Reconnecting Habitat on Wyoming’s Salt River

Salt River Diversion Dam

This diversion dam on Wyoming’s Salt River seems pretty low, but it was blocking
access to vital spawning habitat for some trout and other native fish.

photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

Across the West, many rivers and watersheds are fragmented by old diversion dams and other irrigation infrastructure. That’s a big problem for trout, which need access to the full range of river habitat in order to thrive. For Trout Unlimited, upgrading these obsolete or inefficient irrigation systems offers a tremendous opportunity to restore rivers. With the help of Orvis funding, TU recently completed an exciting “reconnection” project on the Salt River in west-central Wyoming that should boost both the fish habitat and the fishing.

The Salt River is home to native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, as well as wild rainbows and browns. But they faced a big obstacle: an aging, solitary diversion dam imposed a two-foot-high vertical barrier to fish movement. While adult fish could likely clear the hurdle most of the year, smaller trout and other native species weren’t able to move upstream.

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Saving Black Rhinos One at a Time: Bebrave’s Story

Created with flickr slideshow.

Editor’s Note: One of the Orvis Commitment projects for 2011 involved working with the International Rhino Foundation to help save the black rhinos of Zimbabwe. Here is a good-news update from Maggie Moore, Program Officer for the IRF:

The fight against poaching is relentless and seemingly never ending in Zimbabwe at the moment. All efforts are being made to stem the tide of poaching, but unfortunately this is not always possible. Poaching stories are usually horrific, depressing, and demoralizing. Out of all these sad tales, it’s heartening to report that we have a happier ending for one particular rhino orphan, Bebrave.

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Fighting to Save the Steelhead of Pescador Marsh

Coastal Alliance for Species Enhancement from + M productions on Vimeo.

This troubling video, produced by the Coastal Alliance for Species Enhancement, details the case of Pescadero Marsh south of San Francisco. What’s particularly galling is that the culprit here is not some industry or development, but the California State Park system itself. Watch the video to learn more about how this agency has ignored its own scientists’ advice, resulting in fish kills that are destroying a wild-steelhead population.

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Profile: Dr. Aaron Adams, a.k.a. the Flats Doctor

Dr. Aaron Adams 1

As head of research for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Dr. Aaron Adams works to
save inshore game fish and the habitat that sustains them.

photo courtesy Dr. Aaron Adams

Imagine poling across a wide flat in the Florida Keys and seeing hundreds of bonefish—cruising and tailing, in big schools and singles and doubles. To those anglers who have experienced the tough, technically demanding fishing in the Keys in recent years, such a vision sounds like a fairy tale; everyone knows you have to travel to the Bahamas to see bonefish numbers like that. But according to the old-timers lucky enough to have fished the southern tip of Florida in the 1950s and ’60s, things were every bit as good as they are on North Andros today.

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Brook Trout, Acid Rain, and Some Good News

Chu Brookie

A recent study showed that the number of Virginia streams that could support brook trout has increased over the past decade.

photo by Simon Chu

When it comes to brook trout, any good news is welcome news. The brook trout is the state fish here in Virginia, and anglers in my neck of the woods have a deep and abiding reverence for Salvelinus fontinalis. But it is not just the sport that sends many of us into the high mountain streams or up some obscure blue line on a map.

Since 1987, the University of Virginia, Trout Unlimited, and a number of state and federal agencies have been tracking water quality and related ecological conditions in Virginia’s native trout streams. The key concern at the time of the initial survey was the impact of acid rain on the mountain headwater streams that supported reproducing brook trout.

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Video: Why Striped Bass Should Have “Game Fish Status”

Striped Bass Gamefish from Taylor Vavra on Vimeo.

If you’ve found it difficult to make sense of all the arguments for giving the Atlantic striped bass “game fish status”——this film from Stripers Forever lays it all out for you. Some of the luminaries of saltwater fishing, from Lou Tabory to Rip Cunningham, weigh in on why this is an important fight for anglers. After you’ve watched the video, visit Stripers Forever online for more information and for tips on how you can help.

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Video: The Battle for Penobscot Salmon

Here’s a beautiful but chilling video about how, despite seemingly heroic efforts of biologists, restoration of the Atlantic salmon population of Maine’s Penobscot River is a grinding uphill battle against dams and loss of habitat in the tributaries. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

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The Rebirth of the Wild White Salmon River

Yesterday, the 98-year-old Condit Dam on the White Salmon River was breached, allowing water to flow freely for the first time since 1923. It’s an incredible moment for those who seek to open the river to salmon and steelhead, whose passage and access to spawning grounds have been blocked for so long. Watch the dramatic video above to see the historic moment, and then click “Read More” to watch a second video for some historical perspective on the dam itself, why it was removed, and what the effects of a newly wild White Salmon River will be.

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Fishermen and indiginous people line up against Pebble Mine

A new story on National Geographic Daily News—part of a special series on global water issues—discusses the ways that commercial fishermen and indigenous peoples are lining up against the proposed Pebble Mine

According to a poll in June 2011 by the research group Craciun, Bristol Bay fishers are united against the project, with 86.2 percent opposing the mine. An earlier survey by Craciun found that 71 percent of the households in the Bristol Bay area opposed the mine, with only 9 percent even somewhat supportive of it; other polls have found the majority of Alaskans say the mine is not worth the risk.

The video above gives a clear description of how the project would threaten the livelihoods and traditions of the people who live in the Bristol Bay region.

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Join the Save Bristol Bay Road Show


Since launched more than a year ago, we’ve been beating the drum in the fight to stop Pebble Mine. For a full description of the project and the threats it poses to the last great run of wild salmon on the planet, visit the Orvis Bristol Bay information page, and then Take Action. This month, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet up with fellow Pebble opponents and learn more about the proposed mine’s effects on the people and wildlife of the region. The Save Bristol Bay Road Show may be coming to a city near you.

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