the Tailout July 2020 - Page 14

THE NEWSROOM increased to 10 fish per day and 20 fish in possession throughout the basin. The in-river recreational adult fall chinook salmon quota is divided among four sectors in the Klamath River basin: KLAMATH RIVER 1. 3,500 feet downstream of Iron Gate Dam downstream to the Highway 96 bridge – 220 fish. 2. Highway 96 bridge downstream to the mouth of the Klamath River – 648 fish. • There is a sub-area closure at the mouth of the Klamath River when 15 percent of the basin allocation has been harvested – 194 fish harvested below the Highway 101 bridge triggers this closure. TRINITY RIVER 1. Old Lewiston Bridge to Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat – 214 fish. 2. Denny Road bridge downstream to the confluence with Klamath River – 214 fish. ACROSS THE U.S. USFWS Considering Lethally Removing Cormorants The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposed rule and associated draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to lethally remove double-crested cormorants in the United States. Cormorants are fish-eating birds that have negative impacts on wild fisheries, fish hatcheries and aquaculture facilities, resulting in substantial economic impacts and human health hazards. Double-crested cormorants are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act making any lethal control of these birds illegal without explicit authorization from the Service. The USFWS released a proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement for public comment that could result in the lethal take of as many as 123,000 cormorants in the United States each year. Double-crested cormorants are protected under the MBTA. Lethal control of the birds is illegal without authorization from the USFWS. Under the proposed rule, some 8,800 of the birds could be lethally removed in the West. The rule proposes to establish a new special permit for state and federally recognized tribal wildlife agencies to undertake additional cormorant control activities when permissible. States and tribes must first attempt control using nonlethal methods and determine that those methods are ineffective before resorting to lethal control. The activities allowed under the special permit would include controlling cormorants to help reduce conflicts with wild and publicly stocked fisheries on state or tribal-owned lands. In addition, states will have additional flexibility to manage cormorants at state or tribal-owned hatcheries and release sites. Under this new proposal, a new special permit for interested states and tribes would complement existing measures to address conflicts with cormorants to protect human health and safety, personal property and threatened and endangered species. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 5, opening a 45-day comment period until July 20, 2020. The notice and DEIS will be available at http:// www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0103, and will include details on how to submit your comments. SFRBTF Reauthorized Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have recently acted on legislation to reauthorize the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (SFRBTF). The SFRBTF, which is funded in part by the federal excise tax on fishing equipment paid by the sportfishing industry, funds state-based programs for sportfish conservation and habitat restoration, infrastructure for boating access and education for anglers and boaters. In early June, the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act of 2020 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee, Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). This bill would reauthorize the SFRBTF through 2024 and make important administrative improvements to improve the efficiency of the program. In addition, the House passed a massive infrastructure bill titled the “Moving Forward Act” (H.R. 2), which included the Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety Act. This legislation has been championed in the House by Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) and Garret Graves (R-La.), who introduced standalone legislation last year. “The Sport Fish Restoration Program is one of the nation’s most important conservation programs, and we are grateful that Congress is taking action to ensure this successful program continues into the future,” said Mike Leonard, vice president, Government Affairs, for the American Sportfishing Association. “Since its inception in 1950, the Sport Fish Restoration program has provided billions of dollars to fund fisheries conservation and public access to aquatic resources, providing opportunities for the nation’s 50 million recreational fishermen to enjoy time on the water.” This SFRBTF is funded through multiple sources of revenue including the federal excise tax on recreational fishing equipment, the boat fuel tax, and import duties. Each year about $650 million is provided from the SFRBTF to state wildlife agencies for fisheries management and restoration projects as well as boating infrastructure and other purposes. The SFRBTF began in 1950 with the passage of the Dingell-Johnson Act which established a federal excise tax on recreational fishing equipment. These funds, along with state fishing licensing fees paid by anglers and private donations from angling organizations, has added up to more than $38 billion in conservation funding since 1951, which underscores the enormous impact anglers have on conservation. 12 SALMON THE TAILOUT & STEELHEAD JOURNAL 38