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. White House Budget Proposal Features Big Cuts to Clean Water Protection
The $4.8 trillion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, released by the White House last week, calls for “significant government funding cuts that that would hamstring critical clean water programs” according to Robert Catalanotto, writing on the Trout Unlimited blog:
If these cuts were enacted, they would undermine efforts by Trout Unlimited and our conservation partners to protect coldwater habitat in places like the Colorado River basin, the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River watersheds, and native salmon spawning ranges across the Northwest and Alaska. TU leverages federal program investments with private and foundation dollars and volunteer labor to do on-the-ground work that benefits both fisheries, communities and local economies.
The good news is that Congress is likely to reject many of these cuts, but the administration’s intention to roll back environmental protections should have all nature lovers concerned.
2. We Need to Keep the Pressure on Lawmakers to Fund Everglades Restoration
Writing in the Sun Sentinel, Everglades Foundation CEO Erik Eikenberg argues that–despite the good news that the federal government has pledged $200 million for Everglades restoration this year–the public must continue to demand that both the state and the federal governments live up to their funding responsibilities:
Believe it or not, our federal and state constitutions make it very hard for the government to spend money to build things. Although we secured the funds this year, we must go back each and every year for more dollars if we want to finish the job.
It’s like building a house and having to reapply for a mortgage at every stage of construction: once to dig the foundation, again to build the frame, and so on. The difference here is that instead of a bank, Floridians must go back to the Florida Legislature, the Congress, the Governor of Florida and the President of the United States!
2020 marks just the second time that the federal government has met its obligation, as spelled out in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which was passed two decades ago.
More Pebble News:
- Corps hashing out freshwater delivery plan on keysnews.com
- Manage Lake Okeechobee like a living system, not a reservoir on tcpalm.org.
- Florida mangroves are threatened by sea-level rise and development on naplesnews.com
- Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades, a ‘River of Grass’ on nytimes.com
3. Pebble: What We Stand to Lose
A remarkable op-ed by writer Dave Atcheson in the Anchorage Daily News makes the argument that we should never lose sight of what is at stake in the fight against Pebble Mine:
[I]magine one of the largest mines of this type in the very wet Bristol Bay region, with an earthen dam holding back toxic waste. It is a recipe for disaster. Not only is the region wet (with 100 inches of rainfall annually in some places), but the groundwater in some locales is as little as 30 feet below the surface, the flow of which hydrologists say is nearly impossible to predict. Add to this the seismic instability we are all aware of here in Alaska. Imagine what last year’s 7.1 earthquake that busted up roads and crushed houses, or one even larger, would do to an earthen dam situated on the threshold of not only Alaska’s but the world’s last greatest remaining wild salmon fishery — a viable and sustainable economic engine that supports 14,000 commercial and sport fishing-related jobs.
More Pebble News:
- A Game of Taboo: Mining Edition on tu.org.
- Behind the scenes, Pebble leaned on Dunleavy, pleading for its survival on alaskapublic.org
- Pebble, Gov. Dunleavy and the Clean Water Act on adn.com.
- Should we trust a process that’s failing us? on adn.com
- Army Corps trades Alaska habitat for sewage system fixes on eenews.net