Bird Conservation photo

Hyperbole is often part and parcel of debates over national policy, as both sides reach for extreme examples to drive home their points.

But when it comes to the decade-long battle sportsmen have fought trying to protect critical wetlands habitat, there isn’t the hint of overstatement to say this:

Today, Nov. 14, is the last chance sportsmen have to tell their congressional delegation that they want protections restored to wetlands critical to waterfowl, fish, and many other species.

That’s because today is the deadline to submit official comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed new rule on wetlands that will restore those protections stripped by Supreme Court rulings back in 2004 and 2006.

Those rulings made 20 million acres of wetlands that had been protected for 30 years vulnerable to development. Those included streamsides for most trout streams as well as prairie potholes vital to waterfowl production. The court didn’t say those habitat should not be protected, only that it felt a previous congress never intended for them to be protected by the Clean Water Act.

Every sportsmen’s conservation group has since joined efforts to correct that. But development forces in the House had its supporters stall or kill any effort to get a bill passed.

The Obama Administration finally did as much as it could by having the EPA look at the law and issue a new definition of what wetlands were covered. More than 200 hunting and fishing groups support such a new rule, and have told congress so.

But in the election two weeks ago, the politicians that oppose it have gained control of both houses of Congress. Even before officially taking over, they have stated their intention to try to cripple the EPA’s ability to enforce regulations.

Many of these congressmen also claim they support hunting and fishing. So it’s important for sportsmen to go on the record so those politicians can not claim they were misunderstood.

You can make your stand for wetlands in less than a minute online here.

Do it now. It’s your last chance.