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. Environmental Impact Statement on Pebble Mine Won’t Consider a Worst-Case Scenario
Six years ago, a huge tailings dam at Polley Mine in British Columbia was breached, sending According to KTUU in Anchorage 2.6 billion gallons of toxic water and 1.2 billion gallons of slurry into Polley Lake and its river system. According to KTUU in Anchorage, Alaska, the Environmental Impact Statement on Pebble Mine will not even consider such a scenario in Bristol Bay:
In the teleconference call, [ Sheila Newman, deputy chief of the Regulatory Division of the Alaska District Army Corps of Engineers] said that in addition to determining that a tailings dam breach would be a worst-case scenario and NEPA did not require assessing the impacts of it, there was another reason that led the Army Corps to continue with its decision not to assess a tailings dam breach.
This is astonishing, given that ” EPA doubled down on its request for the Army Corps to conduct a full breach analysis ,” according to the article. But the Army Corps of Engineers maintains that studying such a failure is “unwarrented.”
More Pebble News:
- Katmai National Park ans Preserve vs Pebble Mine on nationalparkstraveler.org.
- Bristol Bay Proclamation signed by Northwest U.S. tribes and organizations on KTUU.
2. Mayfly numbers drop by half since 2012, threatening food chain
Mayflies are important food sources for trout and provide some of the best hatches for anglers to imitate. But scientists studying populations in the Midwest have found huge declines in mayfly numbers over the past 18 years. According to an article on nationalgeographic.com,
The study revealed that between 2015 to 2019, populations of burrowing mayflies in the genus Hexagenia declined by an incredible 84 percent in western Lake Erie. In the nearby northern Mississippi River Basin, from 2012 to 2019, they declined by 52 percent.
The reasons for these declines are manifold, but the result should be concerning for everyone, not just anglers. These insects are vital parts of the food chain and are indicators of water quality.
3. The Tongass National Forest is a Wilderness on the Chopping Block
Outdoor Life magazine is not known as a bastion of environmentalism, but a recent article by Alex Robinson argues that plans to do away with the Roadless Rule in the country’s largest national forest would be a big mistake:
When the Trump administration announced its development plans for the forest after meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy (who campaigned on opening Alaska to more natural-resource extraction), fishing guides such as Hieronymus and the commercial fishing industry saw it as an attack on their livelihoods. Tongass salmon account for 28 percent of the commercial salmon harvest in Alaska, and the industry generates $986 million annually, according to the Forest Service.
“It just doesn’t make sense here,” Hieronymus says. “It’s too expensive to hammer roads through the wilderness. And look what you put at risk.”
But let’s put budgets and revenues aside and focus for a moment on this fact: The Tongass is a sportsman’s paradise.