As was previously reported in the July edition of FLW Outdoors, The Bass Federation Conservation Directors formed four advisory teams to help meet the needs our resources and to support our membership. The teams formed during the TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard in Branson, Mo. are focused on media, legislative, education and conservation project development. Each team consists of at least one state conservation director from each region. Although there is activity in most of the areas, the legislative team would like to update TBF members and others on the steps we are taking to monitor important issues, the actions that are needed to prepare us to be better informed and be ready to respond as rapidly and efficiently as we can when necessary.
The major issue for all fishermen and fisheries biologist is the need for clean water and access to the same. There are two major activities that we need to monitor; the increased demand for water and possible legislation that could affect our waters.
As the urban population continues to explode across the Nation, many cities and states will not have sufficient water resources for the increased demand. Presently, the Oklahoma Attorney General is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the North Texas water district that claims it has the right to buy billions of gallons of water in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a moratorium on out-of-state water sales. San Antonio, Texas is proposing a pipeline from the Gulf of Mexico to supply water to that urban area with the continued pressure placed on the Edwards Aquifer, the major supply for that area. You can be sure these same types of issues are going on in most of your regions as well. Although we do not have a clear solution to the problem, we need to make sure our lakes, rivers and streams are not compromised by restrictions on the fishing, boating or other recreational uses. We also need to continue to closely monitor Federal legislation on water and water rights.
The challenges we face is how do we organize, keep everyone informed and at the same time respond to our elected officials in a fast and efficient manner. There are several things we can do and some are already in progress.
Presently we have developed several partnerships with other like-minded organizations, similar to the one we have with FLW Outdoors. Our plan is to continue adding more organizations that share the same focus on conservation issues and have established over site on federal legislative issues. These partnerships will help keep us better informed on important issues; they also add a greater voice to the concerns of TBF members during any legislative process. To increase the focus of individual state issues, we are identifying contacts in the various state fisheries/DNR divisions. The fisheries department in our states should be our first line of communication concerning issues that affect local/state waters. As always anyone having questions, needing help with an issue or finding a local contact in your area can contact the National TBF office.
The key to responding on conservation issues is the development of state/club response networks. TBF state federations are developing email contacts in every club. The clubs will be asked to develop an email process directly to their local members. On a much broader scale, TBF headquarters already has the ability to issue a call to action, via our national email blast system helping us activate our more than 30,000 TBF members in a matter of hours. For those who are not current TBF members, we invite you to join TBF for there is power in numbers and one more person can make a difference. Member or not please fill free to interface with a local club or our National Conservation office to stay informed and available to help in support of issues as they come up. All of these are important elements in keeping our lakes, rivers and streams available for access and continuing to improve the quality of our fisheries.
The goal of the TBF Conservation Directors is to “Save Our Fisheries Together”. These are four simple words; however we must work together with our partners, TBF members, fisheries professionals, and individuals to meet the challenges in the future so there will be clean fishable water available, not only for us, but for those generations to come.