National Fish Habitat Partnership is codified through signature of America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (S. 3051)

Big news for the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership! On Friday, President Trump signed S. 3051, America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (ACE Act) into law at the White House. The ACE Act passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and unanimous consent. Among other actions, this bill codifies the National Fish Habitat Partnership, which is the parent organization to the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership.

Photo: Lisa Borre

“The over 40,000 lakes in the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership are a treasure that we must conserve,” said Todd Tisler, Chairperson of the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership. “Healthy lakes support ecologically diverse fish populations, which in turn help support a recreational fishing industry of 7.1 million anglers valued at $8.4 billion. This legislation recognizes and supports the efforts of the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership and others in the National Fish Habitat Partnership as we seek to protect, restore, and enhance these ecosystems for current and future generations.” The ACE Act authorizes $7.2 million for fish habitat conservation projects through the National Fish Habitat Partnership. The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership anticipates distributing its portion of this funding through a competitive grant similar to its existing Lake Conservation Grant.

Upon signature into law, the National Fish Habitat Partnership is authorized at $7.2 million annually from FY21- FY25. The National Fish Habitat Board will now report to Congress, specifically the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate, and the Committee on Natural Resources of the U.S. House of Representatives. The law expands the National Fish Habitat Board to 26 members, to include broad representation from a diversity of groups. Up to $400,000 in technical and scientific assistance funds are authorized to be appropriated annually for FY21 – FY25 to each of the following agencies in support of the National Fish Habitat Partnership: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.

“With President Trump’s signing of the ACE Act, we celebrate the culmination of over a decade of effort to codify the National Fish Habitat Partnership with organic legislation. The Partnership, and the thousands of people involved in local, grassroots projects, have done remarkable work protecting, enhancing, and restoring fish habitat across the country,” said Ed Schriever, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “This Congressional recognition of the program marks the beginning of an exciting chapter for the Partnership and the American people whose pleasure, passion, and livelihoods are derived from healthy habitat and vibrant fishery resources.”

The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership regularly provides updates and resources on fish habitat conservation issues related to natural lakes, including its Lake Conservation Grant. If you haven’t already done so, you can sign up for newsletter updates or follow us on Twitter.