What Trump’s budget means for anglers


"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value."
-- President Teddy Roosevelt


Land and water conservation are taking a direct hit in President Trumps proposed budget. 

In his message to Congress, President Trump called the cuts “sensible and rational.” But after reviewing the budget, we at Trout Unlimited strongly disagree with some of his EPA and natural resource agency cuts.

“The unwarranted cuts in the Budget proposal would take the EPA and other programs back to the last century,” said Steve Moyer, vice president of government affairs for Trout Unlimited. “For members of Trout Unlimited and people like me who have directly benefitted from the water quality and natural resources improvements of the past decades, this is completely unacceptable. We will work hard to convince the Trump Administration and Congress to remember the words of Teddy Roosevelt, reconsider many of these items, and do much better before the  FY 2018 budget is finally decided in the Fall.”

Certainly, these numbers are not final and proposed cuts will have to go through Congress before taking effect. 

This gives anglers a limited amount of time to make their voices heard by reaching out to their elected officials to support the programs which protect our land and water.

Frankly, we’re going to need you. Here’s a short list of what’s at stake:

Chesapeake Bay Program
The President’s budget proposes to eliminate funding for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program.  The elimination of this program would severely limit the amount of coldwater habitat conservation that TU and others can accomplish in the Chesapeake Bay headwaters, and would stall progress on Bay cleanup efforts. The Chesapeake Bay headwaters are home to some of the region’s best trout streams. The EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program—in particular the Small Watershed Grants—has enabled TU to work with farmers in Virginia and West Virginia to improve both farming operations and trout habitat on their lands, and with local communities in Pennsylvania to restore trout streams, which in turn contributes cold, clean water to the Chesapeake Bay. 
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Great Lakes are home to a remarkable array of trout, salmon, and steelhead, and as a result, fishing is a major economic driver in the region. In recent years, fish habitat in many Great Lakes tributaries have been improving thanks to projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. TU and our partners have been using GLRI funds in places like the Pere Marquette, Little Manistee, Peshtigo, and Oconto rivers to remove barriers to fish passage and add habitat for coldwater fish.  The elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would stop this work in its tracks.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
The Budget proposal would dramatically reduce land and easement acquisition funds from the nation’s premier conservation law, the LWCF.  Hundreds of millions of dollars would be cut from LWCF programs of the Forest Service, FWS, and BLM agencies.  TU has long supported LWCF which has been used to enhance angler access and protect high quality trout and salmon habitat.  For example, last year in Maine TU worked with landowners to protect the Cold Stream watershed, an actively timber harvested commercial forest that contains nine ponds that provide exemplary wild native brook trout habitat, critical habitat for the threatened Canada lynx, and important deer wintering areas.  Good work like this would be eliminated if the Budget proposal was enacted.
Public Lands
The proposed Budget Blueprint is purported to focus the Forest Service budget on maintaining existing forests and grasslands and supporting the capacity for land management operations for Department of the Interior.
“We support those objectives, but we will have to see specifics to determine if the President’s budget ensures our public land management agencies have the resources they need to effectively manage America’s public lands,” said Corey Fisher, senior policy director for TU’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. “Since 1998, we have seen a 39 percent decrease in staffing for managing National Forests. It is hard to imagine further cuts will resolve problems like a $314 million trail maintenance backlog that impact millions of hunters, anglers and other recreationists that depend on our Nation’s public lands.”   

SeaGrant’s funding would be zeroed out under the current proposal as part of a larger cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. SeaGrant is critical in providing important science and monitoring for fish populations on the coast. The work that they do is critical to our understanding of how salmonids use coastal streams, the bottlenecks they face, and how best to prioritize restoration actions. Trout Unlimited and our partners have used their data to develop better projects and evaluate project effectiveness. They go to great lengths to ensure their data is available for decision-making, and they excel at presenting complex issues to the public. In an era where good science is more important than ever, now is not the time to cancel out SeaGrant.

Public Lands Energy Development

If the objective of the Administration's Budget Blueprint is to focus spending where there is a justified need, then it misses the mark by needlessly prioritizing access for energy development over access for America's sportsmen and women. The budget proposes to increase funding for energy development while making major cuts in bipartisan-supported programs that provide access for hunters and anglers such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Bureau of Land Management approved 3,508 applications to drill, yet industry only drilled 1,621 new wells. The same year, there were 44,213 oil and gas leases in effect, but only 23,770 of those leases were producing oil and gas. When there is already more access to energy resources that industry has use for, America's hunters and anglers have to ask why programs to provide access and land acquisitions for sportsmen are being cut? If we are to sustain our hunting and fishing traditions, we need more places to hunt and fish, not fewer.



said on Friday, March 24th, 2017

More proof this is a psychopath that wants to be Supreme Leader with unlimited power and resources. You will do as I say or I will punish you with my strenth and fury. A Clear and Present Danger to America if left in office to build and develope a Dictators strength. His reign of terror must be stopped.

said on Friday, March 24th, 2017

Ok, RYoung1, you sound like the polar opposite extremist for your party. Maybe for once, we can all agree these measures are needed, work together (without political affiliations and wasted time and energy) and get them pushed through.

said on Saturday, March 25th, 2017

I voted for Trump because I wanted to protect my Second Amendment rights and because I despised the alternative but let's face it, the man's idea of the outdoors is a manicured golf course.  As a retired aquatic biologist I have yet to see a stream running through a golf course that hasn't been trashed.

What the TU article failed to mention is Trump's move to allow Mountaintop-removal Coal Mining (http://www.plunderingappalachia.org/theissue.htm) which  allows mining companies to remove mountaintops and dump them into the surrounding valleys that typically contain small first and second order streams which are refugia for brook trout and other aquatic life.  This is a direct threat to what we as Trout Unlimited stands for and we should let our voices be heard.  

said on Sunday, March 26th, 2017

The enorcement of many recent conseration initiatives has gone to excess.  Here in Texas, the "rules" of enforcement of the Clean Water Act, threatened to devastate any rancher or famer having even a dry gully running through their property.  Many of our lifetime bureaucrats proceed with complete immunity as they interpret and enforce their version of the laws.  Happy with the IRS?

Every agency must tighten their belts, reduce costs and work in a sensible manner.  We once had a joint fight with the Sierra Club, and we asked their head why they seemed to be against everything, he answered, we must make alot of noise or our donations will cease!  I hope that is not becoming the case with TU  pick your causes, observe whose ox is realy being gored, those paid to serve the country and those taking upon themselves to try to run it without being elected.  The past Secrectary of Interior lamented as she left office, there was absolutely nothing she could do to reduce payroll or expenses within the department as the protections and rules of the embeded goverment employees make sound management impossible.  Maybe we should start there, enforing the Hatch Act and eliminating the union protection of government employees and their work rules.  Run more efficiently, allocate funds appropriately and more conservation efforts can be undertaken, Hold the employees accountable and perhaps excess enforcement might cease.

In reading your article I found no specifics and felt it was written by a college intern simply yelling in the dark.

said on Sunday, March 26th, 2017

What is astounding is the one sided look at our future by government fiat!

The EPA is out of hand in its burgeoning growth and power grabbing!

Does every liberal really think they are the only ones that care about our resources?

How about some sane heads come together and look at our wants and wishes for the future, without

all the political posturing?

A lot of us voted for Trump because the alternative was too much to ask for after the last eight years.

It is time to look past the government as the be all in every parts of our lives. There is no reason at all many of the problems with water habitat and restoration for our shared valued lands cannot be met locally?

TU is a private organization with fingers across America: yes we work with DNR and help out as our members are able.

It would behoove us all to get past political ideology, and realize our members are far, far more diverse!    

said on Monday, March 27th, 2017

As TU members and anglers our trout fishing is deeply interlocked with clean air, clean water, healthy forests, watershed and access to our waters.  All these require funded operations for aquisitions, protection and maintenance.  When funding is reduced or eliminated, the quality of our outdoor experience declines. 

When protections in place are threatened, we lose quality of the experience.  If you are concerned, please contact your state and federal elected representatives and state your concern.  This is not a political question, it is a question of maintaining a healthy outdoors for us, our children and grandchildren.  How many of us would like to take a drive through what was once a pristine forest and come across an oil drilling site and proudly tell our children and grandchildren that helped make that happen?  That we polluted the river and scared away all the wildlife?

It is OUR public lands, it is OUR water it is OUR forest and we have every right to demand that all elected officials respect our rights.

--John Kies--         NCTU 

said on Saturday, April 1st, 2017

I like what journeyman58 said that, despite whom we voted for, ( I voted the opposite) we should focus on what unites us, instead of what divides us. I think the TU staff tries very hard to write the messages for calls to action in a non-partisan way, acknowledging we are a diverse group, deeply passionate about the environment. We can yell at each other online or, decide to look past not only the government's foibles but also our own personal frustration. ( Ya never know, the dems might not have passed anything this term either..)

Conservation is a long game. Patience....

Let's pull together on the same oar, shall we?

--Drew Irby, Past Chair, California Council


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