As the last remnants of winter give way to spring and many of us look forward to turkey hunting and the fishing opener, it is a great time to remember how important natural resources are to our lives here in Wisconsin. From supporting our farming and tourism industries to our rich hunting and fishing traditions, we owe so much to our rivers, lakes, hills and forests. I’m proud to stand up for responsible stewardship to ensure our natural resources can support recreation and jobs for generations to come.
One important way we can preserve our natural heritage is by protecting the Mississippi River. As a lifelong resident of La Crosse, I know how vital the Mississippi is to tourism, recreation, commercial transport and our very way of life. It’s an honor to represent more miles of this mighty river than any other member of Congress, and I take that responsibility very seriously. That’s why I authored the Upper Mississippi River Basin Protection Act to develop a coordinated, public-private approach to reducing nutrient and sediment runoff. The Mississippi floodplain supports a wealth of biodiversity, and we owe it to future generations to make sure it can continue to support our farming economy and regional ecosystems.
We also enjoy a wealth of diverse wildlife recreation opportunities. There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending an early morning with my two sons in a turkey blind or on the river fishing. I grew up hunting and fishing with my family, and I’m passionate about protecting the rights of hunters and anglers across the country so they can pass on the sporting tradition to their children. That’s why last year, I authored the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 to increase funding for wetland conservation, and I’m proud to be a longtime member of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmens Caucus. I am committed to working to promote safety, awareness and conservation of our fish and wildlife.
Like many of you, my family has gotten so much enrichment from time spent in the great outdoors. We can all encourage appreciation for the environment and cultivate a generation that will be good stewards of our land and wildlife for years to come. Families enjoying nature together by camping, hunting, fishing, and hiking will help pave the way for future conservationists. As we continue on with our busy lives, let’s remember to take time to appreciate the natural resources we’ve been blessed with and enjoy everything they have to offer.