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Entries in conservation (202)


Be A Good Steward: Recover and Recycle Used Fishing Line

Check out Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's newly updated Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program website. Even if you don't live in Florida, it's a great resource, providing information about such topics as how to build a recycling bin  and how to be more "line conscious" in keeping discarded line from harming fish and wildlife.

Here are some tips from the site:

Whenever possible, retrieve and properly dispose of any monofilament line that you encounter, even if it is not yours. You can even make your own line holder by cutting an 'X' into the lid of a tennis ball canister or coffee container to make it easy to poke the pieces of line through.

Use PVC recycling bins located at boat ramps and piers or visit a local tackle shop with a line recycling bin. If the tackle shop you visit does not have a recycling bin, encourage them to participate in the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program.

It is particularly important to take the time to remove monofilament from mangroves because mangroves are a crucial part of coastal areas, and the slightest imbalance can take a heavy toll on these fragile ecosystems. Mangroves are breeding grounds and nurseries for a variety of marine organisms as well as serve as a buffer between the land and the sea, helping prevent coastal erosion.




U.S. Fishing Facts

 • There are approximately 60 million anglers in the U.S. of which 46 million are estimated to fish in a given year.

•  Anglers generate $48 billion in retail sales.

•  Recreational fishing has a $115 billion impact on the nation’s economy.

 •  Recreational fishing generates $15 billion in state and federal taxes.

•  More than 828,000 jobs are supported through recreational fishing.

•  One of every four anglers fishes in saltwater.

 •  Fishing tackle sales grew over 16 percent in the past five years.

•  Since 2006, angler numbers grew 11 percent.

Many more facts and insights in Sportfishing In America--- An Economic Force For Conservation.


U.S., Mexico Agree On Conservation Plan For Colorado River

The United States and Mexico have agreed on a plan to help conserve water in the Colorado River, a 1,400-mile waterway long overtaxed and known to run dry at its mouth during times of extreme drought.

As it flows southwest out of mountainous Colorado, the river feeds massive Lakes Mead and Powell and supplies water to 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in the U.S. alone.

"It is not necessarily the complete fix to the system because we don't know what lies around the corner," said Edward Drusina, U.S. representative on the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Expanding on a 2012 deal that expires at the end of 2017, the nine-year agreement amends a 1944 treaty that governs how the two countries share and manage the river.

One of the most important aspects for Mexico is that the agreement allows storage of some of its water in Lake Mead if it is not immediately needed. That's because the country has few impoundments for storage in the Colorado River drainage.

Additionally, the U.S. will invest $31.5 million in water conservation projects in Mexico, with projects to include lining irrigation ditches with concrete to reduce leaks and upgrading irrigation equipment to reduce water usage. Water saved will be divided between the two nations and environmental projects.

The agreement also sets aside 210,000 acre-feet of water (260 million cubic meters) for environmental projects. A coalition of charitable foundations will join the countries to contribute $18 million toward environmental restoration, research, and monitoring.

One focus will be on finding ways to reduce salt levels in the water that reaches Mexico. As it is used for irrigation, the water picks up the mineral from the ground, and then  drains back into the Colorado. Too much salt makes it unusable for drinking and agriculture. 

Finally, both countries will draw up contingency plans to deal with shortages during future droughts.


Welfare of Resource Is What's Most Important

Remember the mayor in the movie “Jaws”? He didn’t care about the reality. He cared about the perception, even though people were dying.

Some in the fishing community are that way too, I think, based on my experience writing about issues that they don’t want to deal with.

Awhile back, I posted a piece about “dead zones” degrading our waters and how, unlike climate change, we can do something about the problem.  And, not surprisingly, someone complained, saying that the Gulf of Mexico “ain’t dead by a long shot, calling it so is a misrepresentation of the facts or just piss poor reporting on science.”

The only problem with that assessment is that I did NOT say the Gulf of Mexico is dead. I simply pointed out that a dead zone occurs there annually because of nutrient overload flowing down the Mississippi River.

Additionally, the “dead” area is not oxygen depleted from top to bottom, and I did not say that it is. The problem exists mostly in subsurface waters.

In 2013, I wrote a piece about how dolphins, turtles, and some species of fish are likely casualties of the Deep Horizon oil spill. I added, “No one is suggesting that the coastal states aren't open for tourism business or that the fishing isn't good, but some species still are being harmed.”

Nevertheless, I received comments from angry anglers who disputed the science and accused me of harming the sport fishing economy of Louisiana by writing about such things.

Years ago, I also was criticized by communities and chambers of commerce for reporting on Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) outbreaks at major impoundments.

For me, the bottom line is the welfare of resource, and, if there’s a problem, I want it solved or at least dealt with in a way that minimizes the damage done. I don’t know the motivation of those who don’t want to deal with the reality, but I have my suspicions.

Like the mayor of Amity, communities dependent on recreational fishing for economic prosperity don’t want to acknowledge events that discourage tourism--- and don’t want anyone else to either.

Understanding what’s going on with anglers who criticize exposure of fisheries-related problems is a little more mysterious. But I suspect that it relates to the intense political divide in this country between the Left and the Right. Yes, I realize that not all anglers are conservative, but the majority are. And they bristle at the idea of anything “environmental,” which conjures up visions of Big Government intrusions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on behalf of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Yes, we needed EPA, ESA, and the Clean Water Act for better stewardship of our wildlife, land, air, and waters. But over time, they’ve all been abused by environmentalists and bureaucrats to further political agendas and infringe on personal freedoms and property rights.

As an angler who prefers less intrusive government, I understand that. But as an ardent conservationist who knows the importance of science-based management of our natural resources, I’m not going to reject everything “environmental” because I don’t like what the word connotes. 


Friends of Reservoirs Helps Make Fishing Better

Through its grant programs, Friends of Reservoirs (FOR) helps makes fishing better for millions of anglers.

Founded in 2010, it is a tax-deductible non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting and/or restoring fisheries habitat in reservoir systems nationwide.

"Our goal is to promote the protection, restoration, and enhancement of habitat for fish and other aquatic species in reservoir systems.  We are committed to  integrating watershed conservation, in-reservoir management, and the management of downstream flows to attain more holistic and coherent strategies for addressing aquatic habitat impairment issues in reservoir systems."

Click here to find out how you can help FOR continue to make fishing better. And here's information on the grant programs:

Large Project Grant

The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) annually provides grants to partially fund large-scale reservoir fisheries habitat enhancement projects. The grants are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the National Fish Habitat Partnership that is then distribution by the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership for projects addressing reservoir fisheries habitat impairments. Proposed projects can be focused on habitat issues in the reservoir proper and/or in watersheds above the reservoir and/or tailwaters below. RFHP typically awards 4-5 grants annually in the $10,000-$40,000 range.

Small Project Grant

The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) and the Friends of Reservoirs foundation (FOR) provide an annual small grants program available exclusively to Friends of Reservoirs member organizations. FOR membership dues are used solely to fund this program. As membership in FOR expands, we will increase the number of projects funded and/or increase the dollar value of the grants.

Mossback and FOR Small Grant

Friends of Reservoirs Foundation (FOR) are partnering with King Enterprises, makers of Mossback artificial fish habitat products to announce their small grants program available exclusively to Friends of Reservoirs member organizations. Mossback has been a corporate sponsor of Friends of Reservoirs for several years and wants to work with FOR members in restoring structural habitat in public waters. Mossback is offering 3 $1,000 grants of Mossback products exclusively to FOR members. The retail value of the grants is approximately $1,500 if purchased directly from Mossback. The grant is for Mossback Fish Habitat products only and recipients will be responsible for associated freight costs.