Wednesday Wake-Up Call 09.11.19

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 UnlimitedBackcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipThe Everglades FoundationCaptains for Clean, 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. Bahamas Relief Efforts Kick Into High Gear

Abaco Lodge before and after the storm.
Photos via Facebook

The devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian–especially on the Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands–is simply mind-blowing. Aside from the sustained 185-mph winds, a 20-foot storm surge powered over the Abacos. Nearly all the residents of the region have lost their homes and have little access to water. Here’s a powerful series of photos and write-up from Hatch Magazine.

The fly-fishing community has come together in several ways. Right off the bat, there were three funds established by our partners to help the families of those who worked at fishing lodges and operations:

Bonefish Tarpon Trust has also created a fund that will be “multi-faceted, providing immediate support to relief efforts, followed by support of long-range recovery, including promoting the recreational fishing industry as guides and lodge staff return to work. Additionally, BTT and BNT will collaborate further on future efforts aimed at also addressing the needs of impacted natural areas.” Click here for more info or to donate.

The islands of the Bahamas are revered by fly fishers for their amazing flats and large populations of bonefish, and for more than three decades, Orvis has worked and fished with many guides and lodges in the islands. We are in contact with all our Bahamian partners and are currently assessing how we can do the most good. We will be joining forces with others in the fly-fishing industry and asking for your help in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.

2. More Voices Oppose Re-Opening of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to Logging

An editorial in the Seattle Times makes a powerful case for keeping the Roadless Rule in place in the nation’s largest national forest:

By mid-2020, Trump wants to cut back protections that block logging across the 16 million-acre old-growth forest and a total of nearly 60 million acres in 39 states.

This is bad governance and abusive stewardship of a unique American resource. Alaska’s political leaders have shown disappointing judgment in pushing for the protection to be lifted. And Trump, true to form, has amplified a poor decision by big-footing U.S. Forest Service plans that carry a less disastrous impact. . . .

Rather than the rollback Trump proposes, the Forest Service should continue its current policy of reviewing Tongass proposals case-by-case. This process has authorized nearly 60 projects on Alaska’s protected roadless lands. America’s forests and salmon need more protections, not evisceration.

Click here to read the whole editorial.

3. More Fresh Water is Coming to the Everglades and Florida Bay

Florida’s famed Tamiami Trail, which runs east-west across the Everglades between Miami and Naples has long been known as a great way to see the many natural wonders of the River of Grass. Ironically, however, the very roadbed impeded the natural flow of water that was vital to the ecosystem.

An ongoing project to elevate the road “removes a barrier blocking the natural sheet flow of water south into Everglades National Park,” according to South Florida Water Management District. This is long-overdue work, according to Erik Eikenberg of  The Everglades Foundation:

“The Old Tamiami Trail is a relic of the past, and removing it will allow natural habitat within this ‘wetland of international importance’ to re-establish.”

“In the southern Everglades, the lack of fresh water impacts wildlife and destroys critical habitat,” Eikenberg said earlier this summer. “In Florida Bay, it is ruining the delicate saltwater balance, killing seagrass habitat needed to support world-class recreational fishing in the Florida Keys.”

Click here to read a story on the project from Keys News.

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