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. Celebrating Ten Champions of Conservation
In the latest issue, Garden & Gun magazine shines a light on 10 men and women–“under-the-radar scientists, advocates, and groundbreakers”–making a big impact on conservation across the South:
“Each of the outstanding heroes that we got to know through the Champions of Conservation program inspired hope,” says David DiBenedetto, senior vice president and editor in chief of Garden & Gun. “And while each of the passionate honorees has a different focus, all are moving the needle when it comes to conservation.”
Among the honorees are Capt. Benny Blanco and Dr. Jennifer Rehage, two people who have played a vital role in Everglades restoration and appeared in the film “Follow the Water,” which Orvis released in July. Both are vital voices advocating for health of South Florida’s fisheries, and they are constantly putting themselves out there to help others understand the issues and problems, as well as the solutions.
G&G’s editorial team assembled a panel of conservation experts to offer perspective and help identify the final selections. Members of the inaugural Champions of Conservation panel include Wes Carter, the president of Atlantic Packaging and founder of A New Earth Project; Longleaf Alliance president Carol Denhof; Dale Threatt-Taylor, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy in South Carolina; Georgia hunter and bird-dog trainer Durrell Smith, cofounder of the Minority Outdoor Alliance; and Simon Perkins, the president of Orvis.
Click here for the full story from Garden & Gun
2. The World’s Mayflies Are In Trouble
Writing in The Washington Post Magazine, investigative reporter and avid angler Robert O’Harrow Jr. describes how vital mayflies are to many of the world’s food chains, as well as how they serve as “biosensors”–indicators of the health of an ecosystem. That makes the current decline in mayfly populations disturbing, indeed:
In other words, these little-known creatures are invaluable narrators of environmental change. They are also, unfortunately, victims of the very trends they can identify — and they are now fading at a disturbing pace from freshwater streams, rivers and lakes around the world.
O’Harrow’s article is full of fascinating information about mayflies–the world’s oldest winged insects–and it serves a wake-up call for anglers, nature-lovers, and anyone else who cares about the health of the planet.
3. Drought Effects Are Felt Higher Up the Colorado River Watershed
Although most discussion of Western drought focuses on the Southwest and California, the effects are being felt in other places, such as Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which straddles the border between Wyoming and Utah:
So far, drawdowns this year and last have left Flaming Gorge about 6 feet (1.8 meters) lower than a year ago and 12 feet (3.7 meters) lower than two years ago, reaching lows unseen since 2005.
Low water is affecting kokanee salmon populations, an important game fish and vital food source for lake trout. Of course, the reservoir is also the source of the incredible trout fishery on the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah, so it’s worth paying attention to this trend.