In early February, the US Forest Service issued new draft rules to implement the National Forest Management Act. The draft rules, open for public comment for 90 days, are a much-needed step towards safeguarding fly-fishing on these 193 million acres of public lands.
According to Trout Unlimited, national forests support the vast majority of healthy native trout populations in the Western United States. Increased drought, catastrophic wildfire and other threats to these fish and their habitat can be decreased with policies that better manage activities, like road building, that increase stream sedimentation, while providing adequate stream buffers and safeguarding forest types that support cold water.
The draft rule provides an excellent start. AFFTA will be working with our colleagues to ensure that the final rule protects fish and wildlife habitat and provides for improved fishing opportunities.