Fisheries Scientist Kristi Miller Muzzled about Wild Salmon Collapse Study

The fin of a sockeye salmon taken at Roderick-Haig Brown Regional Park during the sockeye run in October 2010. Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada's West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.

 

Kristi Miller, a Canadian scientist who published a study on the collapse of Canada’s West Coast salmon in the leading research journal Science has been muzzled by Ottowa’s Privy Council Office from speaking about the research. The research showed a possible link between farm raised salmon exposing wild salmon to disease.

The fin of a sockeye salmon taken at Roderick-Haig Brown Regional Park during the sockeye run in October 2010. Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada's West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.

 

Kristi Miller, a Canadian scientist who published a study on the collapse of Canada’s West Coast salmon in the leading research journal Science has been muzzled by Ottowa’s Privy Council Office from speaking about the research. The research showed a possible link between farm raised salmon exposing wild salmon to disease. Miller’s research is funded by the Canadian government, and new rules about what scientists can and cannot say are quite alarming. As an article on Canada.com stated:  

The Harper government has tightened the leash on federal scientists, whose work is financed by taxpayers and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, air pollution or food safety. 

Researchers, who used to be free to discuss their science, are now required to follow a process that includes “media lines” approved by communications officers, strategists and ministerial staff in Ottawa. They vet media requests, demand reporters’ questions in advance and decide when and if researchers can give interviews.

 

Read more at the Canada.com article.

 

 

And the Winner of the Helios Fly Rod Outfit Is…

 switch

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of the July 2011 OrvisNews.com Helios Fly Rod Outfit Giveaway is Ken S., who won when his comment on the OrvisNews.com blog post, My First Landlocked Salmon, was picked at random. Leave a comment in the month of August, and maybe we will pick your comment at random to win a Helios Fly Rod Outfit of your choice. Good luck!

 switch

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of the July 2011 OrvisNews.com Helios Fly Rod Outfit Giveaway is Ken S., who won when the comment he left on the OrvisNews.com blog post, My First Landlocked Salmon, was picked at random. Leave a comment in the month of August, and maybe we will pick your comment at random to win a Helios Fly Rod Outfit of your choice. Good luck!

Top 10 Dog Books for Summer Reading

If you are reading this post, you are very likely a dog lover, and a book lover as well, looking for a good read about one of your favorite subjects. Well,  Louise, a bookseller at an independent book store near our Orvis home offices put together a list of top ten dog books for summer reading for a great site eardog.com.

The list includes classic favorites and fantastic new books, ranging from humorous, to nostalgic, heartbreaking, and informative.

If you are reading this post, you are very likely a dog lover, and a book lover as well, looking for a good read about one of your favorite subjects. Well,  Louise, a bookseller at an independent book store near our Orvis home offices put together a list of top ten dog books for summer reading for a great site eardog.com.

The list includes classic favorites and fantastic new books, ranging from humorous, to nostalgic, heartbreaking, and informative.

Check out the list and start reading today.

 

Authors Rick Bass and David James Duncan’s Book Helps Fight Mega-Trucking Corridor in the Rockies

 

All Against the Haul is group organized to protest the construction of a permanent industrial corridor along rural roads in the Northwest and Northern Rockies, which oil companies will use for mega-trucking to get the Alberta tar sands. Renowned writers Rick Bass and David James Duncan collaborated on a book about this impact his proposed corridor could have on the region, and the world.

 

All Against the Haul is group organized to protest the construction of a permanent industrial corridor along rural roads in the Northwest and Northern Rockies, which oil companies will use for mega-trucking to get large equipment to the Alberta tar sands. Renowned writers Rick Bass and David James Duncan collaborated on a book about the impact this proposed corridor could have on the region, and the world.

I caught up with Rick Bass recently to find out more about the corridor, All Against the Haul, and what about the issue compelled him and Mr. Duncan to collaborate on the book, The Heart of the Monster: Why the Pacific Northwest & Northern Rockies Must Not Become an ExxonMobil Conduit to the Alberta Tar Sands— proceeds from which go to All Against the Haul.

1) First, if you can tell us a bit more about the corridor, All Against the Haul, and what this issue means to you personally and, as you see it, what is means to the region’s, even the world’s interest in the balance between the environment and commerce?

The Exxon-proposed corridor, designed to connect the manufacturing of giant South Korean-made mining equipment, with the vast tar sands deposits in southern Alberta—the largest industrial project in the world—has been proposed without due diligence to come up the Snake River on barges from the Pacific, then on trucks up along Idaho’s Lochsa River, over Lolo Pass on the Montana-Idaho border, through smalltown Montana, along Norman Maclean’s Blackfoot River of A River Runs Through It fame, and then up along the majestic and incomparable Rocky Mountain Front, through Choteau—the heart of the Front, in Montana—and on through Indian country, crossing over then into Canada, and proceeding to the great boreal forest of Canada, which is being scraped away to access the tar. (The boreal forest up there has been likened to being the lungs of North America, capable of absorbing great and critical amounts of carbon dioxide).

Further, this barge traffic on the Snake will “ratify” the continued damming of that once-great salmon corridor, creating a perceived need for those subsidized dams to remain in place, rather than removing them and letting wild salmon return to the western U.S.

2) You’ve both written great books that center on nature and, Rick, you’ve written a great deal on conservation and activism. While this issue is important, what about it stood out so much from so many of the other tough environmental issues that you each decided to write The Heart of the Monster?

NASA scientist Jim Hansen has said that if the tar sands extraction proceeds as planned, it will singlehandedly tip the planet irreversibly beyond any hope of mitigating or stopping global warming. And for now the fight all boils down to Montana. If we can cut off the supply lines through our beautiful state, maybe we can buy enough time for a truer accounting system to be set in place, one that rewards clean energy and taxes dirty energy, as a way of mitigating the damage we are doing not just to the future, but to the here and now. It’s literally the biggest battle in the world, and it passes right through our state, through our home country, and no one knows about it yet.

3) How does Heart of the Monster tackle this huge issue?

David writes an impassioned nonfiction memoir, chock-filled with facts, while I write a fictional piece about an imaginary Western politician of immense gifts who finds himself corrupted by his willingness to please Big Oil.

4) You two have never collaborated before, what brought the collaboration into being?

Crisis! During the week of the 4th of July, 2010, David and I attended a meeting of local activists in Missoula in which we all brainstormed and tried to figure out what each of us could do.

5) There are some readers who may feel that The Heart of the Monster is a book of conjecture, that the accidents and negative impact that you predict might well never happen. As terrible and preventable as the recent Yellowstone River oil spill was, do you think it might help sway those who would otherwise hold the view that books like Heart of the Monster are “alarmist” or “anti-commerce”?

I hope so. My experience in the oilfield is not insubstantial. Exxon, of course, makes a living by telling people not to worry—as do BP and other giant oil companies. It’s certainly the message we would like to believe.

Ultimately in a democracy, it’s up to each of us to get involved and decide who’s right, and who’s got skin in the game, and who doesn’t: who benefits, who loses. The main theme I would want to expose is that current economic system does not price the true accountability of oil. The future will be paying for this artificial pricing system. We simply can’t afford it. It is killing us, and turning countries against one another, and is killing our health, our quality of life. It is a massive, toxic, sick, twisted subsidy, a monstrous subsidy. It is a speculative bubble yet, with the world’s atmosphere and climate at stake. Life will survive, even prosper. Human beings might even survive. But the suffering—economic, social, environmental—doesn’t have to happen. We can still make corrections, though barely, now.

6) After folks read your book, or even if they don’t, how can they get involved, how can they make a real impact?

All the usual ways—visiting the All Against the Haul website, signing the petition, writing legislators—but mostly just talking to friends and neighbors about the lunacy of tar sands extraction, and the unchecked and destructive power of corporations.

 

Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts on the tar sands corridor through the American Rockies.

Rick Bass is an environmental activist, former petroleum geologist, and author who has written many books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the natural world and our relationship with and impact upon it. His books include, The Book of Yaak, Winter: Notes from Montana, Where the Sea Used to Be, and many others. David James Duncan is the author of the novels The River Why and The Brothers K.

Picture(s) of the Day: Huge Big Hole River Brown Trout II

Big Hole Monster 1

This aged, 27-inch brown trout was taken from a high-and-muddy Big Hole River.

photo by Chuck Page

On Tuesday, we posted pictures of a monster brown trout caught by a novice angler on the Big Hole in Montana. She was part of a group of female anglers known as The Quality Chicks (check out their story over on the Women in Fly Fishing blog). Well, the saga doesn’t end there. Here’s another update from Wade Fellin, of Big Hole Lodge:

Big Hole Monster 1

This aged, 27-inch brown trout was taken from a high-and-muddy Big Hole River.

photo by Chuck Page

On Tuesday, we posted pictures of a monster brown trout caught by a novice angler on the Big Hole in Montana. She was part of a group of female anglers known as The Quality Chicks (check out their story over on the Women in Fly Fishing blog). Well, the saga doesn’t end there. Here’s another update from Wade Fellin, of Big Hole Lodge:

 

 

Big Hole Monster 2

As if one fish of a lifetime wasn’t enough, the same lucky Quality Chicks angler
landed this healthier-looking 24-inch beauty a couple hours later.

photo by Chuck Page

Suzanne, co-founder of The Quality Chicks boated browns of 27 inches and 24 inches on the Big Hole with guide Chuck Page on Thursday.  We woke up to thunder and hail at 6:00 a.m., quickly turning to pouring rain. Expectations were low for the final day of the fishing week. The hail and rain blew out a bank on Deep Creek, turning the Big Hole into a chocolate-milk color. The rain lasted through the morning and into the early afternoon. Despite the rain, three miles into the float, Suzanne hooked into a monster.  This 27-inch male trout is most likely very old and had been in a battle with an eagle or osprey judging by the missing tail chunk. Two hours later, Suzanne landed a fat 24-inch male. Two fish of a lifetime in one day!

 

Yellowstone River Oil Spill Update

yellowstone river

The Yellowstone River

The EPA updated its site yesterday regarding ExxonMobil’s clean-up plan for the oil spill on the Yellowstone River, which, though it did affect ranchers and other landowners, has NOT affected fishing. In part, the EPA stated:

“Over the weekend, ExxonMobil delivered a draft work plan to EPA. The work plan contains seven elements. EPA has determined three of those elements require further clarification and scope definition by the company. EPA has instructed ExxonMobil to provide a revised plan within the week. Those three areas that will be addressed are the oil recovery containment, source release area, and remediation sections of the plan.”

UPDATE: Jason Elkins of Orvis Travel notes that fly fishermen traveling to Montana have little to fear from the oil slick. “Although this is a serious issue, trout fishermen may be relieved to know that the spill is located far downstream from any trout habitat. Anglers planning to fish in Yellowstone Park or on the Yellowstone River this summer will not be impacted by the oil spill.”

yellowstone river

The Yellowstone River

The EPA updated its site yesterday regarding ExxonMobil’s clean-up plan for the oil spill on the Yellowstone River, which, though it did affect ranchers and other landowners, has NOT affected fishing. In part, the EPA stated:

“Over the weekend, ExxonMobil delivered a draft work plan to EPA. The work plan contains seven elements. EPA has determined three of those elements require further clarification and scope definition by the company. EPA has instructed ExxonMobil to provide a revised plan within the week. Those three areas that will be addressed are the oil recovery containment, source release area, and remediation sections of the plan.”It sounds like Exxon/Mobil never had a clear plan for recovery containment, nor do they know precisely where the release is taking place. Read more at the EPA site.

It sounds as though Exxon/Mobil never had a clear plan for recovery or containment, nor do they know precisely where the release is taking place. Read more at the EPA site.

UPDATE: Jason Elkins of Orvis Travel notes that fly fishermen traveling to Montana have little to fear from the oil slick. “Although this is a serious issue, trout fishermen may be relieved to know that the spill is located far downstream from any trout habitat. Anglers planning to fish in Yellowstone Park or on the Yellowstone River this summer will not be impacted by the oil spill.”

Picture(s) of the Day: Huge Big Hole River Brown Trout

Big Hole Brown Trout 1

After spending the morning learning how to cast, Cheryl went out on the Big Hole
and slammed this monstrous brown trout on a dry fly.

photo by Wade Fellin

Wade Fellin, a fly-fishing guide at
Big Hole Lodge, sent us these great photos, along with an inspiring story of beginner’s luck:

Cheryl had been working hard on learning how to fly cast all morning. She had finally made her leader turn over consistently after lunch, when we saw an unassuming rise in an eddy. I rowed closer, and Cheryl made a perfect cast with a salmon fly imitation, executed a perfect mend, and BOOM!  She was soon landing this 24-inch Big Hole brown trout!

Click “Read More” to see more pictures.

Big Hole Brown Trout 1

After spending the morning learning how to cast, Cheryl went out on the Big Hole
and slammed this monstrous brown trout on a dry fly.

photo by Wade Fellin

Wade Fellin, a fly-fishing guide at
Big Hole Lodge, sent us these great photos, along with an inspiring story of beginner’s luck:

Cheryl had been working hard on learning how to fly cast all morning. She had finally made her leader turn over consistently after lunch, when we saw an unassuming rise in an eddy. I rowed closer, and Cheryl made a perfect cast with a salmon fly imitation, executed a perfect mend, and BOOM!  She was soon landing this 24-inch Big Hole brown trout!

Big Hole Brown Trout 1

A happy client, a happy guide, and a gorgeous brown trout.

photos by Wade Fellin

Are Hypoallergenic Dogs a Myth?

Orvis Cover Dog Contest - Casey

Hypoallergenic dogs. Fact? Or Marketing?

New York Times blog post  today calls into question the idea of hypoallergenic dogs. According to studies that the blog references:

…there may be no such thing as a low-allergy or allergy-free dog, according to a new report. The study found that the quantities of dog allergens in homes with supposedly hypoallergenic breeds are no different from those in homes with dogs widely considered non-hypoallergenic.

Do you have a hypoallergenic dog to prevent allergic reactions to it. If so, have your allergies stopped entirely or do they persist? What do you think? Hypoallergenic dogs, fact or myth? Share your experiences with us.

Orvis Cover Dog Contest - Casey

Hypoallergenic dogs. Fact? Or Marketing?

 

A New York Times blog post  today call into question the idea of hypoallergenic dogs. According to studies, the blog states:

…there may be no such thing as a low-allergy or allergy-free dog, according to a new report. The study found that the quantities of dog allergens in homes with supposedly hypoallergenic breeds are no different from those in homes with dogs widely considered non-hypoallergenic.

Do you have a hypoallergenic dog to prevent allergic reactions to it. If so, have your allergies stopped entirely or do they persist? What do you think? Hypoallergenic dogs, fact or myth? Share your experiences with us.