Conservation News

Donald Trump is Killing Fly Fishing
By flyfishingtravel, The Venturing Angler on March 4, 2017 - Tim Harden

In a very short amount of time, the Donald Trump Administration has proven an utter disregard for the planet and ecosystems. Trump's contempt for the environment shouldn't surprise anyone. Though calling himself an environmentalist, his campaign rhetoric included everything from an embrace of coal to stating that he wants more global warming because it was cold outside at a campaign stop.
If you voted for Donald Trump or if you didn't vote, you chose to tolerate his approach to the environment. But it doesn't do any good to go back to the campaign. Now that we're in the thick of it, it's time to look at the hell that's being unleashed and come together for the fight. Frankly, what has unfolded so far couldn't be much worse for fly fishing and its future.

The hell so far:
On the afternoon of the inauguration, the climate page of was promptly removed from the site and promises were issue about deregulation of environmental protections.
Northern Dynasty announced it has the support of the Trump administration and will move forward on Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Since then, there have been some ups and downs in the market for Northern Dynasty, but the threat is back. (More here.) (More here.)
Trump has given the green light to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protesters were removed from the site, and completion of the pipeline is underway. (More here.)
Trump has given the green light to the Keystone XL Pipeline. (More here.)
The Trump Administration is moving forward on ending the Clean Power Plan. This puts the health and lives of Americans at risk and puts the brakes on any progress and much hope when it comes to a more sustainable future. (More here.)
Trump is moving forward on gutting the environmental protections of the Clean Water Rule that formerly safeguarded rivers, streams, and wetlands. (More here.) (more here.)
The GOP in Congress has voted to gut the Endangered Species Act to allow more mining, drilling, and logging. The Environmental Protection Agency has had grants, projects, and research halted and is now under a gag order preventing communication with the press. (More here.) Trump has killed the Office of Surface Mining's Stream Protection Rule that keeps coal companies and mines from destroying rivers with pollution and waste. (More here.)
The Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of catastrophic cuts that will put ecosystems and human health at risk. These cuts will end cleanup efforts of destroyed ecosystems. Often, these efforts come alongside state projects. Now the states will struggle with how to resolve these key needs. (More here.)
Critical government research on climate change will lose funding. (More here.)
Despite some hope among anglers with Trump's Interior Secretary pick, the administration overall has no regard for public lands, and Congress and state governors have recognized this and have introduced legislation that strip Americans of public lands or allow drilling, mining, logging, and other destruction of our lands. It is very clear: Trump's priorities are oil and gas and a dying coal industry over public lands. (More here.)
As the world's sole leader that does not believe in climate change, Trump is likely to disrupt the critical achievements of the Paris Treaty by pulling out of the agreement. Even Bill O'Reilly thinks this is a bad move! To quote Yvon Chouinard, "If you've got a politician that's running for office who thinks he's smarter than 98% of the world's climate scientists, they're crooks or they're dumbasses." (More here.)
Trump nominated and Congress approved of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is what protects are rivers, streams, lakes, beaches, bays, and wetlands. Of course, the EPA is also what defends public health against corrupt and destructive industries and practices. It would be difficult to find one other person with more contempt for the EPA. While fracking-caused earthquakes destroyed property in the state, Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times and has little regard for the EPA. The climate change denying Pruitt believes that the EPA's regulation of fossil fuel companies over mercury poisoning go too far. As Attorney General, it was Pruitt's job to defend the law and the residents of Oklahoma. Instead, he served fossil fuel and chemical companies, even copying and pasting their language from emails and putting it into lawsuits against environmental protections. Though suing the EPA on behalf of polluters, Pruitt never took legal action against the natural gas companies that have greatly impacted the ecosystems and citizens of Oklahoma. Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than California. (More here.)
It is expected that next week will bring sweeping cuts to important environmental priorities in the government. We will soon know what this means, but it is anticipated that NOAA will see a 17% budget cut. This will catastrophic to climate change research. (More here.)
We have all seen treasured fisheries decline. We all know how difficult it is to recover an ecosystem that has been impacted by pollution, mining, drilling, or logging. And of course, we are rapidly losing access to rivers and public lands. We might never recover from much of the first two months of the Trump Administration.
While many don't want fly fishing to be politicized, doing nothing is a political move as well. And with so much under attack, we have no choice.

CDFW Releases First Million of Evacuated Fish into Feather River

MARCH 20, 2017
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released one million state and federally listed threatened spring-run Chinook salmon into the Feather River on Monday, March 20.
These were the first fish to be released that were evacuated from the Feather River Hatchery in Oroville on Feb. 9, when the water became dangerously murky following the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway. The fish were moved to the Feather River/Thermalito Annex Hatchery and held there until conditions improved.
"Based on the weather forecast and current reservoir storage, we are anticipating high flows in the Feather River for some time," said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Colin Purdy.
"Releasing these fish now should allow them to imprint on Feather River water and move downstream before flows drop back down to normal levels."
Central Valley spring-run Chinook are a state and federally listed species and their abundance has declined considerably during the recent drought. The Feather River Fish Hatchery plays a key role in the state's efforts to propagate this unique run of Chinook salmon.
"Today's fish release marks the success of federal and state agencies coordinating and managing valuable resources while ensuring public safety during a crisis situation," said Howard Brown, NOAA Sacramento River Basin Branch Chief. "NOAA Fisheries remains deeply concerned with the damage of the Oroville spillways and is committed to reducing further threats to California communities and ecosystems."
"This is another example of the extraordinary multi-agency effort to respond to this unfortunate incident," said California Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle. "We will continue to work closely to protect the Feather River and its fisheries."
Of the fish that were evacuated, another million spring-run Chinook and three million fall-run Chinook remain at the Annex Hatchery. CDFW and NOAA fisheries staff will continuously evaluate the remaining salmon and begin planting them in northern California Rivers when the fish are mature enough.

Nimbus Hatchery Releases 420,000 American River Steelhead
From Nimbus Hatchery Steelhead Release

MARCH 8, 2017
Nearly a half million young steelhead recently started their journey to the ocean, thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Staff at Nimbus Fish Hatchery nursed the young steelhead through several potentially devastating conditions, including drought-induced high water temperatures in the hatchery last summer and winter flood conditions that nearly cut off usable water supplies and carried dangerous levels of silt into the hatchery's normally clean water distribution system.
"The fish we released will be returning to the American River over the next two to four years, and we are proud and relieved to have brought them this far," said Gary Novak, the Nimbus Hatchery manager. "Steelhead are hardy, but considering their size and the number of environmental obstacles cropping up in rapid succession, they still needed human intervention in the hatchery to ensure a better chance of survival in the wild."
All 420,000 young steelhead were released into the American River just upstream of the I Street Bridge in Sacramento. Due to the high water conditions, the juvenile fish are expected to make excellent time traveling down the Sacramento River to the Bay and eventually on to the Pacific Ocean. Losses to predators are believed to be lower during turbid water and high flow conditions.
During January and February 2017, water releases from Nimbus Dam reached 80,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is well above the normal 6,000 to 10,000 cfs. The high flows created conditions that dislodged exceptional amounts of debris, clogging the intake structure at Nimbus Fish Hatchery and creating near-lethal levels of nitrogen in the water. Hatchery staff worked around the clock over a month-long period to keep the water intake open, clear water distribution points, tanks and raceways of silt, and install aerators to lower nitrogen levels.
Fish health assessments by CDFW pathologists found the steelhead to be in satisfactory condition and near the average weight for fish their age prior to release. It remains to be seen how the stressors of living in turbid water and enduring some periods of high nitrogen levels will affect the fish. Annual returns of mature steelhead to Nimbus Hatchery have varied widely in recent years, from a high of 3,409 in 2013 to a low of just 150 the following year.
All the fish in this release were marked with an adipose fin clip.

Take the California Fishing Passport Challenge
Explore All that California Fishing has to Offer!

CDFW invites you to take a journey through California in pursuit of unrivaled fishing opportunities. Pack your bags, load up your tackle boxes, grab your favorite rods and reels, and prepare for fishing adventures across California's many lakes, rivers and ocean waters.

The California Fishing Passport Program challenges people to fish their way around the Golden State in search of 150 different finfish and shellfish species. This is a fishing incentive and angler recognition program and like a traveler's passport book, for each successful catch, participants receive special stamps in their books to mark their accomplishments.
Participants should take a photo of each new species caught and fill in the catch report section of the passport book with the date and location where the fish was taken. If no photo is taken, the angler can have a witness certify the authenticity of the catch. Anglers can receive passport stamps for each species they catch and document. To recognize the angler's achievements, the California Fishing Passport Program provides awards as anglers catch new species and gather more stamps.
Interested in accepting the challenge? California Fishing Passport books are available free of charge to all licensed anglers and children upon request from CDFW license sales offices, official partners and authorized stamping agents.
In an effort to recruit new anglers to the activity, the California Fishing Passport Program (with help from a federal Sport Fish Restoration Act grant) will hold several family friendly, free fishing workshops this summer.
The workshops will teach participants about many of the saltwater species in the passport book, fishing techniques, ocean conservation and angler ethics. Participants will also get to go fishing on a deep sea fishing boat, along with expert instructors, to apply the techniques learned in the workshops.
More details on the workshops will be available on the CDFW website by April 1, 2017.