NCWF Action Alert: Calling All Trout Anglers and Water Advocates

Trout streams - revered for their pristine, clear, and cold waters - are habitats for innumerable wildlife species and a public trust resource protected by the state. Tragically, these resources and habitats are threatened and degraded by runoff from  some unchecked agricultural practices. But, fortunately, hope is on the horizon.

In a critical decision for wildlife in North Carolina, the Senate unanimously passed Bill S613, critical legislation aimed at safeguarding trout streams from pollution and sediment runoff. The bill ensures a nominal buffer zone of 25 feet along the banks of designated trout waters for new agricultural uses. The move would treat agricultural use lands the same as other activities like forestry and development within the NC Sedimentation Pollution Control Act.

This minimal safeguard would apply solely to new agricultural lands (existing agricultural lands would remain exempt from the buffer requirements) and will help prevent the loss of farmland from stream erosion as well as protect trout fishing in North Carolina, which has an annual economic impact of $1.38 billion.

Notably, many farmers have expressed support for Bill S613 as a common-sense protection of streams and the land around them, with many farmers already leaving a strip of vegetation between streambanks and their agricultural practices. 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.

This simple 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

S613 passed the Senate with a unanimous vote, but the bill needs your help to get past the finish line.

Take action and message your representative now, emphasizing the importance of protecting this public resource and critical habitat for wildlife in North Carolina!