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, VoteWater.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.
1. Historic Groundbreaking at the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir
Back in July 2016, Orvis executives were among the first to sign the “Now or Neverglades Declaration,” which among other things called for the creation of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir (EAA) to help restore the flow of clean water southward through the Everglades. Since then, organizations such as Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Vote Water, and others have continued to push lawmakers to commit the funds and effort to making the EAA Reservoir a reality.
Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District finally broke ground on the reservoir, at a ceremony that included politicians, conservationists, dignitaries, and other stakeholders. (Work on the accompanying 6,500-acre Storage Treatment Area (STA) began in 2020.) This is a vital step in the completion of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which has been decades in the making.
- USACE Jacksonville District Co-Hosts Groundbreaking on EAA Reservoir Project with SFWMD, on saj.usace.army.mil
- Tampa Bay lost 12% of its seagrass in 2 years; some areas at historic low, study shows, on tampabay.com
- South Florida teen hoping to inspire with photos, videos of everglades beauty, on local10.com
2. Thank the EPA for Stopping Pebble Mine
The voices of anglers, conservationists, and other nature lovers were vital in the fight to stop Pebble Mine. Now that the EPA’s final determination has stopped the project for the foreseeable future, let’s take the opportunity to show the EPA that we appreciate their efforts. The folks at Save Bristol Bay–a project of Trout Unlimited-Alaska–have created a convenient form to help you voice your thanks.
Click here to make your voice heard, via savebristolbay.org
3. Heavy Snowpacks to Offer Some Relief from 1200 Year Western drought
We’ve been posting a lot over the past few years about drought conditions across the West, as reservoirs dried up and rivers warmed. Writing in Hatch magazine, Christ Hunt argues that heavy snowfalls across much of the Rocky Mountains–especially in the southern region–may provide enough runoff to have a positive effect, but it’s not a cause for rejoicing:
For us trout-minded anglers, the West’s snowy winter is encouraging. But before everyone starts making travel plans for the summer angling season, consider first some sobering facts. More than two decades of drought have wrung just about every possible drop of water out of the Rocky Mountain soil. As Udall explained to NPR, even winters that have provided a solid 90 percent of their average snowfall in recent years have resulted in only about 50 percent of the average water runoff. Thirsty soil is soaking up snowmelt before it can reach our rivers.
It will take many more winters like this one to return things to “normal.”