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. New LOSOM Plan Reduces Harmful Releases from Lake Okeechobee and Sends More Water South
After nearly three years of planning, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announced yesterday the new Lake Okeechobee management plan (a.k.a. LOSOM), which the Everglades Foundation called a “major improvement for the overwhelming majority of Floridians, which will significantly reduce harmful discharges to the east and west coasts , and it will increase water flow south to the Everglades and Florida Bay.”
Captains for Clean Water executive director Capt. Daniel Andrews said the LOSOM plan is going to be as close to perfect as it can be with current infrastructure: “This money, not only is it record, but it’s directed where its needed. That’s something we haven’t seen in the past. We’re putting this money toward projects that give us the highest ROI that are going to stop the discharges and get more water flowing south. That’s really incredible.”
2. Why “Infrastructure Week” Was a Big Deal for Trout and Salmon
The passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on Monday, was big news last week. But why should sportsmen and -women be interested in a bill that seems to be more about bridges, roads, and dams? An article on the Trout Unlimited website explains how the bill will help improve wetlands, water quality, fish passage, and more. This is a big win for the environment.
3. Former Montana wildlife official Martha Williams Has Bipartisan Support to lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Last month, the White House nominated Martha Williams, the former director for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Williams has bi-partisan support, and she has pledged to let science guide decision-making at the agency and to collaborate with government and private partners.
Quoted on Colorado Newsline, Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines supported Williams, saying, “I believe Ms. Williams will bring a pragmatic, balanced approach to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
4. Film Describes the Plight of East Coast Stripers and the Role Anglers Must Play in Recovery
Every year, migration of epic proportions takes place along the Eastern Seaboard of America. From the Carolinas to Canada, anglers flock to the rocky coastlines, estuaries, rivers, and inshore waters to target one of America’s most iconic gamefish- the Striped Bass. Despite its popularity and significance to the coastal communities in the Northeast, the fishery is once again in major jeopardy. The last time this happened, we witnessed one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time, restoring the stock to astronomical numbers. Today, the question on everyone’s mind- can we do it again?