Calling All Trout Anglers and Water Advocates: S613 Passes Senate, Needs Help Passing House
Despite a unanimous passage in the Senate, Bill S613 – the most basic of conservation measures aimed at safeguarding trout streams from pollution and sediment runoff – is facing opposition in the NC House of Representatives.
The simple legislation ensures a nominal buffer zone of 25 feet for new agriculture activities along the banks of designated trout waters. The move simply treats agriculture lands the same as other activities like forestry and development within the NC Sedimentation Pollution Control Act. This simple, common-sense solution deserves passing in order that trout kills and stream pollution are avoided, unlike in this example: Case for Protecting Trout Waters NCWF Trout Waters Fact Sheet.
Trout streams are revered for their pristine, clear, and cold waters, which are considered a shared resource belonging to the public. The trout swimming within these streams are a public trust resource protected by the state. The passage of Bill S613 is seen as a common-sense and necessary step in preserving this invaluable public resource and preventing its degradation.
Again, the legislation solely applies to new agricultural lands, meaning existing agricultural lands remain exempt from the buffer requirements.
Notably, many farmers have expressed support for Bill S613 as a common-sense protection of streams and the land around them. Recognizing the detrimental consequences of eroded stream banks and the subsequent loss of land, many farmers already leave a strip of vegetation between their agricultural activities and the streambanks. Their endorsement of the bill, alongside the backing from outdoor recreation groups, highlights the collaborative effort to ensure the preservation and enjoyment of these vital waterways.
As previously noted, S613 passed the Senate with a unanimous vote, but it needs your help to overcome any opposition to reach the finish line.
– Written by Bates Whitaker, NCWF Communications & Marketing Manager