Wednesday Wake-Up Call: 08.30.23

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 UnlimitedBackcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipThe Everglades FoundationCaptains for Clean WaterVoteWater.orgBonefish & Tarpon Trust, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.

1. Revised Waters of the United States” Rule Weakens Protections for Wetlands and Streams

The new rule removes protections from many wetlands and small streams around the country.

Back in May, the U.S. Supreme Court—in a 5-4 ruling in favor of the plaintiff in Sackett v. EPA—rolled back federal safeguards for wetlands under Clean Water Act. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, breaking ranks with his conservative colleagues, argued that the majority “had ‘rewritten the Clean Water Act’ and ignored its text as well as ’45 years of consistent agency practice.'” Yesterday, in response to the Court’s ruling, the Environmental Protection Agency and US Army released a revised rule that slashes the number of protected waters by half.

Trout Unlimited CEO Chris Wood expressed his dismay at the new rule:

“We were disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling, and this is the inevitable result: a severe erosion of our nation’s 50-year commitment to clean water. We all live downstream, but apparently the Supreme Court doesn’t believe in gravity. This will make our rivers and streams less fishable, swimmable, and drinkable. Congress must fix the Clean Water Act with a clear definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ that is rooted in science and ensures protection of the small streams and wetlands that provide clean water for people, communities, businesses, farmers, and fish and wildlife.”

Click here for the full story on

Click here for the statement from Trout Unlimited

2. Climate Change is Wreaking Havoc on Fisheries

Satellite view of wildfires in Nova Scotia in May. (Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2023)
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

This week featured several stories that highlight the effects of climate change on fish habitat across the continent, as well as some of the ways we can help. In the New York Times, Norimitsu Onishi reports from the Cowichan Valley of British Columbia about “a summer of global catastrophes for Canada”:

The mass death of the cold-water fish has occurred during another summer of extreme drought and heat on Vancouver Island, a region known for its temperate climate. Wildfires cut off access to some of the island’s western communities for more than two weeks during the tourist season, leading to losses estimated by a local chamber of commerce at around $30 million.

Anglers and biologists in New England are also seeing the effects of  more intense rains, warming summers and frequent dry spells, although not everyone sees the root of the problem:

“There are certainly still some folks within our community who are skeptical of the impacts of climate change and whether or not it’s caused by human disturbance,” [Berry] said.

One of the problems with climate-change discussions is that they can leave the average person wondering, “What can I do?” The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has put together a wonderful mini website called Nature-Based Solutions: How hunters and anglers can play a major role in advocating for habitat‑driven climate change solutions. The site clearly explains the issues, what’s at stake, what TRCP is doing, and most importantly, what individuals can do to help.

Click here to visit Nature-Based Solutions at


3. Did Someone Plant Invasive Brook Trout in a Pristine Yellowstone Trout Stream?

Two summers ago, I spent a glorious afternoon on Soda Butte Creek in the northeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park, catching gorgeous, native cutthroats on dry flies. It’s a spectacular fishery that may be under threat from an invasive species whose native range is thousands of miles away.

Earlier this month, a team of fisheries biologists with the National Park Service (NPS) and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) applied fish-killing poison to a 9.6-mile stretch of Soda Butte Creek, which flows through the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park. The scientists dispensed the toxic substance, known as rotenone, after routine monitoring detected non-native brook trout in the creek. Now they’re using advanced genetic analysis to determine wether or not the invasive fish were put there by people.

Writing in Field & Stream, Travis Hall offers a history of the problem, as well as the measures being taken to eradicate the invaders and protect Yellowstones precious natives.

Click here for the full story in Field & Stream.

4. Other Important Stories

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