The last, but certainly not least activity that AAS volunteers are encouraged to undertake is citizen advocacy. To be an advocate means to defend a cause or proposal. To support the AAS program, we encourage you to become an advocate for legislation that will protect Mississippi’s lakes, streams, and rivers. To be an advocate could be as simple as sending a quick note to your legislator, or for the more enthusiastic, a visit to the state capitol. Whatever the scope, plan to get involved! The following pages give detailed instructions on how you can be a more effective advocate for preserving our water resources.
During the past three decades, a variety of laws have been passed to regulate water quality, wetlands, scenic rivers and streams. Examples are the Clean Water Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, The Farm Bill, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. If you think you can’t influence what goes on in Congress or in the Mississippi legislature, consider this: Each year, citizens concerned about their environment persuade Congress and the Legislature to enact laws to protect our health and the health of our waters. Our country’s rivers, streams, and lakes will be cleaner because people like you convinced your representatives to pass such laws. Your representatives will listen to you, because your views provide first hand information on how an issue affects the people “back home.”
How to find out about current issues:
There are many great sources of information on issues and pending legislation affecting water, such as your local or statewide newspapers and broadcast news. News reporters sometimes give only a brief overview of an issue, but oftentimes it is enough to help a citizen find out where to go for more information.
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation is one of only a few citizens’ advocacy organizations that monitor state and national legislation, regulations, and public projects which affect our state’s waters. They frequently provide information to members as well as interested citizens on bills and proposed regulations, and are happy to include the Adopt-A-Stream Stewards in this public awareness effort. By contacting their office, you can find out the latest on legislation, or you may call the Congressional or Legislative switchboards for bill status.
Another way to stay informed on issues that affect fisheries and wildlife management and outdoor recreation interests in Mississippi is to join the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Camo Coalition. The Camo Coalition was formed to keep Mississippians aware of legislation that affects fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation interest. MWF will provide you with the necessary information and tools to take action on critical issues that will affect Mississippi’s outdoor interests. Join the Camo Coalition at www.mswildlife.org/camouflagecoalitian.html.