WASHINGTON –Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works members today approved the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 that contains provisions to help Arkansans including an amendment introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR). The Boozman amendment will strengthen partnerships between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and community groups that want to improve and reinvest in Corps parks, recreation sites and facilities.
“By allowing communities and non-profit groups to reinvest resources at Corps facilities, we can improve the quality of services offered to Arkansans and help keep more sites open and operating,” Boozman said.
This amendment is identical to the Corps of Engineers Cooperative Joint Management Restoration Act, legislation Boozman introduced during the 113th Congress.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 updates existing programs to increase hunting and fishing access and improve opportunities for outdoor recreation users on federal lands.
The legislation includes another provision co-authored by Boozman to prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from unfairly penalizing farmers and hunters who are engaged in long-standing and normal agricultural practices. Increasing production of second crop rice is good for the environment and conservation and it provides excellent waterfowl foraging habitat. Unfortunately, rolling fields is a science-based agricultural practice is in the cross-hairs of the FWS. The Boozman language will protect farmers and hunters from these fines and improve habitat for birds, creating a true win-win.
The legislation also supports federal-state cooperation and support for public shooting ranges, extends voluntary programs that conserve wetlands and restores Second Amendment rights to law-abiding citizens who possess firearms on Corps-operated sites. Arkansans can carry a firearm when they visit a National Forest, but under current rules, the Corps prevents citizens from observing their Constitutional Rights on its property.