Four sounds good. Meet the new fishing dog:
Mitch. One year, three weeks, five days. Named after Jon Benjamin’s seminal performance in Wet Hot American Summer. I thought of the name before I found the dog. Mitch is a she.
Turns out regardless of party affiliation, America’s anglers and hunters overwhelmingly support clean water initiatives. Remember this, dear reader- and register, AND VOTE, in your upcoming elections.
It’s the term biologists studying less cuddly and enigmatic things give to pandas, dolphins, whales, wolves, cheetahs, tigers, lions, rhinos, and other critters that steal the spotlight. In the arguably best case, these species are used to draw awareness and conservation initiatives which benefit entire ecosystems, as opposed to the individual species.
Wisconsin’s taking a different tack, deploying mermaids to keep the St. Croix River clean. Whatever works!
Art and Advocacy.
Many communities stencil storm sewers so residents know where they lead. Blacksburg, Virginia is taking it a step further- allowing local artists to paint the drains, using art to connect residents with the local environment.
As much as recreational anglers bitch, marine fisheries in the United States are among the best managed on the planet. That’s in no small part due to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which insisted upon science-based management of marine fish stocks and input from local stakeholders including state agencies and commercial and recreational anglers. The Act isn’t perfect, but it’s been credited with recovering numerous commercial and recreational species- and it’s currently under threat by HR 200. The Pew Charitable Trusts put together a great primer on the changes HB 200 represents, and what it could mean for protection of coastal fisheries.
Breeding pairs of our national bird went from 791 in 1974 (just after creation of the Endangered Species Act) to nearly 10,000 today. Their populations have outperformed wage growth in the United States for nearly a half-century. The incongruity of a bronze Bald Eagle sitting on the desk of a senator who insists the Endangered Species Act doesn’t work shouldn’t go unnoticed, and should raise a lot of questions in the public’s mind.
Scores of plants and animals have been recovered and delisted since the 1970’s. The system isn’t perfect, sometimes it’s too little, too late, and by definition, different species are different: our knowledge of their life history and habitat needs are imperfect, and there is no standard strategy which guarantees across-the-board success. But the Endangered Species Act does work; a species was de-listed just days before draft legislation to “update” the Endangered Species Act was released.
The bill’s gained a lot of support among the ag industry, timber, petroleum, off-road vehicle advocates…plus a head-scratching number of Red State fish and game agencies- Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arizona. If you live in those states, I’d suggest contacting your Department and asking what’s up. The bill ostensibly seeks to increase state-level leadership in endangered species conservation…through the sort of initiatives already in place. Parts of the bill which really left me scratching my head were:
- An emphasis on using the best scientific and commercial science available (emphasis mine). Are we talking about robust, rigorous data collected from private contractors and consultants…or provided by industry lobbyists?
And perhaps more ominously…
- ” any comment submitted to the Secretary of Interior by a State (as defined in section 3 of that Act (16 U.S.C 1532)) should be afforded greater weight by the Secretary than a comment received from any other individual or entity…
How would this effect groups like Trout Unlimited and their ability to advocate for coldwater fisheries? Heck, how would it effect my constitutionally protected rights to petition my government?!
It’s a headwater tributary of a stream I’ve fished before, notable for tall bluffs and sparse development, excellent water quality and rare plants. Forty miles long and smaller than it should be, the stream lends its water through underground channels to feed springs further downstream. The fishing’s alright for little smallmouth that like brown woolly buggers. These guys, limited by food and space, can be eight inches long and three or four years old- not runts, just perfectly suited to their home.