MARIETTA – Some of Ohio’s 110,000 miles of streams could lose potential environmental protections as Congress considers rescinding a recent EPA rule that extends Clean Water Act standards to smaller streams and wetlands.
A poll released today by the National Wildlife Federation finds 83 percent of hunters and anglers support the rule.
Matt Misicka, vice president of the Ohio Conservation Federation, says millions of Ohioans appreciate the importance of clean water and these waterways.
“I don’t think anybody should overlook the economic value small streams and wetlands have,” he says. “They’re the origins of a multi-billion-dollar fishing, hunting, trapping, recreational boating and outdoor tourism industry in Ohio.”
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, more than four million people spend more than $3 billion annually on fishing, hunting and wildlife-associated activities in the state. Opponents argue the rule will hurt agriculture and impose on property rights – but more than 85 percent of hunters and anglers polled in the Midwest voiced support for the rule.
Misicka says maintaining the quality of Ohio’s streams and wetlands is vital to the health of the larger ecosystem.
“As habitat for fish and for wildlife, these are the spawning grounds and nurseries for fish, birds, mammals, all different sorts of animals,” he says. “This all flows downstream.”
The poll also found strong support for the EPA rule across the political spectrum, with 77 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 97 percent of Democrats in favor.
A bipartisan research team conducted the poll.