Quick Hits: August 24, 2020

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Tropical storm Marco continues to weaken as it approaches Louisiana, but the National Hurricane Center predicted tropical storm Laura will strengthen as is it moves towards the Gulf. Storm surge watches from Marco were discontinued this morning at 9 a.m., according to the NHS. However, a tropical storm warning from Laura is in effect for parts of Cuba, the Florida Keys from Craig Key to Key West, and the Dry Tortugas, the NHS said in an 8 a.m. update. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is expected, and Laura is forecast to become a hurricane by early Tuesday. Tropical storm conditions are also expected within the warning area in the middle and lower Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas this afternoon and tonight.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands. Bernhardt opened over 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 147 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. “On the heels of President Trump signing the most significant conservation and recreation funding in US history, providing nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years to fix and conserve the American people’s public lands, the Trump Administration has now made an additional 2.3 million acres accessible to new hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Bernhardt in a statement, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The California Senate Appropriations Committee shelved a bill that would protect 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030. The recreational marine industry worried that language in AB-3030 was too vague and would impose arbitrary restrictions on boating and fishing. The legislation is expected to be held for the rest of 2020 legislative season that ends Aug. 31. A coalition of recreational boating and fishing groups sought to amend the bill to add clarity, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

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