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 and Toxic Water Continue to Threaten South Florida
For the past several weeks, we’ve been tracking the algae blooms of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and the threats they pose to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. Captains for Clean Water have created an easy-to-use form to help you make your voice heard by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who control the Lake O discharges.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers currently manages Lake Okeechobee water levels based on a flawed operating system (LORS 2008) that prioritizes the needs of special interests at the expense of all others. The Corps is writing a new rulebook, the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), but the proposed models still fail to represent all system components equally. Use this form to take action and urge the Corps to include a proactive water management strategy that distributes the water fairly among all users in order to reduce harm and benefit all stakeholders.
For related stories on South Florida water issues, check out these stories from around the Web:
- 3 years ago, a massive algae bloom in Florida killed 200 tons of marine life. It’s threatening again, on cnn.com.
- Race is on to prevent another blue-green algae crisis in SWFL, on winknews.com.
- Is SWFL headed for a ‘toxic vise’? Health department warns of harmful algae blooms throughout region, on news-press.com.
- Lake O effects trickle-down on our environment, our health and our economy, on fox4now.com.
- Blue-green algal blooms found sitting in Caloosahatchee, on nbc-2.com.
2. Brown Trout Populations Decline in Southwestern Montana
Several rivers in the most storied part of Big Sky Country have seen the numbers of brown trout decline in recent years. The decline of browns in such famed rivers as the Yellowstone, Madison, Big Hole, Clark Fork, Ruby and Beaverhead have biologists stumped:
Biologists at Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks don’t understand why the fish are declining at such a rate and that is what worries them.
The situation is not yet dire, but anyone who loves Montana and trout should hope that a culprit is identified, so that biologists can start working on a solution. The fishing is still great now, but the future is an open question. “This is really going to be one of our top priorities to be working on, to understand what’s going on here with this fish,” said Jim Olsen of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
3. Yellowstone Lake Cutthroats Are Recovering
In the early 2000’s, anglers began noting a steep decline in populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake and its tributaries. The culprit? Invasive lake trout, which are voracious feeders and apparently love nothing more than dining on cutties. But as Tony Bonavist writes in the River Reporter, things have turned around, thanks to some heroic efforts by the National Park Service, researchers, gillnetters, and volunteers.