Wednesday Wake-Up Call: 03.27.24

Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout UnlimitedBackcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipThe Everglades FoundationCaptains for Clean WaterVoteWater.orgBonefish & Tarpon Trust, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.

1. New Lawsuits Threaten Bristol Bay

Photo by Colin Arisman

The battle for Bristol Bay wages on, and we all need to stay engaged. Last week, we saw three lawsuits filed that threaten Bristol Bay’s future and challenge safeguards for the region.

Northern Dynasty Minerals, the foreign mining corporation behind Pebble Mine, has launched a legal assault against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They seek to overturn the EPA’s use of the 404(c) Clean Water Act that safeguards the waters and wetlands around the Pebble Deposit.

Both Northern Dynasty Minerals and the State of Alaska have also filed claims stating the federal government owes them hundreds of billions of dollars for blocking Pebble Mine. They refuse to give up on their rejected mine plan, and both Bristol Bay and American taxpayers dollars are at risk.

These lawsuits serve as a stark reminder of why we can’t let up: Bristol Bay won’t be safe until permanent safeguards that cover the whole region are in place.

Click here to learn more at Save Bristol Bay

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1. Lake Okeechobee Discharges Continue Through March 29 . . . and Beyond

Back on February 17, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began discharging toxic water from Lake Okeechobee through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers, much to the frustration of conservationists, as well as the angling community. When the discharges began, no end date was listed, but USACE has announced a two-week pause starting this weekend. Many believe that this is not long enough for the estuaries to recover before fresh water starts pouring in again, perhaps until the end of May.

“This is the season when the oysters spawn and seagrasses are trying to grow and all the fish are spawning in this estuary, and they need that balance of fresh and saltwater,” Florida Oceanographic Society executive director Mark Perry said. “But if you’ve inundated it with so much fresh water and so much pollution, it’s just incredible that they’re even thinking of doing it. It’s just crazy.”

Click here for the full story on wptv.com

Stay up-to-date by following Captains for Clean Water on Instagram.

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3. Hilary Hutcheson Testifies About Climate Change

Last week, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing entitled “Recreation at Risk: The Nature of Climate Costs.” The goal was to highlight how the recreation industry is feeling the effects of climate change. Orvis ambassador Hilary Hutcheson, who guides the waters around Glacier National Park, offered moving testimony (above) about what she has been seeing as a guide, a business owner, and a resident of northern Montana. Later, in response to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, she spoke of the human cost to those who love working in the outdoors (below).

4. Other Important Stories

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