Welcome to the latest edition of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Unlimited trout, Backcountry hunters and anglersThe Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Clean water captains, VoteWater.orgAnd Conservation Falcon (among other things) we make sure you have the information you need to understand the issues and form an informed opinion.
1. Calls for more management of extinctions in Atlantic saltwater
Last week we told you about the exciting victory for striped bass at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Management Commission Striped Bass Committee meeting that took action to protect the last good crop of fish. A full breakdown of the new regulations can be found here: ASMFC Spring Meeting 2023 Summary: Historic Striped Bass Action. But there was also some not-so-great news about albacore albacore and skipjack. People at the American Saltwater Guides Association have been pushing for more study and management of these species, but individual states have been unable to agree on a course of action. The introduction of a simple management is a lot easier than a reactive crisis management.
2. Plan to ship oil by rail along the Colorado River Spurs lawsuit
The proposed Uinta Basin Railway will transport crude oil from the Uinta Basin on a new route along the Colorado River through western Colorado and then through the Denver metropolitan area. A lawsuit filed by Eagle County and another by five environmental groups are challenging the Surface Transportation Board’s December 2021 approval of the new railroad. The county and group lawsuits argue that the railroad’s environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act failed to consider its impact on the Colorado River, endangered fish and downstream communities.
3. How dams impede fish migration
Most anglers know that dams are bad for migratory fish, but do you really understand why? Here’s an educational article from Trout Unlimited.
Anadromous fish have a hard time. Not only do these fish swim miles from their birth waters to the sea to grow while surviving the many predators and then swim all the way back to spawn, but we also build dams in their way to make their life even further to complicate. And despite huge investments to make dams more “fish-friendly,” dams continue to block the downstream passage of fish and their offspring, ultimately creating ecological traps and hampering efforts to restore populations.
Haley Ohms, one of the members of TU’s science team, conducted a study during her previous employer, the University of Santa Cruz, that showed, in different ways, how dams and their reservoirs can impede flow downstream. Working with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, and others, Ohms and her team found four downstream passage problems at a dam for Steelhead on the Carmel River on the central California coast.
4. Does advertising help with nature conservation?
A few weeks ago we told you about a delegation of Everglades advocates – including Orvis, Everglades Foundation, Clean water captains, Everglades TrustAnd Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation– who traveled to Washington DC to explain the importance of the Everglades restoration to policymakers. As part of this effort, Orvis ran a full-page ad (above) in the Wall Street Journal the day before so that the issues were front and center for the policy makers the group met with.
But do such ads really have an impact? I asked Laura Schaffer, Orvis vice president of sustainability and conservation, and she shared with me a message she received from Bradley Watson, vice president of policy and engagement at the Everglades Foundation:
I felt we ran a very effective and very well timed trip to the Hill. The teamwork and the storytelling were right. Orvis’ complementary advertising and publicity has been outstanding and I know it has made a significant impression. I worked on the Hill for almost a decade and championed them for another decade. I have never been to a meeting where the WSJ was used in this way. Plus the digital presence. Being remembered – especially by housekeeping staff – is a huge advantage when they have to make difficult decisions later on.”
Click here for the full Journey to the Hill synopsis