TRCP unveils ‘Snapshots of Success’ highlighting collaborative local efforts that rely on federal funding
Discussions of water conservation issues do not have to be filled with gloom and doom drought scenarios or water pollution. So says, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership in a new report released February 27 entitled “Snapshots of Success: Protecting America’s watersheds, fish and wildlife, and the livelihoods of sportsmen.” The report features prominent water conservation efforts from around the country led by sportsmen that are models of success in achieving on-the-ground results.
Projects such as those featured in the report share important characteristics and can be replicated for future meaningful success. In examining these success stories led by sportsmen and conservation partners, one clear theme emerges: locally led, collaborative efforts do work but they must have a broad base of support including federal financial and technical assistance.
“All across the country, sportsmen are improving their local streams and hunting grounds through projects designed to restore stream flows or enhance wetlands, but they couldn’t be as effective without the support of federal conservation programs,” said TRCP’s Center for Water Resources Director Jimmy Hague. “This report documents ten examples where sportsmen are having a real impact and the federal programs that make it possible. At a time when the threat of drought looms over a good portion of the country, it’s important to remember that sportsmen solutions are having benefits locally, which will accrue downstream with the proper support from Congress and the administration.”
The TRCP and its partners seek to educate elected officials and other policy makers about the importance of the federal role in prioritizing water conservation programs and maintaining a strong financial commitment in supporting local solutions that ultimately impact national priorities. The report highlights projects led by TRCP Partner organizations the American Sportfishing Association, Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League of America, The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited.
“Through the American Sportfishing Association’s FishAmerica Foundation, we strive to achieve balance,” said the foundation’s Grant Manager Ruth Jackson. “In the case of the Mississippi bayou, it’s balancing the survival of an endemic fish population while encouraging sustainable land use practices among ranchers. We are proud to support projects like this because incremental, on the ground improvements are what help to create healthy fish habitat. Our recreational fishing industry members and anglers nationwide can appreciate and benefit immensely from these conservation efforts.”
“Successful conservation projects need good partners,” said Mike Leahy, conservation director for the Izaak Walton League of America. “Whether cleaning up a polluted creek or restoring a large watershed, volunteers like local fishermen or students get a big boost from federal programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is helping Izaak Walton League volunteers clean up Beartrap Creek near Syracuse New York.”
“Communities continue to come together to solve real problems and invest in improvements that benefit people and nature,” said Mark P. Smith, deputy director of North America Water for The Nature Conservancy. “As these projects show, we can have a healthy environment, a healthy economy and healthy communities. By working together, from individual landowners to federal agencies, we can find solutions that provide real benefits to real people and communities.”
“Partnerships are at the heart of TU’s brand of pragmatic conservation,” said Scott Yates, director of Trout Unlimited’s Western Water Project. ”Meeting the looming challenges to our rivers and fisheries in the West—including changing climate, drought and development—will take cooperation, not conflict. For TU, federal conservation programs have played a vital role in encouraging local stakeholders to work together to find innovative, win-win solutions to meeting our diverse water needs, from agriculture and communities to fisheries and healthy rivers.”