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 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. Montana Legislature Under Fire for Lowering Water-Quality Protections
A bill that many Montanans consider a danger to water quality is making its way through the legislature and will soon be on Governor Gianforte’s desk. According to Wade Fellin of Orvis-endorsed Big Hole Lodge, “Senate Bill 358 is a really bad bill for Montana’s rivers , as it essentially removes water quality standard requirements for nutrient pollution in Montana waterways.” The fear is that passage of the bill will lead to more development, halt infrastructure upgrades at treatment facilities, and cause more algae in Montana rivers. As Wade says, “Bugs will die, fish will eventually die, dry fly fishing will change, the user experience will change with moss on the lines every cast.”
Wade has coauthored—along with Guy Alsentzer, of Executive Director of Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, and Lyndy Caine, owner of Orvis-endorsed Firehole Ranch—have written an op-ed calling on the governor to veto the bill. They are asking everyone who loves to fish Montana to contact Governor Gianforte ASAP: 855-318-1330 or 406-444-3111, or fill out an electronic contact here.
2. Brian Kraft Wins Orvis Conservationist of the Year Award
Last Friday, at the online version of the Orvis Guide Rendezvous, Brian Kraft of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge received the Conservationist of the Year Award. Here is the presentation.
Despite the challenges posed in 2020, the angling community was thrilled to mark a significant victory in the fight to protect the fish and wildlife resource of Alaska’s Bristol Bay Region. Though the war is not yet over, in 2020 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District issued a record of decision that denies the Pebble Limited Partnership’s permit application under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. This decision, and the precedent it sets, relieves the immediate threat of the Pebble Mine to Bristol Bay’s incomparable fish habitat, and some well-deserved affirmation made over the past nearly two decades by local Tribes, community leaders and residents and amplified by the conservation community and many others.
With all of this in mind, Orvis is proud to recognize an Endorsed Partner who has gone above and beyond in advocating for the protection of Bristol Bay’s salmon resource. This individual has been tireless in his efforts to push back against the unyielding force of the Pebble Limited Partnership. With characteristic scrappiness and hustle, he has served as a dauntless leader within the fly-fishing industry and beyond.
3. Seven Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Home
Tomorrow (Thursday) is Earth Day, and it marks the second year in a row where millions of Americans are practicing safe, social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help our community weather what are hopefully the waning days of the outbreak.
Traditionally a time when TU members and supporters are at their most active, volunteering at stream cleanups, tree plantings, family friendly environmental festivals and more with local chapters across the country, this year many of those events have been put aside.
4. Editorial: Finally reclaiming the Florida Everglades is within reach
The editorial board of the Palm Beach Post has made a strong statement in support of funding Everglades restoration, based on the belief that there is bipartisan support. This year could be the start of a new wave of projects outlined in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
This is the best news for the Everglades in a very long time. Which means, it’s good news for everyone who lives in South Florida.