Welcome to the latest installment of a new feature on the Orvis Fly Fishing blog, the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
EPA Reverses Course on Pebble Mine
In case you missed the big news, the EPA announced last Friday that it would not withdraw the Clean Water Act Section 404(c) Proposed Determination that would make it much more difficult for Pebble Mine to operate at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The Pebble Partnership has been acting as if it had the green light to pursue the project, and this move by the EPA suggests otherwise. While this is great news, it certainly doesn’t mean that the threat of Pebble is gone.
Calls for a Larger Reservoir South of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee Grow Louder
Last year, sportsmen and conservationists fought to secure funding to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to catch overflow and stop the discharge of pollutants down the rivers that drain toward both coasts. As an editorial in the South Florida Sun Sentinel argues, legislators in the thrall of Big Sugar are trying to force though a plan for a reservoir that’s too small to do the job for which it is intended:
But to accommodate Big Sugar and meet a timeline meant to ensure action, state water managers have proposed a design that doesn’t meet the promise.
Environmental groups say the proposed reservoir is too deep. It’s squeezed on too little land. And it doesn’t include enough marshlands needed to filter the water before sending flows south to the Everglades.
Chile Adds 10 Million Acres of Parkland
While public-lands advocates in the U.S. work to defeat efforts to transfer federal lands to the states, the President of Chile has just signed decrees to create two enormous national parks, completing the process, begun earlier this year, of protecting more than 10 million acres. One million acres of that land was donated by Tompkins Conservation, created by the late Douglas Tompkins and his wife Kristine, who now serves as the organization’s President and CEO.
The signing of these decrees cements Chile as one of the global leaders in conservation today, a vision which President Bachelet touched on in her speech today. “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we…expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres. Thus, national parklands in Chile will increase by 38.5% to account for 81.1% of Chile’s protected areas.”
Aside from the two new parks, five others have been expanded through decree.