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, VoteWater.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.
1. Protecting Vital Bristol Bay Spawning Habitat
For the past 15 years or so, anglers have been focused on stopping Pebble Mine, but there are other threats to Bristol Bay’s salmon, trout, and char populations. The Conservation Fund is working to protect almost 45,000 acres along three rivers at the headwater of Lake Iliamna. The project aims to place three conservation easements on lands owned by the Pedro Bay Corporation, restricting development and ensuring the watersheds of the Pile River, Iliamna River and Knutson Creek are able support the extraordinary returns of sockeye salmon year after year.
Orvis will be partnering with The Conservation Fund all next month to help raise money for the project, via Orvis Giveback Days.
2. Colorado River Leads the 2022 List of Most Endangered Rivers
Each year, American Rivers releases a list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®, based on the following criteria:
- A major decision (that the public can help influence) in the coming year on the proposed action;
- The significance of the river to human and natural communities;
- The magnitude of the threat to the river and associated communities, especially in light of a changing climate
This year’s list contains several waters important to fly fishers, including the Snake, Maine’s Atlantic salmon rivers, and the Kern River. Number one on the list is the river that defines the American West:
Topping the list this year is the Colorado River, which is threatened by climate change and outdated water management. Thirty federally-recognized Tribal Nations, seven states, Mexico and 40 million people who rely on the river for drinking water are being impacted by this crisis. Also threatened is vital habitat for wildlife, as the Basin is home to 30 native fish species, two-thirds of which are threatened or endangered, and more than 400 bird species.
3. The future of American conservation lies in restoration, not just protection
Orvis has worked with the Everglades Foundation since 2016 to promote restoration of the entire Everglades watershed. A great article in Popular Science argues that such restoration projects are the key to the future:
Habitats in especially dire situations also require restoration, not just protection. This applies to 60 percent of the Great Plains that have been degraded, primarily as a result of intensive monoculture cultivation. The country’s wetlands, which have been disappearing at a pace of 80,000 acres per year, are in urgent need of saving as well.