Quality water resources are essential to life on this planet. Water supports municipal and industrial development, the agricultural industry, and outdoor recreation. Surface water is a public resource and mustbe responsibly shared by all users.
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There are 40 million anglers in the United States. More Americans fish than play golf (24.4 million) and tennis (10.4 million) combined. Another 13 million registered boaters rely on quality water resources to enjoy a quality recreational experience.
These 40 million anglers generate $45 billion in sales which has a ripple effect through the nation's economy generating $125 billion in overall economic activity. This activity results in $16.4 billion in state and federal taxes and supports more than 1 million jobs.
Anglers and boaters support conservation through an excise tax on equipment and fuel through the long-standing Sport Fish Restoration Program. In 2006 anglers purchased $600 million in fishing licenses and added another $600 million through excise taxes. This resulted in $1.2 billion that anglers contributed directly to state fisheries agencies for conservation programs.
Irrespective of the many successful efforts to improve fisheries, aquatic habitat quality continues to decline at an alarming rate.
Sport fishing and the industries that it supports would not exist without fish and fish would not exist without healthy habitats.
There are moral imperatives for maintaining healthy aquatic habitats. In our reservoir systems there are economic imperatives as well. Good habitat is good business!