7/31/2015 // By Maggie Yancey
Creating lasting memories in nature starts with experiencing the beauty of wildlife, and wildlife depend on water! Poll after poll shows that Americans care about clean water for fish and wildlife, for outdoor recreation, and for healthy drinking water, but it seems many of our lawmakers aren’t listening. The following are four ways that explore how to enjoy wildlife in and around the water, along with results from an important new poll that can help influence lawmakers to protect clean water and wildlife.
Moose at Upper Twin Lake, Idaho. Photo donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Diane Higdem.
NWF photo contest entrant Diane Higdem kayaked with friends and had a once in a lifetime encounter with a majestic moose. “Early one morning, I was paddling around in the lily pads that had gotten very ‘tall’ above the surface of the water. I heard one of my friends whisper moose and as I tried to cut through the lilies, I nearly went over the top of this brute! We were both startled, and he quickly headed towards shore, then turned around to watch me.” Diane’s experience is one of the MANY examples of why there is broad based dedication to protecting clean water.
Great blue heron on the Florida coast. Photo donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Louisa Zezza.
Chances are while casting a line from the shoreline or wading in the surf with a rod you’ll also be able to watch the amazing fishing skills of species like great blue heron, brown pelicans, or osprey. Surf fishing doesn’t require a lot of equipment and can be done from sandy and rocky beaches, rock jetties or even fishing piers.
Hitting the Beach
Ghost crab at Longboat Key, Florida. Photo donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Sally Goshen.
Wildlife enthusiasts gather every summer at Padre Island National Seashore to watch newly hatched endangered Kemps ridley sea turtles scramble to the sea. Others congregate on the sandy beaches of Cape May National Wildlife Refuge in late May to watch the natural spectacle of horseshoe crabs and thousands of shorebirds. Any visit to a beach can include a connection to wildlife, from reef snorkeling to relaxing on a beach towel and watching a crab digging its hole in the sand.
Rainbow trout caught in Bighorn River. Photo donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Guy Tillet.
Nature provides families unique bonding opportunities while playing in America’s iconic waterways, like the fishing trip NWF Photo Contest entrant Guy Tillet takes with his family every year. “Our family has an annual trip to the Bighorn River (Ft. Smith, Montana) each fall. Our practice is totally catch and release and that is the common practice on this river. We generally have very good luck on Rainbows and Brown Trout.”
Kayaking, fishing, visiting the beach and many more outdoor activities are only possible if we protect clean water! This past May, the Clean Water Rule that restores protections to vulnerable waters was finalized by the Obama administration after years of planning, 400 stakeholder meetings, and more than a million public comments calling for the protection of our drinking water and wildlife habitat. A new poll shows broad support for the Clean Water Rule, but some members of Congress are lining up to block or undo this wildlife-friendly policy.
A new nationwide bipartisan survey shows four-in-five, or 83% of sportsmen and women support the Clean Water Rule. The poll also reported 82% of sportsmen and women believe we CAN protect our water quality and have a strong economy with good jobs at the same time, without having to choose one over the other. That means, we don’t have to choose between ensuring economic prosperity and healthy waterways. Small business, outdoor recreation, and tourism depend on our nation’s waterways to thrive economically. This new survey is key to informing members of Congress and local decision-makers of the broad support for the Clean Water Rule.
from Wildlife Promise