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. Algae Blooms on Lake Okeechobee are a Disaster Waiting to Happen
As blooms of blue-green algae–which can produce a variety of harmful cyanotoxins–on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee are bad enough in and of themselves, but the prospect that this toxic water may be released into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers to reduce lake levels is even more troubling. The start of hurricane season is less than a month away, which means that the Army Corps of Engineers may be forced to open the gates, sending the algae and toxins to coastal estuaries on both coasts.
“If we can’t get it down to 13 (feet) by the beginning of June 1, the beginning of hurricane season, that’s not a good omen for avoiding high volume releases later in the summer,” Cassani said.
For related stories on South Florida water issues, check out these stories from around the Web:
- Legislative Session closes, water quality issues across the state left on the back burner, from Captains for Clean Water
- Don’t miss the Families For Everglades webinar from the Everglades Foundation.
2. Key salmon populations cross alarming threshold
Nearly half of the wild spring chinook populations in the Snake River Basin have crossed a critical threshold, signaling they are nearing extinction and without intervention may not persist, according to analysis by the Nez Perce Tribe. Steelhead populations are struggling, as well.
“If this isn’t a wake-up call, I’m not sure what folks would be looking for,” said Tucker Jones, ocean and salmon program manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
3. Can Trout be Restored to the LA River?
The concrete ditch that is the LA River is familiar to most Americans, from its many appearances in TV shows and movies. (Grease, anyone?) It could not look less like a trout stream, but there is a movement afoot to make the structural changes that would create trout habitat throughout the system.
The plan is to make modifications to the LA River, including concrete removal, to provide the fish safe passage from the headwaters to Long Beach 20 miles south.
“This channel would be altered to have basically what you would think of as a trout stream,” explained Katagi. “Boulders, riffles, some pools for resting.”
4. Pennsylvania’s Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund is Bearing Fruit
In eastern Pennsylvania, conservation work supported by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund has helped bring back trout populations in a tributary of the Schuylkill River. The latest video in collaboration with Trout Unlimited, Goodman describes how Valley Creek has offered a reliable reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the booming region, whether he’s escaping into a local preserve for a few quiet minutes after a busy workday or wading into the waters of history to toss a line to a few hungry trout behind Lafayette’s Headquarters.