Contact: Cora Ellenson-Myers, 218-341-8045, [email protected]
Minneapolis, MN.- Nearly 1.5 million fishing licenses were sold in Minnesota this summer, showing just one of the many ways that Minnesotans love using their waterways like The Mississippi River and Lake Calhoun, according to Environment Minnesota’s new Summer Fun Index. The new fact sheet comes as summer draws to close, and as officials consider a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections for 51% of the state’s rivers and streams.
“We all know clean water means summer fun. There’s nothing quite like biking around Lake Calhoun, or canoeing on the Mississippi,” said Cora Ellenson-Myers, organizer with Environment Minnesota. “Our Summer Fun Index shows how important it is to protect our waters.”
According to the index, fishing and visiting state parks with waterways are popular activities for visitors to Minnesota waterways, with nearly 1,500,000 fishing licenses in the state and nearly 1,000,000 visitors to state parks with waterways.
“Minnesotans love their lakes, streams, and rivers,” said Gary Botzek, Executive Director of the Minnesota Conservation Federation. “Whether you fish, or canoe, or just sit on the deck and watch the sunset from your lake cabin clean water is key to the quality of life for our state,” he added.
Despite their popularity, more than 47,000 miles of Minnesota’s rivers and streams are not guaranteed protection under the nation’s Clean Water Act, thanks to a loophole in the law secured by developers and other polluters nearly a decade ago.
In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to restore protections for the headwaters, streams, and wetlands left in limbo by the loophole; but agribusinesses, oil companies, and others are campaigning heavily against it. Next week the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on a bill, HR 5078, to block the rule.
The EPA is taking public comments on the measure through the fall. Environment Minnesota pointed to the stats on how much people use and enjoy Minnesota waterways as support for EPA’s proposed rule.
“Whether we enjoy them for fishing, boating, or swimming, we all have a stake in the health of Lake Calhoun and the rest of our waterways,” said Ellenson-Myers. “We should be doing everything we can to protect all of our rivers, lakes and streams.”