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. Senate Passes Reservoir Bill
Last month, we asked you to take action by emailing your Senators to urge them to pass S. 2800 (99-1), America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which includes provisions authorizing the Everglades Reservoir. This morning, the bill was approved by a vote of 99-1 and now goes to the desk of the President to be signed. As soon as the ink is dry, state and federal planners can get to work on making sure it represents a big step toward the ultimate goal of restoring the Everglades and stopping the damaging flows of polluted water to Florida’s southern coasts.
As with most such environmental victories, however, there is still work to be done. As we celebrate the passage of S. 2800, we must work even harder to ensure that its promise is fulfilled. As Erik Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation, said, “We must redouble our efforts to ensure that funding commitments are kept, and we must insist that the Reservoir be built in four years, not ten.”
Thanks to all of you who have joined Orvis–along with The Everglades Foundation, Captain for Clean Water, and Bullsugar.org–in this ongoing battle to restore Florida’s natural flow of Fresh water through the River of Grass.
2. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Has Expired
On September 30th, 2018, The Land and Water Conservation Fund expired. You’ve never heard of it? Here’s a synopsis from the LWCF Coalition website:
Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. National parks like Rocky Mountain, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as national wildlife refuges, national forests, rivers and lakes, community parks, trails, and ball fields in every one of our 50 states were set aside for Americans to enjoy thanks to federal funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Funding for the program has been a perennial problem, as Congress has diverted dollars to non-conservation purposes. The fund expired because legislators could not agree on how money should be allocated or spent.
3. Study Shows that Hatchery and Wild Brook Trout Rarely Breed
In waters where wild trout stocks are supplemented by hatchery fish, anglers worry that the stockers will dilute the gene pool, but a recent study in Pennsylvania suggests that the fear is unfounded:
Despite many decades of annual brook trout stocking in one northcentral Pennsylvania watershed, the wild brook trout populations show few genes from hatchery fish, according to researchers who genotyped about 2,000 brook trout in Loyalsock Creek watershed, a 500-square-mile drainage in Lycoming and Sullivan counties celebrated by anglers for its trout fishing.
4. Montanans Urged to Vote YES on I-186.
A ballot initative in Montana seeks to ensure that all future mines make plans to clean up their own messes. Orvis vice chairman Dave Perkins, who lives in Wolf Creek, explains why a YES vote is important for anyone who values clean water.
Click here to visit yeson186.org to learn more.