Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. With both Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Wednesdays, it’s been a few weeks. 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. National Geographic Details Risks Posed by Pebble Transportation Corridor
The rallying cry is “No Pebble Mine!” but in reality, the mine itself is only part of the problem. To support such a massive operation huge amounts of machinery, materials, and goods will have to be trucked across the pristine landscape of Bristol Bay, and the mined ore will have to be trucked out. An article by Douglas Main on the National geographic website details the scale of this transportation corridor:
If the mine is approved, this is roughly what a day in its life would look like. At the mine, about 180,000 tons of rock per day would be blasted out of the ground, crushed, and mixed with various chemicals to create a much smaller amount of concentrated minerals. This concoction, a mixture of crushed rock, concentrated metals, and residual water, would be loaded into containers. The concentrate would be placed on trucks and driven over 29 miles of roads to a port on the northern side of Lake Iliamna, then loaded onto a huge ice-breaking ferry. The ship would make one round trip daily to the port on the other side, 18 miles distant, near the town of Kokhanok, population 170.
There, containers would be unloaded onto trucks traveling 37 miles to a port at Amakdedori, then packed onto sea-going barges bound for a large tanker moored more than 10 miles offshore, into which the minerals would be dumped. The containers would then be returned, empty, to the mine.
Of course, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is wofeully scnat on details about the possible dangers of all this movement in a sensitive environment.
More Pebble News:
- 3 Things to Watch for in 2020 with the Proposed Pebble Mine on savebristolbay.org.
- I’ve worked in mining for decades. Pebble’s environmental impact statement is fatally flawed in the Anchorage Daily News.
- Alaska is the best place to see wild bears. A new mine could change that on nationalgeographic.com.
2. Florida to Buy 20,000 Acres of Critical Everglades Wetlands
The state of Florida has agreed to buy a huge parcel of land to stop oil and gas drilling in the area:
[T]he Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reached an agreement with Kanter Real Estate LLC., that will allow for the purchase of 20,000 acres of critical wetlands in Water Conservation Area 3 (WCA 3) within the Everglades Protection Area located in Broward County. This acquisition would represent the largest wetland acquisition in a decade.
The land had already been permitted for oil and gas drilling, so the timing of the purchase was vital.
More Everglades News:
- The Conservation Fight for Florida Water is Finally Seeing Progress in Field & Stream.
- Everglades advocates call for climate-change resilience and unified voice in Naples Daily News.
- What’s Wrong With Florida Bay? on Bullsugar.Org.
3. Can Public Lands Bridge the Political Divide?
Writing on The Hill, Mark Kenyon makes the case that–in these times of intense political division–the issue of public lands can bring red and blue voters together:
Nearly 9 in 10 voters say it is extremely important or quite important for the federal government to protect and support national parks, according to one 2012 survey. Another found that more than three-quarters of voters believe that “protecting and preserving the nation’s history and natural beauty through national parks, forests, and other public lands is one of the things the government does best.” And a 2019 Conservation in the West poll found that more than two-thirds of voters in western states, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans, believe that Congress should emphasize conservation on national public land.
4. Support and Protect The Lehigh River Wild Trout Fishery
Eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Coldwater Fishery Alliance has created a petition in the hopes of improving their fishery. This is not an easy task when when you’re dealing with a diverse group of city, state, and federal agencies, such as the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Delaware River Basin Commission. The Alliance believes that making changes and improvements to the structure of the dam at Francis E Walter Reservoir and building a new mixing tower would turn the Lehigh into one of the east’s next great tailwater trout fisheries.