Article

2016 Policy Resolutions

07/26/2016

Resolutions Passed at the 2016 National Convention
Izaak Walton League of America

 

Restore Chronic Wasting Disease Research Funding

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is expanding into more areas every year. It affects cervids – any member of the deer family. It has expanded to 20 states and shows no signs of slowing this advance. This issue is being complicated by the proliferation of deer and the substantial economic costs associated with CWD.

In recent years, the U.S. federal government has reduced funding for CWD research among cervids. Additional funding is critical to the further identification and remediation of this disease. The environmental impact of not funding this research risks further spread of this disease. The financial impact is currently in the millions of dollars across states dealing with CWD.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, urges the federal government to restore funding for Chronic Wasting Disease research to pre-2011 levels of approximately $17 million annually.

Conservation and Water Quality Plans Agricultural Federal Requirement

Contamination of our water resources by nitrogen and phosphorus is a growing problem across the nation.

Excessive phosphorus in our lakes causes algal blooms, damaging aquatic ecosystems and threatening the health of people who use lakes for recreation.

Excessive nitrate in rivers is causing dangerous levels of nitrate in the drinking water of municipalities and astronomical costs for municipalities that take action to remove nitrate from drinking water.

Many states currently have a policy of enforced regulation of water quality for municipalities and non-agricultural business, but only voluntary action to improve water quality for agriculture.

There is no indication that water quality is improving, or that agriculture is adopting practices to improve water quality at a rate that will improve water quality in the foreseeable future.

72 percent of the nitrate and 80 percent of the phosphorus causing the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico comes from agriculture in the Mississippi River Basin;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July, 22, 2016, advocates that in the next federal Farm Bill, for farmers to get any federal subsidies they should be required to have an approved farm-level water quality plan that addresses the unique water quality concerns on their individual farms.

Further resolved, for a water quality plan to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it should reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loss from the farm to a tolerance level, as determined by state-level water quality research data.

Further resolved, like for current soil conservation plans, water quality plans should allow farmers the flexibility to choose practices that fit their individual farms, as long as those practices meet the tolerance level for both nitrogen and phosphorus loss.

Be it further resolved that, until federal requirements are enacted, all states should require farmers to have an approved farm-level water quality plan that addresses the unique water quality concerns on their individual farms.

Repeal Exemptions for Oil and Gas Industries

More and more attention is being drawn to widespread environmental degradation occurring in the wake of the rapid development of domestic oil and natural gas resources and the continent-wide pipeline projects proposed to transport these fossil fuels. Concurrently, the League has become increasingly concerned for the steady erosion of the seminal environmental laws and programs intended to protect the human and natural environment from short and long-term impacts of this industry.

With the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005, the oil and gas industry was exempted from the most important provisions of our nation’s environmental protection laws. In an October 2007 report by the Oil & Gas Accountability Project, a project of the Earthworks the following statement can be found:

“The oil and gas industry enjoys sweeping exemptions from provisions in the

major federal environmental statutes intended to protect human health and the environment. These statutes include the: 

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Clean Air Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act

This lack of regulatory oversight can be traced to many illnesses and even deaths for people and wildlife across the country. There are a variety of chemicals used during the many phases of oil and gas development. These chemicals also produce varying types of waste throughout these processes. Because of the exemptions and exclusions, toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes are permeating the soil, water sources and the air threatening human health to an alarming extent.”

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, joins with other citizen and Tribal groups calling for repeal of statutory exemptions from all environmental laws extended to the oil and gas industry.  

Opposition Commercial Net-Pen Aquaculture on Public Fresh Waters

Nationwide legislation has been introduced to allow commercial net-pen fish and shellfish farming operations in public fresh waters. Such operation of commercial net-pen aquaculture has been allowed in various fresh waters around the United States.

Escapes of commercially-raised fish have occurred periodically and included mass escapes of such fish in marine coastal waters. They are a genetic threat to native species by interbreeding with wild populations of fish and shellfish.

Further, high concentrations of fish and shellfish in net pens, coupled with poor management, can increase stress thereby increasing disease or parasites within the pen and surrounding waters. Such concentration of fish and shellfish in net-pen operations can result in major buildup and discharge of accumulated fish waste and unused food resulting in decreased dissolved oxygen required for adjacent aquatic communities.

Similarly, such commercial facilities often use high doses and varieties of drugs and food supplements that can threaten local native aquatic communities.

Further, the continual expansion of such operations of net-pen aquaculture in public fresh waters could potentially interfere with fishing and other public use of those waters. This could negatively impact traditional commercial and sport fishing economies that generate billions of dollars for states and local communities every year.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, opposes the use of commercial net-pen aquaculture in the public fresh waters of the United States of America.

Taking of Live Native Fish from Public Waters for Private For-Profit Use

For example, wild populations of flathead, blue, and channel catfish in public rivers and streams have been largely overlooked by some state fish and wildlife agencies and not studied enough to determine what healthy populations should be. Nationwide, the numbers and sizes of large breeding populations of catfish species in some public waters may have decreased significantly over recent years. Current regulations in some states do not adequately protect native populations of catfish from over-exploitation.

In some instances, anglers are catching and moving unsustainable numbers of live, large catfish from public waters to private for-profit facilities, such as “pay lake” fishing operations.

The size and condition of some for-profit operations are not conducive to the health and well-being of transferred wild fish and often lead to the spread of disease and unhygienic conditions for the fisheries.  Added damage to fishery ecosystem occurs since large catfish are apex predators in most lakes, rivers, and streams and they are needed to provide a healthy and natural aquatic environment.

Further, the proliferation of such “pay lake” operations exploit public resources and foster a diminished sporting ethic.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, opposes the unregulated harvest of live, native species of fish for transfer from public fresh waters, including interstate transfers, for private commercial use or for-profit fishing operations.

Enbridge #5 Pipeline

There is widespread concern among citizens living near the Straits, in the watershed, and across the United States and Canada that the world’s largest freshwater resource could be negatively impacted from potential contamination emanating from a leak in the old and deteriorating Enbridge #5 pipeline carrying various petroleum products.

State legislators in Michigan and members of Congress from Michigan and other Great Lakes States are calling for action; however, the double-wall pipeline seems to be getting little if an attention.  A double-wall pipeline would be a good resolution to the concern and be one of the quickest ways to resolve the concern.

The most important element of a double-wall pipeline is to reduce the likelihood that the material being transported in the pipeline would be discharged into the environment. The second wall contains the polluting material.

The League currently has in its Conservation Policies an item calling for double-wall pipelines in sensitive areas.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, urges that the Enbridge # 5 pipeline, for its length across the Straits of Mackinac, be immediately replaced with a modern double-wall pipeline, including emergency shutdown systems,  to protect sensitive water resources.

Conserve, Restore, and Promote Pollinators and their Habitats

It is the mission of the Izaak Walton League “To conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources, including soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.”

Pollinators throughout the world have experienced dramatic declines due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, use of pesticides, and the spread of pests and diseases, with grave consequences for the future of our native flora and fauna and the food that we eat.

Pollinators are an important indicator species and make up a significant portion of the base of the food web, and providing habitat for pollinators and decreasing the use of pesticides will benefit multiple other species of animal, and will also improve water quality, decrease erosion, protect human health, and have other beneficial environmental consequences.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, calls for enhanced deployment of peer-reviewed science and labeling that clearly warns users of known hazards to pollinators associated with the use of pesticides and other chemicals. The use of  pesticides, particularly systemic pesticides and non-selective pesticides such as neonicotinoids, and other chemicals that harm or destroy pollinators and their habitats, should be strictly regulated by these guidelines.

Be it further resolved, that the Izaak Walton League and its chapters support, promote, create, and maintain pollinator-friendly habitat in rural, suburban and urban areas that:

  • Provides diverse and abundant nectar and pollen from plants blooming in succession.
  • Provides clean water for drinking, nest-building, cooling, and butterfly puddling.
  • Is pesticide-free or has pesticide use carried out with the fewest ill effects on pollinators, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods are utilized in order to prevent the overuse of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Is comprised of mostly, if not all, native species of annual and perennial wildflowers, shrubs, trees, grasses and other plants that many native pollinators prefer or depend on.
  • Includes public spaces with signage to educate the public and build awareness on the importance of pollinators and their habitats wherever possible.
  • Leaves un-mowed areas like marginal and odd parcels of farmland, buffer strips along drainage ways, lakes, streams and wetlands, utility rights-of-way, roadsides, and the landscapes around homes and commercial properties.
  • Provides undisturbed spaces (leaf and brush piles, fallen trees and other dead wood) for nesting and overwintering for native pollinators.

Climate Change

The major scientific agencies of the United States, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are contributing to it. In 2010, the National Research Council concluded that “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems” (see https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/facts.html#ref1).  Many independent scientific organizations have released similar statements, both in the United States and abroad. This doesn't necessarily mean that every scientist sees eye to eye on each component of the climate change problem, but broad agreement exists that climate change is happening and is primarily caused by excess greenhouse gases from human activities.

Multiple temperature records from all over the world have all shown a warming trend, and these records have been deemed reliable by NASA and NOAA, among others (see https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/facts.html#ref8). Other observations that point to higher global temperature includes: warmer oceans, melting arctic sea ice and glaciers, sea level rise, increasing precipitation, and changing wind patterns (see https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/facts.html#ref4).

The vast majority of the Earth's water resources are salt water, with only 2.5% being fresh water. Approximately 70% of the fresh water available on the planet is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland leaving the remaining 30% (equal to only 0.7% of total water resources worldwide) available for consumption. From this remaining 0.7%, roughly 87% is allocated to agricultural purposes (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007). The rate of evaporation varies a great deal, depending on temperature and relative humidity, which impacts the amount of water available to replenish groundwater supplies. The combination of shorter duration but more intense rainfall (meaning more runoff and less infiltration) combined with increased evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the earth's land surface to atmosphere) and increased irrigation is expected to lead to groundwater depletion (Konikow and Kendy 2005).

The impact of climate change, as currently predicted and understood by leading scientists and scientific bodies around the world in reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as in reports from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences, will dramatically and negatively affect our natural resources.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Izaak Walton League of America, assembled in convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, July 22, 2016, recognizes climate change as a critical risk to the future sustainability of our soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife.  Be it further resolved, the League advocates for the implementation of mitigative actions to reduce the impacts of climate change to sustain our natural resources for the benefit of future generations.