General News: Look What You've Done! Progress During a Difficult Year

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Gauley River in West Virginia - credit Dave Bier, National Park Service

Thanks to the Izaak Walton League’s more than 40,000 members, we achieved important successes in 2020 – from major legislative victories, to effective on-the-ground action for clean water, to crucial alliances and new members.

We have much work ahead of us, as you’ll read about elsewhere in this issue. But we invite you to remember the incredible accomplishments that your support has made possible.

In August, the League capped off more than 50 years of patient and persistent effort by helping to secure the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. This law guarantees full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

At the chapter level, Ikes across the country adapted to COVID-19 by holding socially distanced events, promoting their programs and attracting new members. By finding the silver lining in the situation and extending a welcome to the many people seeking outdoor recreation, chapters led the way to the League’s highest membership level since 2013.

Even with pandemic protocols in place, clean water volunteers in many parts of the nation continued their vital work. Save Our Streams volunteers in Iowa monitored twice as many stream sites as they had in previous years. Stream savers who shared their “Stream Selfies” helped League staff create a map of litter hot spots. Our third season of the Salt Watch program delivered more than 750 salt test readings, which tripled the previous year’s returns. And a Salt Watcher in South Dakota spotted an oil spill and alerted local authorities, which spurred swift action to address the problem.

In addition to growing membership by connecting with communities, the League continued to build consensus for common-sense conservation. We partnered with other group to push back against Pebble Mine, which would have permanently damaged Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay region. We helped to secure renewal of Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program, which otherwise would have expired. That program protects and improves parks, waterways and other natural areas.

We also collaborated with the Audubon Naturalist Society to create the Creek Critters stream monitoring app, and we hosted a highly successful series of Clean Water Webinars that attracted more than 1,300 participants.

Among partnerships formed in 2020, we joined a coalition of hunting, angling and outdoor recreation groups in a climate statement to tell elected leaders that the conservation and wildlife community is serious about responding to the climate crisis. Prior to that statement, we had already added a page to our website showing the solutions that will help natural areas and wildlife adapt to a changing climate, build resilience into our agricultural systems and foster a healthy outdoor America for future generations.

Be part of our success – Join the Izaak Walton League

Top photo: One common benefit of LWCF is providing public access to outdoor recreation in places like the Gauley River, WV, pictured here. Credit: Dave Bier, National Park Service.