Conservation programs have significant effects on nation's fisheries
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As fishing seasons open across the Midwest, Pheasants Forever (PF) reminds anglers of legislation that will have a direct impact on fishing and other recreational water activities for years to come: the 2007 Federal Farm Bill.

"The Farm Bill's Conservation Title and its many conservation practices work to improve the quality of our lakes, rivers, streams, soil, and wildlife," says Dave Nomsen, PF vice president of government affairs. "Whether you enjoy casting for trout, trolling for walleye, or just canoeing down the river, clean water is important."

One of the most successful practices that affects water is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP, a targeted method for retiring a state's most environmentally sensitive farmlands to improve water quality. Through CREP, landowners receive incentive payments for installing conservation practices that help protect such land. CREP programs across the nation help reduce soil erosion, subsequently reducing the amount of nutrients in the water, and safeguard ground and surface water. There are currently CREPs in 30 states that have created nearly 940,000 acres of new wildlife habitat.

Pheasants Forever has also joined fishing conservation organizations, including the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Trout Unlimited (TU), and others as part of a 41-organization coalition supporting recommendations for the 2007 Federal Farm Bill. The coalition consists of the vast majority of the nation's wildlife conservation and sporting organizations.

Proponents of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) note that the program does more than help upland game. Lakes, rivers, and streams are cleaned by riparian CRP buffers and other program options.

"The quality of our fisheries tomorrow will be greatly determined by the conservation work we do today," Nomsen said. "Anglers and hunters must join together at the forefront of the discussion concerning the 2007 Federal Farm Bill. Our children's stringers and game vests depend on our conservation efforts this year."