Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly 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. Pebble Mine Updates
● Save Bristol Bay Launches Social-Media Blitz
The folks at Save Bristol Bay and the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska have chosen today to do a social-media blitz to drive more people to comment on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Pebble Mine. So grab the image above and post it to your own social channels, asking folks to take action to protect Bristol Bay today.
● Pebble Mine Would Threaten McNeil River Brown Bears
We’ve talked a lot about how Pebble Mine would affect salmon, but nature writer Bill Sherwonit has penned a long article in the Anchorage Press arguing that the mine’s infrastructure would also negatively affect the regions’ brown-bear population–even those famous bears in the McNeil River Bear Sanctuary:
Here’s the problem: several miles of this newly proposed road, along with an associated gas line and the port, lie within 10 to 15 miles of the famed river where dozens of brown bears gather each year.
Such an industrial zone is far too close to this protected congregation of brown bears and would present several risks to both McNeil’s bear-viewing program and, more importantly, to the brown bears that spend time at McNeil and others that travel up and down the coast.
Sherwonit’s article is a fascinating and troubling read, and I encourage you to check it out.
● Dust from the Mine Could Inhibit Salmon Navigation
When we discuss the potential for harmful effects of the Pebble Mine, we often talk about tailings, acidic water, and the roads and pipelines that would be built through fragile ecosystems. But there’s something even less controllable to worry about: dust.
Salmon find their way back to their natal streams largely through their sense of smell, which would be adversely affected by copper deposited by dust:
Salmon rely on their senses of smell to survive, Welch quotes Thomas Quinn, a professor at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, as saying.
“Increases in copper concentration of just 2 to 20 parts per billion, equivalent to two drops of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, have been shown to impact the critical sense of smell to salmon,” he said.
2. President Trump Reverses Course, Backing the Push for $200M in Everglades Funding
After receiving letters and prodding by Florida’s state and federal lawmakers, President Donald Trump changed course Monday, announcing his support of a $200 million push to fund projects aimed at restoring Florida’s Everglades via Twitter.
The President’s budget in March had set aside just $63M, but Mr. Trump was clearly swayed by the arguments of Everglades advocates, who hope the President can spur Congress to act on this.
Florida is known and the sport-fishing capital of the world…and we must keep it that way. Today, those fish are dying as a result of seagrass die-off and algal blooms. Text WATER to 52886 and tell Congress we need a $200m annual federal commitment to restore America’s Everglades. #NowOrNeverglades #FloridaCantWait
3. Bull-Trout Advocates Seek to Stop Fish from Dying in Irrigation Ditches
In less auspicious news for the current administration, they are being sued by The Alliance for the Wild Rockies for failing to reply to a Freedom of Information Act request regarding bull trout. AWR wanted to see what kinds of measures the government was taking to ensure that fewer bull trout were dying in irrigation ditches, but they couldn’t get any answers.