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. Uphold the protections of the Small-Stream Clean Water Act
Last week, President Biden today vetoed a Congressional resolution to block a revised, clearer definition of “United States waters” that would restore federal Clean Water Act protections to millions of miles of small streams and wetlands used for Healthy watersheds are vital to wild and native fish.
The new rule in question replaces the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which was overturned by a federal court in 2021, and largely restores the protections of the Clean Water Act that have been in place since 1986, with changes to accommodate recent court decisions. The rule, passed in December, provides clear exemptions from permits for all routine farming and ranching activities to provide reassurance for producers, who are key TU partners in our conservation efforts on farmland. It also continues the decades-long requirement that construction projects such as new roads, pipelines and housing developments must protect or restore affected wetlands or streams.
2. Kissimmee is proof that restoring the Everglades is possible
The Kissimmee River originally meandered 100 miles through central Florida. Its clean waters were filtered through swamps and grasslands before emptying into Lake Okeechobee. But after a series of devastating floods in the 1940s, the river was diverted and turned into a straight 50-mile canal consisting of six basins controlled by gates and locks to manage the floods. Waterfowl virtually disappeared, waterfowl were replaced by terrestrial species, and wetlands became pastures for cattle. Public outcry, particularly from hunters and anglers, who saw fewer ducks and perch began the decades-long road to recovery. Construction of the new river canal finally began in 2000 and was completed in spring 2021. The central 22 miles of the Kissimmee have been restored to 40 miles of meandering river and flood plains, with water flowing through its historic canal.
A great article in National Geographic details the remarkable comeback of floodplain wildlife:
“It’s a triumph of imagination (and) of partnership between the federal government and the state” and the coalition of other organizations, he says By Shannon StenoAssistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior who has previously worked for various environmental organizations in Florida.
- The importance of mangroves on nature.org
3. What does a corporate commitment to nature conservation really mean?
Through our 5% for Nature campaign and public support for causes like Stop Pebble Mine and Everglades restoration, Orvis has a reputation as a company with a strong environmental ethos. But people often wonder how the conservation work fits into the larger company itself. Is it just a marketing strategy that we hope will pay off? The fact is that in almost all areas of the company there is a desire to protect nature and improve life. As President Simon Perkins puts it:
At Orvis, passing on our outdoor passions from generation to generation is at the core of our business. That’s why we’re committed to a sustainable future for fly fishing, wing shooting and the outdoors by protecting and restoring habitats, developing sustainable products and ensuring the next generation finds inspiration for the adventure and wonders of nature.