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. Have Biologists Finally Defeated Whirling Disease?
In the early 1990s, anglers began finding rainbow trout with disturbing deformities, and tales of something called “whirling disease” began making the rounds. Soon, rivers throughout the Rocky Mountain states started seeing huge declines in rainbow trout populations–especially in Colorado and Montana, with some waters experiencing losses as high as 90%. Initial estimates of the damage done were dire, and anglers were faced with the possibility that rainbow trout might disappear altogether from some of the most famous angling rivers in the world.
We never saw the worst-case scenario, but the effects of whirling disease have persisted. Now, scientists in Colorado are ready to declare the disease a thing of the past for the state.
2. Pebble Mine Opponents Say Process is Being Rushed
Writing in the Peninsula Clarion, Peter Segall talks to members of the Native American Rights Fund, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, and United Tribes of Bristol Bay to hear why they think the current permitting process for the Pebble Mine project are being fast-tracked:
“This is an administration that from top to bottom has a very different view of environmental permitting,” said Matthew Newman, staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund. “They are currently attempting to change the federal regulations on how to draft environmental impact statements.”
More Pebble News:
- Pebble Mine’s impacts will outlive us all, on juneauempire.com
- Mine waste dams threaten the environment, even when they don’t fail, on theconversation.com
3. The Remarkable Destruction and Restoration of the Kissimmee River
Here’s an amazing pair of videos from Todd Thurlow that show the fall and rise of Florida’s Kissimmee River. The first river depicts the channelization during the 1960s, which replaced a glorious, 140-mile meandering river plain with a basically straight 54-mile trench. This project is one of the major causes of Lake Okeechobee’s pollution problems. Starting in 1999, the process of reversing this damage began.
When we watch this video we know Ernest Lyons’ words “what men can do, they can undo,” is no longer just a saying, but a reality and we are empowered to do the same!
4. A Remarkable Coalition Urges Action on Pacific Northwest Steelhead
A coalition power companies, conservation groups, the transportation sector and community utility coops has sent a letter to the governors of Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Idaho, asking them to help ” forge an agreement on actions and investments leading to a durable, long-term solution that provides reasonable certainty to the objectives of all interests, including state policy priorities.”