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. “Follow the Water” Premieres This Friday!
For years, we have been highlighting the habitat problems in the Everglades and Florida Bay caused by a chronic lack of fresh water, and Orvis has partnered with groups such as the Everglades Foundation and Captains for Clean Water to highlight the problem and to advocate for funding the make the projects in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
In April 2022, Orvis president Simon Perkins and his cousin Hannah, part of the company’s Women’s Product Development team, spent four days traveling the entire length of the Everglades watershed–from Shingle Creek outside Orlando to Florida Bay. Along the way, the met with guides, scientists, and Everglades advocates to see first-hand the progress that’s been made and what still needs to be done.
On Friday, July 15, we will premier “Follow the Water,” a film that allows you to join Simon and Hannah on their adventure, see what’s happening on the ground in Florida, and meet some of the brilliant people who making Everglades restoration a reality. In addition to the film, there’s a fascinating on-line experience that digs deeper into each part of the Everglades watershed you’ll see in the film. Don’t miss it!
2. The Push for Permanent Protections for Bristol Bay Intensifies
On May 26th, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published revisions to proposed Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay, kicking off a public comment period. Since then, residents in Bristol Bay and allies nationwide have been outspoken in their support for these protections, requesting that they be finalized as soon as possible.
The EPA under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act has the authority to restrict, prohibit or deny mine waste discharge in area waters if it poses a negative, adverse impact to the fishery, drinking water resources or recreation. Tribes, sport-fishing groups and commercial fishermen first requested EPA use its authority in 2010 to protect Bristol Bay from the Pebble mine. The EPA initiated the process, but later withdrew proposed protections. Now, EPA has recommitted to durable safeguards for Bristol Bay.
Click Here to Make Your Voice Heard: Tell the EPA that you support strong Clean Water Act protections for the Bristol Bay region
3. What’s Next, After the Supreme Court Curtails the EPA’s Authority?
The Supreme Court’s June 30 ruling in the case of West Virginia v. EPA sent a shudder through the conservation rule as legal experts scrambled to understand the ramifications of the ruling’s limits on the EPA’s ability to regulate pollutants that cause climate change. An excellent article on the Yale Climate Connections website attempts to answer some of these questions:
Given its polarized nature, Congress has proven itself incapable of updating decades-old environmental laws like the Clean Air Act that constrain climate rules, which were intentionally written broadly to give EPA wide leeway in establishing “the best system of emission reduction.” The major questions doctrine would require that any future revisions to legal language be much more specific, making Congress’ task even more difficult yet.
But despite the ruling, pathways to curb climate pollution still remain, both within and beyond federal agencies. Some of those options have relatively high prospects for success, with others more vulnerable to legal challenges in the wake of West Virginia v. EPA.
4. White House Weighs In on Snake River Dam Removal
Yesterday morning, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released two reports arguing that removing dams on the lower Snake River may be needed to restore salmon runs to historic levels. The reports put the cost of removing the dams and replacing the energy they produce at $11 billion to $19 billion. Although the Biden Administration did not outright advocate for dam removal, these reports strongly suggest that the current situation is untenable if the future of wild salmon in the Snake is to be ensured.
5. Watch TWO Great Documentaries about the Fight to Save Wild Salmon
“The Breach” and “The Wild” are two feature films that have masterfully captured the plight of wild salmon and the fight against Pebble Mine over the past decade. Director Mark Titus has graciously released the films for free on Youtube to raise awareness for Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay. Take some time to watch these remarkable documentaries about issues that go well beyond Alaska.