Welcome to the latest installment of 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!
1. Join Orvis and Other Companies in Supporting Montana’s “Yes For Responsible Mining” Initiative
In Montana, nearly 10,000 miles of stream are acidic or laced with heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. This perpetual pollution – nasty stuff that literally lasts forever – from both modern and historic mines has polluted aquifers, destroyed fish and wildlife habitat, and created public health hazards across the state. Tax payers are on the hook to pay for these clean-up efforts, which the companies that caused the damage are often long gone
A new ballot initiative (No. 186) would “deny a permit for any new hardrock mines in Montana unless the reclamation plan provides clear and convincing evidence that the mine will not require perpetual treatment of water polluted by acid mine drainage or other contaminants.”
To get on the ballot, supporters of the Yes For Responsible Mining initiative 186 needs to gather 25,000 signatures on a petition by June 22. It looks like they’ll reach that goal, but don’t let that stop you from signing the petition. For information on events or locations where there will be signature gatherer, please contact Jeff Lukas (firstname.lastname@example.org; 406.546.8406) or Megan Harbaugh (email@example.com 406.541.8816).
Opponents of the initiative (i.e. mining companies and their supporters) are sure to bring big dollars to the fight before November. Every dollar you can donate to the cause will help ensure the future health of the rivers that make Big Sky Country such a wild-trout Mecca.
2. Montanans Battle Climate Change
Say the words “climate change” in any group of more than five people, and your sure to start a political debate. The problem is that the politics sometimes overshadows the actual science. But, as Meera Subramanian notes in her recent article on Inside Climate News, Montana’s climate is warming at a rate faster than the national average–and this is not good news for trout.
At the center of the article is Craig Fellin, who has run Big Hole Lodge since 1987 and has seen the effects of a warming climate on his local fisheries. A lifelong conservative and conservationist who believes in “Republican ideas of smaller government and less taxes and more pro-business,” Fellin has come to believe that man is responsible for the warming climate.