In the magazine SOIL published by Forester Magazines, there was an article in the June 29, 2017 issue. The article discusses how the agricultural community is helping protect water quality through different grants, partnerships and on-farm actions.
I will split the article into a series of posts here. The different sections of the article discuss different aspects of agriculture and how water quality is protected through various programs.
Today, the section of the article deals with the Cost of a Clean Outdoors. The discussion here is how clean water is important to many different aspects of our outdoor experiences and keeping that water clean is being accomplished through programs and voluntary actions.
The section of the article is copied below:
[From SOIL, FORESTERMAGAZINES, June 29, 2017 issue (https://foresternetwork.com/erosion-control-magazine/ec-soil/ec-erosion-control-permitting/agricultural-solutions/)]
Over the last few decades, the successes of regulations like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act have led to improvements in air and water quality. With recent changes in the political climate, and with some seeking to reduce regulations and cut funding sources, many groups are looking at how policy and funding changes might affect existing programs.
The Cost of a Clean Outdoors
One group that voices concern from its constituent members is the not-for-profit Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), founded in 2002. Chief conservation officer Christy Plumer says the partnership has grown to include 52 member organizations representing millions of sportsmen and women who are strongly behind the efforts needed to ensure all Americans who hunt, fish, and pursue outdoor recreation “have access to the quality habitats and continued health of these places.”
“Which is why we care so much about clean water and habitat,” adds Plumer, citing that recent proposed budget cuts to programs are very alarming to members and partner associations, which include Trout Unlimited, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, the National Wildlife Federation, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
“We find these cuts very devastating to a lot the programs that we care about, in the Departments of Agriculture and Interior, for example. At an annual figure of $646 billion and supporting more than 6 million jobs, the outdoor recreation industry is a major financial contributor to our economy, so clean water and healthy habitat is critical.”
Plumer says that members see many bullets in recent proposals, and “which one of these do you dodge?” she asks. They are concerned at the EPA budget cuts, the rollback of landmark conservation laws that may have no replacements “to sustain what we have now,” and more. There needs to be a balance, she says, between regulations to protect the environment and business interests.
“We’re focusing on where things are headed,” she says, which includes thinking about rural areas. For example, the Farm Bill includes recommendations for voluntary conservation practices. “By educating people on how to tap into these programs, we can achieve positive results, compared to going through a regulatory approach.”
The TRCP membership is very concerned about clean water as well. “In the context of stormwater, our community tends to focus on the remote areas, which are the headwaters. We are very interested in proper management of upwater and headland streams, and this affects ranching, farming, and foresters. If we have reduced regulation, then we believe the Farm Bill [voluntary] programs need to be ramped up. If there are budget cuts, then not only are regulations reduced, but programs that could have been leveraged to fill that gap can go away.”
Tomorrow —- “Water Knows No Boundaries”