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. Conservation Groups Unimpressed by New Pebble Mine Report
Last Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released new federal report summarizing public concerns about the proposed Pebble Mine project. The report is just 37 pages long–compared to the 152-page summary for the much smaller Donlin gold project in 2013–with lots of bullet points and not much detail.
“Today’s report is a preview of how Alaskans should expect the remainder of the permitting process for the Pebble Mine to be managed by the federal government,” said Tim Bristol, director of Salmon State. “Their first major action on permitting was rushed, ignored the voices of Alaskans and overlooked countless problems with Pebble’s application.”
Also read “Facts about Pebble’s proposed mine” from Alaska Daily News.
2. Uncertainty at Site of Proposed Everglades Reservoir
While Congress was approving funding for the proposed Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, causing much rejoicing among the various groups advocating for the plan, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) board “unanimously passed a measure — added to the agenda at 9 p.m. the night before — to extend a sugar company’s lease on 16,500 acres south of Lake Okeechobee, land where a reservoir to mitigate discharges from Lake Okeechobee is to be built.”
Next, the board “voted to vacate a 30-year-old “consent decree,” a potentially seismic move which ultimately could end federal oversight designed to ensure water sent south to the Everglades meets pollution-reduction standards.”
Therefore, when bulldozers showed up to clear 560 acres of land for a “rapid start” to the reservoir project, conservation groups looked upon it with a jaundiced eye.
Click here to learn about the SFWMD board decision.
Click here to read about the staged “rapid start” and the response from conservation organizations.
3. California’s Eel River Poised for a Comeback
Like the vast majority of Northern California steelhead and salmon rivers, the Eel is a shadow of its former self, but the future looks decidedly bright, according to Trout Unlimited. The possibility of removing two dams that have blocked fish passage for more than a century is very real. This could open 150 miles of prime spawning and rearing habitat, which would be a boon to populations of anadromous fish.
4. Vermont’s Battenkill Continues Its Comeback
Right in our own backyard, Vermont’s legendary Battenkill has been on a long road to recovery since the brown-trout population crashed in the mid 1990s. After much studying and debate, the culprit was identified: a loss of habitat and instream woody debris. For the past decade, bioloogists have been working to replace structure and create new habitat. Recent electroshocking studies show that things are moving in the right direction.