Outdoor Recreation & Sportsmen

Fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation are a way of life in Indiana. Whether it’s fishing in Lake Michigan, duck hunting at Goose Pond, hiking in Turkey Run, or horseback riding in Brown County, enjoying the outdoors is part of our Hoosier heritage. Recreational activities are also an important economic driver in our state, supporting Hoosier jobs and strengthening our communities. Joe thinks it is essential that we protect and enhance access to the outdoors and remember our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and wildlife.

Sportsmen’s Act, Recreational Fisheries Modernization

In order to protect and enhance recreational opportunities, Joe has cosponsored bipartisan sportsmen’s legislation that includes regulatory reforms and habitat conservation provisions, which if enacted into law, would expand access to land for recreational activities like hunting, fishing, or sport shooting. S. 733, the Sportsmen’s Act, would also help develop additional public shooting ranges, which offer safety trainings and opportunities for shooting sports. Joe is also a supporter of efforts to update the Pittman-Robertson program, which supports promotion and education efforts for the next generation of outdoor sports enthusiasts.

As an avid fisherman, Joe has been working with his colleagues on bipartisan legislation that would direct federal fisheries programs to work with recreational and commercial fishers to better conserve and promote North American fisheries. S. 1520, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, if enacted into law, would study South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico mixed-use fisheries to develop updated criteria and procedures for setting catch limits, as well as specify timelines for rebuilding overfished fisheries.

Conservation Efforts

Joe is honored to be a member of the Senate Ag Committee, where he has been able to lead and support a number of our most important conservation efforts. Joe knows that no one wants improved soil health and better water quality more than the families who live on American farms and work to conserve our farmland every day. That is why Joe remains committed to ensuring that farmers have the necessary technical assistance from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to implement conservation practices on working lands and supporting important programs like the Conservation Reserve Program in order to re-establish land cover and wildlife habitat on environmentally sensitive land.

Further, Joe regularly and actively supports public land conservation efforts and expanding access for recreational activities through grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). LWCF plays an important role in conserving and restoring land by providing matching grants to states and local governments to obtain and develop outdoor areas and facilities. Similarly, NAWCA grants are focused on protecting, restoring, and enhancing wetland habitats and bird populations that are essential for recreational activities like hunting, fishing, and birdwatching.