U.S. Forest Service's New Plans Promote Fish Habitats

fish habitat

The planning regulations finalized last week by the U.S. Forest Service place an emphasis on the sustainability of water resources and fish and wildlife habitat. According to, Steve Moyer, vice president for government affairs at Trout Unlimited, this will help support healthy watersheds and protect fishing opportunities on public lands.

The proposed regulations are required under the National Forest Management Act of 1976 to direct the development, amendment and revision of management plans for national forests and national grasslands. The rules affect the planning for 193 million acres of federal land, which contains 400,000 miles of streams and 3 million acres of lakes, and supports some of our nation's most vital trout and salmon fisheries.

"National forests form the headwaters of most of our nation's major river basins, provide habitat for trout and salmon and recreational opportunities for anglers, and provide clean water for communities and irrigators," Moyer said. "Trout Unlimited is pleased to see the Forest Service recognize these values in its proposed planning rule."

National forests provide an abundance of fishing opportunities, from the brook trout streams of the Appalachians to great western rivers like the Snake, Missouri, and Colorado to the high mountain lakes of the Sierras and the coastal salmon and steelhead waters of the Pacific Northwest. National forests also contribute clean, cold water from headwater tributaries to downstream fisheries.

An effective planning rule will help groups like Trout Unlimited partner with the Forest Service to protect and enhance aquatic habitat and water resources so that the next generation will have access to healthy populations of trout, salmon and steelhead.

"For decades, planning rules have been marked by litigation and controversy, resulting in unclear direction and guidance for Forest Service managers," Moyer said. "Meanwhile, climate change and other stressors have created new challenges on the landscape. We look forward to working with the Forest Service to ensure that the final rule will help to protect, reconnect, and restore the lands and waters that sustain the nation."

Trout Unlimited is a private, non-profit organization with more than 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.

Recommended Videos

Brewster's 320-Plus Mega Giant: Buck of the Century?

North American Whitetail editor Gordon Whittington and Luke Brewster talk about the scoring process involved with his 320 5/8-inch pending world record non-typical buck from Illinois.

SHOT Show 2019: Browning T-Bolt Rimfire

Game & Fish Editor-in-Chief John Geiger highlights the Browning T-Bolt Rimfire at SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.