A new infrastructure bill to help the economy re-authorized the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Trust Fund; a great victory for sport fishing.
ALEXANDRIA, VA.— On November 15, President Biden enacted the Infrastructure and Employment Act; the bill passed the Senate earlier this year and arrived on Biden’s desk on November 8. Biden said the bill would revamp the country’s infrastructure and boost the country’s economy.
On November 5, the US House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure and Jobs Act. The $ 1,000 billion infrastructure fund initially allocated $ 715 billion to the top congressional priorities of the American Sportfishing Association; the bill has been amended to allocate $ 550 billion in infrastructure funding to the act, particularly with a focus on conservation and sport fishing. These investments will create new jobs, conserve the marine environment and preserve sport fishing.
“After many months of intense negotiations, the sport fishing industry is delighted that Congress has advanced many of our top priorities under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said Mike Leonard, vice president ASA government affairs in a November 8 press release. . “These investments in conservation and access to fisheries reflect the growing recognition among policy makers that outdoor recreation in general, and recreational fishing in particular, is a major economic driver.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes provisions that directly benefit ASA members, including the re-authorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Partially funded by the federal excise tax on fishing gear, the trust fund is the cornerstone of state-level aquatic resource conservation and benefits all US states and territories. Those involved in the reauthorization were U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Roger Wicker, and Representatives Debbie Dingell and Garret Graves.
The bill also authorizes $ 1 billion for the National Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration Program, a program to remove, replace or restore culverts that will restore salmon passageways and habitats. The program will address issues with culverts, such as blocking upstream migrations of anadromous fish such as salmon, rainbow trout and sturgeon, and is supported by Senators Cantwell and Wicker.
Other provisions supported by the ASA in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act include:
-The REPLANT Act that will help the US Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees on national forest lands and create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next decade.
– $ 11.3 billion for the Abandoned Mining Land Reclamation Program, which restores mining lands that are no longer in use and that are potential sources of hazardous materials that can infiltrate lakes, rivers and streams.
– $ 250 million for the Forest Service’s Legacy Road and Trail program, which funds activities to restore fish passage through waterways at road and trail crossings.
-Funding of numerous ecosystem programs including: $ 1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, $ 238 million for the Chesapeake Bay program, $ 16 million for the South Florida program, $ 79 million for the Columbia River Basin Program and $ 172 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
The five-year spending program will be funded by drawing from $ 210 billion in unspent COVID-19 emergency aid and $ 53 billion in unemployment insurance assistance. Large projects can take months or years to get started, CNBC says. A full report of information regarding the bill can be found on the White House website.