area (8,120 acres) and the Cerro Del Yuta Wilderness area (13,240 acres) will benefit public land conservation and local economies.

This legislation also includes measures to reinvigorate the nation’s Conservation Corps and to promote access to public lands and the outdoors. The package of bills is not without compromise.  For instance, we are disappointed with provisions related to Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans Allotments, which we believe run counter to the spirit and intent of Alaska’s original Allotment Act and will unnecessarily fragment and privatize important federal public lands in Alaska.  Despite these concerns, S.47 includes a great number of provisions that Trout Unlimited and our members strongly support. 

Advancing this legislation into law would be an unprecedented victory for land and water resources. 

Thank you, TU Advocates! 

Thank you, TU volunteers, staff and partners, for your efforts to protect these special places. These bills collectively represent years, and in some places, decades of work from volunteers and advocates in their home watersheds. “The bill is a testament to Trout Unlimited’s commitment to organizing, educating and mobilizing sportsmen and women about the need to protect and restore their public lands and waters,” said Chris Wood, TU CEO and president. “It is a tribute to the power of collaborative stewardship where communities of place and interest come together to protect and preserve the places they live and the rivers they love to fish.”

“There is more work to follow, and our efforts to protect and restore the lands and waters that we cherish is never done, but today is a day to celebrate. We offer our true thanks to our members of Congress and their staff who worked hard to advance this historic agreement, and we celebrate the hard work of sportsmen and women in our efforts to protect these special places across the country.”

What Comes Next? 

This legislative package now moves to the president for his signature. We urge you to take a moment to thank your senators and representatives for their support. Take Action: Visit to thank your members of Congress for their support of this important legislation.




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