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Water Poll: Hunters and Anglers Appreciate the Small Things

A new poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found 83 percent of those surveyed agree that Clean Water Act rules should apply to small waterways. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A new poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found 83 percent of those surveyed agree that Clean Water Act rules should apply to small waterways. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
July 23, 2015

HELENA, Mont. – When it comes to keeping small streams and wetlands clean, there's little controversy among hunters and anglers.

A new poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation found 83 percent of those surveyed agree that Clean Water Act rules should apply to small waterways.

Dave Chadwick at the Montana Wildlife Federation says the results are not surprising, even with moves in Congress and the courts to end the protections.

"At the end of the day, hunters and anglers want politicians to put the rhetoric aside and put into place common-sense protections for headwaters and wetlands," he says.

A rule clarifying that the Clean Water Act applies to streams and wetlands was finalized in May. Those objecting to the rule call it an example of government overreach.

The survey demographics show about half of those polled identify with the Tea Party. According to pollster Lori Weigel with Public Opinion Strategies, hunters and anglers generally tend to carry conservative political views and live in rural areas. But she says hunters and anglers also carry strong common-sense values.

"It doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of good to protect and clean up and restore these larger rivers and lakes if the waters flowing into them are polluted," she says.

Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said the Clean Water Act has been good for the country. Eighty-two percent said water could be kept clean without hurting local economies or jobs.

Two firms, one considered Democratic-leaning and the other Republican, conducted the poll.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT