Public Policy

Hot Topics

Apache Trout Cooperative Management Program (CMP)

AZTU-PPC, as well as TU National are actively engaged in developing a collaborative plan for how we should manage Apache Trout if the US Fish and Wildlife Service decides to delist the Apache Trout because the recovery objectives have been met. Stay tuned for more as this evolves!

Senate Passes Water Infrastructure Bill with Major Investments in Job-Creating Conservation Projects – READ MORE

Priority Waters

One of the major initiatives in the Five-year Strategic Plan coming out of TU National is the concept of “Priority Waters”. As a conservation group, we can be drawn into any number of issues. This initiative recognizes that we can only do so much and we need to FOCUS on the waters that are aligned with our mission: cold, freshwater that sustain native and wild trout (and salmon). We are aligning our focus on the 85 waters in AZ that AZGFD has identified as their current or potential wild and native trout waters. We are once again demonstrating our forward thinking by embracing the “Priority Waters” concept and are pursuing a pilot role in this initiative. The next step is to engage in further dialogue with AZGFD to narrow this further to waters.

2021 Legislative Sessions

The 2021 Arizona legislature is still in session. Rep. Cobb projected on 4/29 that the session will close in mid-May. We’ll see! A few of the most important bills relative to our mission are featured again for this month. Updates are italicized.
Good News:
  • SB1368/HB2056 – This bill, called the “use it or lose it” bill, will allow water rights holders to NOT use their entire allocation without losing future rights to that water. This bill was passed by the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor. This is great news as it allows water rights holders to leave water in rivers and streams without losing their rights to access that water in the future.
  • SB1442/HB2440 – This bill, known as the Governor’s Healthy Forest Initiative, provides for a four-fold increase in the state’s funding for thinning forests at the urban-wildlife interface of our communities using Department Of Corrections inmates. It also provides a career path for incarcerated people. This was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor on 3/9.
  • SB1177/HB2247 – This bill provides tax credits to companies that process forest products. This will support forest thinning by supporting enterprises who will remove the slash (biomass) left over after useful timber is removed. This bill passed the House & Senate and was signed by the Governor on 4/28.
  • SR1002/HR2003 – This bill would strip the ACC of the authority to establish renewable energy standards and transfer that responsibility to the Legislature. It has passed the house and is awaiting action in the Senate. We are opposed to this legislation as we perceive it as a move by the Legislature to stop the transition to renewable energy in Arizona. Ironically, the utility providers in AZ are moving in this direction on their own. This bill is dead.
  • HB2702 – This bill, proposed by Representative Finchem, would require a land-owner to get approval of the Arizona Legislature before being able to sell their land to the federal government. The supporters justify this proposed legislation based on a claim that it would protect the property tax that the state gets on this land because the state does not receive tax revenue from federal land. We are strongly opposed to this legislation. It would deny property owners their rights to do what they deem appropriate with their property without undue interference from the state. Outdoor recreation provides over 200,000 jobs in the state and delivers over $1.4B in state and local tax revenue, which far outweighs the property tax value of the land. This bill has is dead.

Hopeful:

  • SB1384/HB2127 – The American Heritage Fund bill would dedicate $10M to be spent on maintaining and improving Arizona’s trails, parks, cultural sites and open spaces. As of 2/11/2021, this bill has passed the House and is being reviewed in the Senate Appropriations and Rules Committees. We support this legislation. Several amendments have been made on the amount of funding, but it is still in process.
  • HB2691 – Probably the most impactful legislation for protecting the clean, cold water we like to fish is the legislation that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has drafted as the “Surface Water Protection Program”. We have been tracking this in past ZGTU Newsletters. With the issuance of the Navigable Water Protection Rule by the US Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, most of the surface water in AZ has lost its protection. This is Arizona’s attempt to put protections in place. While we are concerned that ephemeral streams may not receive adequate protection and “dredge & fill” is not managed, this is a major step forward. This bill has passed the House and was then passed in the Senate with amendments. It has been sent back to the House on 4/28 to have amendments voted on.
Bad News:
  • HB2679 – This bill would have allowed county boards of supervisors to take action to protect their groundwater. This bill is dead.

National Park Service (NPS) Incentivized Harvest Program at Lee’s Ferry

In the NPS’s efforts to protect the native humpbacked chub, they are offering a $25 bounty on each brown trout over 6 inches caught in the Lee’s Ferry section of the Colorado River. While AZ Trout Unlimited is committed to catch and release, we view this as a less threatening option to repeated electro-shocking to remove the brown trout. Click HERE for additional information.

We encourage our members to participate in this program.

AZTU Public Policy 2021 Strategy

The Public Policy Committee conducted our second annual Strategy Summit and focused our attention on collaboratively developing our Action Plans around three major themes: clean water, catchable native and wild trout in Arizona, and organizational enablement.

The Public Policy Committee meets:

Every second Tuesday of the month
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Contact Tom Osterday at tgosterday@gmail.com for more information or to attend