Saturday, August 15, 2009

Obama Fly Fishes for Trout

From Today's AP:

Obama makes good on Montana fly-fishing promise

BELGRADE, Mont. — President Barack Obama didn't let thunderstorms and unseasonably cool weather stop him from learning how to fish for Montana's famous trout during his weekend trip to the rustic West and its national parks.

"He insisted that fishermen fish in the rain, so he said, `Let's do it,'" fishing guide Dan Vermillion said. "The weather was really horrendous. We were all real cold at the end of the day."

The president took 2 1/2 hours after his health care town hall near Bozeman on Friday to make good on a campaign promise to learn fly fishing when he revisits the state. His guide said the commander in chief has become a serious student of the sport.

"I found him to be a real good listener. He really wanted to learn about the whole experience of fly fishing," said Vermillion, who runs the Sweetwater Fly Shop in Livingston.

Obama reported practicing the difficult-to-master mechanics of fly casting on retreats at Camp David, Vermillion said.

It paid off. The president did well for a first-timer by hooking half a dozen fish in an area mixed with brown and rainbow trout, but he didn't land any during the afternoon getaway on the East Gallatin River, his guide said.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Another lost Salmon run

From Singlebarbed...

Mark Hume

Vancouver From Thursday's Globe and Mail

The Fraser River is experiencing one of the biggest salmon disasters in recent history with more than nine million sockeye vanishing.

Aboriginal fish racks are empty, commercial boats worth millions of dollars are tied to the docks and sport anglers are being told to release any sockeye they catch while fishing for still healthy runs of Chinook.

Between 10.6 million and 13 million sockeye were expected to return to the Fraser this summer. But the official count is now just 1.7 million, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Where the nine to 11 million missing fish went remains a mystery.

“It's beyond a crisis with these latest numbers,” said Ernie Crey, fisheries adviser to the Sto:lo tribes on the Fraser. “What it means is that a lot of impoverished natives are going to be without salmon. … We have families with little or no income that were depending on these fish. … It's a catastrophe,” he said.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obama Administration Okays Major Mountaintop Removal Coal Project

Let's chalk this up to being a better candidate than an elected official.
This will destroy miles of trout streams.

From Environment360

e360 digest

12 Aug 2009: Obama Administration Okays
Major Mountaintop Removal Coal Project

After vowing to crack down on the controversial practice of leveling the tops of Appalachian mountains to get at the coal seams below, the Obama administration has quietly approved a major mountaintop removal project in West Virginia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the issuance of a Clean Water Act permit for CONSOL Energy’s Peg Fork Surface Mine, an 817-acre project that would permanently bury nearly three miles of Appalachian streams in mining debris. The Peg Fork mine was one of six mountaintop removal projects that Obama’s EPA initially said it opposed because “they all would result in significant adverse impacts to high-value streams.” Environmental groups criticized the administration for failing to carry through on its pledge to crack down on mountaintop removal, with a Sierra Club official expressing disappointment that the EPA failed to “adopt new regulations or policies that would end this destructive practice.” Mountaintop removal mines in Appalachia have destroyed more than 1,500 square miles of forests and buried more than 800 miles of streams in debris.

The North Pacific Gyre

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

All the information you would ever need about how our plastic trash is polluting the oceans.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What will the Obama conservation record look like ?



Salmon Test

Published: August 11, 2009

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must notify a federal court next month whether it will do what is necessary to save endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The decision will tell us a lot about how the administration sees its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The Bush team evaded its responsibilities with amazing acts of legal casuistry.

A dozen salmon species in the Columbia River Basin have been declared endangered or threatened — their spawning grounds destroyed by logging and commercial development, and their route to the sea made more arduous by a gauntlet of hydroelectric dams.

Over the years, the Bonneville Power Administration, which runs the dams, and other agencies have unblocked spawning streams and increased water flows over the dams to help young fish reach the sea. But that has not been enough to restore what scientists regard as sustainable fish runs. And it has not been enough for James Redden, a federal district judge in Oregon who has become the salmon’s most reliable defender.

Since 2003, Judge Redden has rejected two recovery plans devised in the Clinton and Bush administrations. Both promised further habitat restoration and further modifications in dam operations. Neither, in the judge’s view, did enough to ensure the fish’s long-term survival. And while the Endangered Species Act requires that every effort be made to ensure the recovery of a species, the Bush plan promised little more than allowing the fish to go extinct at a slower rate.

Judge Redden was about to toss a second Bush plan earlier this year on some of the same grounds when the Obama administration asked for time to review it. The judge said fine, while warning that he could not accept any revision that adopted the Bush administration’s misinterpretation of the law.

Significantly, he also said that any new plan should leave all recovery options on the table, including the idea of breaching four dams on the lower Snake River. We have long recommended such a course, which many scientists see as the surest means of restoring the fish.

The judge has now given the administration 30 days to get this right. The official who will ultimately make the decision is Gary Locke, the secretary of commerce and former governor of Washington. We would be surprised if he recommended immediate breaching. Ways must be found to replace the power that the dams generate, which amounts to 4 percent of the region’s total. But he has to do better than his predecessors, otherwise Judge Redden could well place the operations of the hyrdroelectric system under court order and devise a plan of his own.

This means that at the very least Mr. Locke must reject the Bush plan, promise to devise a new one in close consultation with regional interests and keep dam removal on the table as very real backup if all else fails.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

While Fishing, find fossils ....

Fishing 12-year-old nets Ice Age bone in Embarras River

From the Herald & Review. Com

Monday, July 27, 2009 6:34 AM CDT
By TONY REID - H&R Staff Writer

GREENUP - Josh Brandenburg went angling for a mammoth catfish and came back with a big bit of mammoth instead.

The platter-size circular bone he fished out of the Embarras River is now setting off some elephantine ripples in the scientific community. Experts from the Illinois State Museum in Springfield say the size of the bone means it belonged to one of the biggest mammoths on record from Ice Age Illinois.

The bone also has some "chatter marks" on it, which suggest it was gnawed on by a big meat-eater or maybe even hungry prehistoric humans who had just nailed the mother of all pot roasts.

Either way, Josh's find is something special. The bone is anywhere from 13,000 to 24,000 years old and came from, most likely, a woolly mammoth or another mammoth type, the mammuthus Jeffersonii, which is named for Thomas Jefferson, a major prehistoric critter fan.

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