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
● Comment Period on Draft EIS Extended Another Two Days
It seems the folks at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers need to check their calendars once in awhile. After hearing from citizens and legislators, the Corps initially extended the original 90-day comment period by 30 days, ending on Saturday, June 29. It turns out, however, that comment periods can’t end on a weekend, so this Monday, Corps spokesman John Budnik “clarified,” saying that the comment period will end on Monday, July 1.
But don’t wait. Click here to make your voice heard on Pebble.
● Op-Ed Argues that Draft EIS Fails to Consider Health Risks
Writing in the Arctic Sounder, Corrina Rinella and Tobias Schwoerer argue that the Corps has not done enough to consider how the Pebble Mine would affect the mental health of Alaskans, and they use evidence collected in the wake of the Exxon Valdez spill to support their case:
Apart from the inevitable damage to the natural environment, the Exxon Valdez experience suggests that the spill also contaminated the social environment with wide-ranging mental health consequences. The communities of Bristol Bay today, much like the communities of Prince William Sound before and after the spill, are confronted with uncertainty related to large-scale environmental change.
2. House Panel Approves $200 Million for Everglades Restoration
Last week, we told you how President Trump had reversed course and suddenly threw his support behind a $200 million push to fund projects aimed at restoring Florida’s Everglades. Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee scrambled to fulfill the President’s wishes and approved the federal Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, which would allocate the federal funds to fully match the state’s funding of the project.
Now attention will turn to the Senate, according to Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg :
Much work is still left to be done through the Senate and conference process, but we are optimistic that our policymakers in Washington realize that full and consistent funding is the best way to get the best return on investment.
3. Can Anglers Embrace a Plan that Kills Trophy Trout in the Name of Conservation?
For many years, Idaho fisheries biologists have warned that non-native rainbow trout present a threat to the population of native Yellowstone cutthroats in the South Fork of the Snake River. In fact, the state has tried to promote harvest of rainbows by offering prize money for rainbow heads, some of which contain coded wire tags that could pay out up to $1,000.
The prevailing catch-and-release philosophy has made this a tough sell, however. What angler doesn’t love catching a big rainbow and then releasing it back to the river?
A great story in The Spokesman-Review details how biologists are using a variety of means–from the contest to electro-fishing, to stream restoration–to support the native cutthroats. It’s a fascinating tale that calls into questions some of the ethics we anglers support wholeheartedly . . . if occasionally blindly.