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. Anglers Have a Role to Play in Protecting Trout During Drought
The western half of the U.S. is in the midst of a sever drought, compounded by unseasonable heat. One result is that many rivers are running low and warm. The water temperature in the Montana’s Smith River near Eden is already at 68 degrees, which is the point at which daytime fishing is discouraged. Writing in Trout Magazine, Chris Hunt argues that fly fishers are gonna need a Plan B.
Lots of trout streams across the country are going to be too warm to safely fish, and we shouldn’t force the issue. Find colder water if you can, and if you can’t, find other species to chase until the weather breaks and our trout waters cool off.
- Here are some things to know about the extreme drought in the Western U.S., on latimes.com.
- The West’s historic drought in 3 maps, on cnn.com.
- Drought and fishing in the Colorado River Basin, on tu.org.
2. Court Rules at TU’s Pebble Challenge Can Go Forward
In October 2019, Trout Unlimited–along with tribal groups and fishing businesses–sued the Environmental Protection Agency for its politically-motivated decision to withdraw proposed protections for the Bristol Bay watershed. But Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state of Alaska intervened on behalf of the EPA, and in April 2020, the court sided with the EPA, and dismissed the case. TU and its partners filed an appeal, and after more than a year of deliberation, last Thursday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Trout Unlimited and ruled that the case can proceed.
Today’s decision is another sigh of relief for Bristol Bay sport fishing business owners, commercial fishermen putting boats in the water, and people of Bristol Bay harvesting their annual subsistence catches.
— Nanci Morris Lyon, local resident and owner of Bear Trail Lodge
3. Lake Okeechobee Water Plan in the Home Stretch
Deliberations on the proposed new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) are coming down to the final months. The folks at Friends of the Everglades offer a snapshot of where things stand, as six plans are still in contention:
Some of the plans perform extremely well for some stakeholders, but poorly for others. Plan AA, for example, would deliver the most benefit to the St. Lucie estuary and the Everglades. But it would provide considerably less benefit for the Caloosahatchee and performs poorly in terms of Lake Okeechobee ecology.
- Algae Blooms And Lake O, Manatee Emergency, And ‘The Key Lime Crime’, on wlrn.org.
- If toxic algae is killing dogs, what’s it doing to people?, on bullsugar.org.