Mia Sheppard

by:

posted in: General

March 31, 2016

Compassion: A Surprising Ingredient in the Recipe for Cool, Clean Water

Our Oregon field rep hangs up her waders for a high-profile public-speaking opportunity in D.C., where she discovers a spirit of hope for water solutions

Last year, Oregon experienced the worst drought on record, with many adverse effects on our rivers and fish. I saw firsthand the results of drought and dam regulations in my own backyard on the Deschutes River, renowned for its native Redside trout. Water temperatures reached up to 74 degrees as salmon arrived, searching for a cooler refuge from the Columbia River—but the cooler water wasn’t there. The rising water temperatures caused an algae bloom that clung to the banks and rocks. Warm-water macroinvertabrates, such as water skippers, were abundant, but the expected cool-water mayflies and stoneflies were few and far between.

The river I knew was almost unrecognizable.

Image courtesy of Marty Sheppard.

Access to suitable water resources seems like a human right, but our fish and wildlife have rights to clean, cool water, too. As an angler, I know that salmon, steelhead, and trout need the right water conditions to thrive. While there are some policies in place that begin to help during a drought crisis, we need federal decision-makers to prioritize actions that invest long-term in better water quality for healthy, viable rivers and our outdoor recreation opportunities.

I recently hung up my waders to walk the halls of the Eisenhower building, part of the White House complex, in a navy blue suit. And I felt the energy of change, as people hustled around me.

In celebration of World Water Day, the White House convened a water summit where innovators, policy-makers, advocates, and media were gathered to discuss our country’s water future. I was honored to attend and share my personal connection with water through fishing, especially as one of the only representatives of the sportsmen’s community. I had three minutes to reflect on the importance of considering fish, wildlife, and outdoor opportunities in concert with infrastructure challenges, human consumption, and water use for agriculture and forestry. I talked about the Deschutes and found myself getting choked up as I told the crowd, “When fish lose, we lose.” I guess that was the moment that I really felt the impact of what I’d seen during the drought and dam regulators were drawing  the warmer surface water of Lake Billy Chinook

Image courtesy of Marty Sheppard.

I felt confident and composed, however, when I shared that the TRCP’s petition recognizing serious threats to rivers and streams and calling on federal decision-makers for action has been signed by more than 1,000 sportsmen and women. It was nice to know these kindred spirits were standing with me, in a sense, at the podium.

As the summit came to a close, Pueblo Tribal Councilman Nelson Cordova from Taos, New Mexico, recited a prayer in his native tongue asking for the wisdom, strength, and compassion to deal with our water issues. Compassion, which was the last thing I expected from a D.C. crowd in suits and heels, was certainly what I heard from longtime colleagues, strangers, and local anglers after my speech. I’d shown more emotion than I’d intended, but many people assured me they felt the same way.

If you want to learn more about the changing water conditions on the Deschutes River, click here.

Do you have any thoughts on this post?

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Mia Sheppard

by:

posted in: General

Compassion: A Surprising Ingredient in the Recipe for Cool, Clean Water

Our Oregon field rep hangs up her waders for a high-profile public-speaking opportunity in D.C., where she discovers a spirit of hope for water solutions

Last year, Oregon experienced the worst drought on record, with many adverse effects on our rivers and fish. I saw firsthand the results of drought and dam regulations in my own backyard on the Deschutes River, renowned for its native Redside trout. Water temperatures reached up to 74 degrees as salmon arrived, searching for a cooler refuge from the Columbia River—but the cooler water wasn’t there. The rising water temperatures caused an algae bloom that clung to the banks and rocks. Warm-water macroinvertabrates, such as water skippers, were abundant, but the expected cool-water mayflies and stoneflies were few and far between.

The river I knew was almost unrecognizable.

Image courtesy of Marty Sheppard.

Access to suitable water resources seems like a human right, but our fish and wildlife have rights to clean, cool water, too. As an angler, I know that salmon, steelhead, and trout need the right water conditions to thrive. While there are some policies in place that begin to help during a drought crisis, we need federal decision-makers to prioritize actions that invest long-term in better water quality for healthy, viable rivers and our outdoor recreation opportunities.

I recently hung up my waders to walk the halls of the Eisenhower building, part of the White House complex, in a navy blue suit. And I felt the energy of change, as people hustled around me.

In celebration of World Water Day, the White House convened a water summit where innovators, policy-makers, advocates, and media were gathered to discuss our country’s water future. I was honored to attend and share my personal connection with water through fishing, especially as one of the only representatives of the sportsmen’s community. I had three minutes to reflect on the importance of considering fish, wildlife, and outdoor opportunities in concert with infrastructure challenges, human consumption, and water use for agriculture and forestry. I talked about the Deschutes and found myself getting choked up as I told the crowd, “When fish lose, we lose.” I guess that was the moment that I really felt the impact of what I’d seen during the drought and dam regulators were drawing  the warmer surface water of Lake Billy Chinook

Image courtesy of Marty Sheppard.

I felt confident and composed, however, when I shared that the TRCP’s petition recognizing serious threats to rivers and streams and calling on federal decision-makers for action has been signed by more than 1,000 sportsmen and women. It was nice to know these kindred spirits were standing with me, in a sense, at the podium.

As the summit came to a close, Pueblo Tribal Councilman Nelson Cordova from Taos, New Mexico, recited a prayer in his native tongue asking for the wisdom, strength, and compassion to deal with our water issues. Compassion, which was the last thing I expected from a D.C. crowd in suits and heels, was certainly what I heard from longtime colleagues, strangers, and local anglers after my speech. I’d shown more emotion than I’d intended, but many people assured me they felt the same way.

If you want to learn more about the changing water conditions on the Deschutes River, click here.

by:

posted in: General

March 30, 2016

Critter Madness: The Road to Victory Ends Here

The semi-finals of the 2016 Critter Madness tournament have come to a close. Thank you to all those who voted and entered for a chance to win a brand new TRCP-branded YETI cooler!

After the final votes were cast, the elk and the rainbow trout are moving on to the finals in this winner-take-all matchup. Both the elk and the rainbow won in convincing fashion to set up this sportsmen’s favorite heavyweight bout for the finals.

The rainbow trout comes into the finals as the only non-one seed to make it into semi-final play. They beat the salmon “kings” handedly, showing they do in fact have what it takes to match up against any critter in this tournament. The elk, however, have shown their dominance through every round of this tournament, beating all of their opponents by a combined 543 votes! The reigning champ from last year made no mistakes, steamrolling their way back to the finals again this year as they look to repeat.

On paper this is how a lot of sportsmen saw the tournament going. There were a few upsets along the way, a few close calls, and a few crazy battles, but in the end, it all comes down to this. King of the North American game vs. the crown jewel of America’s coldwater game fish.

One lucky winner will start their next hunting season off right with a brand new Mossberg Silver Reserve 12-gauge shotgun, so be sure to vote everyday!

Rob Thornberry

by:

posted in: General

March 29, 2016

The legacy of Idaho’s High Divide

All hunters and anglers should join me in calling for conservation of intact and undeveloped backcountry areas

Like most of my neighbors, I live in eastern Idaho because of the outdoors. Some days that is the clear water of the Henry’s Fork. Other days it is the sweet convergence of sage and timber, where I hunt grouse.

Last fall, I spent a day on the High Divide between Idaho and Montana. It was one of the coldest days of the year and there was a stiff breeze as I climbed the ridge. Hunting seasons were closed, so a camera was my only gear.

During a quick break to catch my breath, I spotted nine bull elk trying to sneak back toward the cover of timber. Two spikes, a rag horn with a misshapen antler and six bruisers stood on the ridgetop, providing a great photo and making my heart race with a hunter’s anticipation.

These elk were standing on Bureau of Land Management public lands, which belong to all of us.

Image courtesy of Mike Clements.

The High Divide includes three million acre area of BLM land that runs west from Sand Creek winter range, over the Gilmore Summit, and to high benches of the Pahsimeroi River. It is the Donkey Hills and the foothills of Bell Mountain. It is a place where cellphones are rendered largely useless and solitude is easily found.

The plans that help guide how the BLM manages these lands are decades old and in need of revision to ensure the future of these unique landscapes with the best science and public input. Revisions to the BLM Upper Snake plan have been in the works for a number of years but are yet to be completed. Planning for the Salmon and Challis areas will begin in coming years.

It is important that the BLM does not delay and moves forward with planning across this landscape. I’d encourage all hunters and anglers to get involved in this public process and join me in calling for conservation of intact and undeveloped backcountry areas that are prized for hunting and wildlife habitat.

Many will – and should – have a say in BLM’s resource and travel plans, but it is up to the sporting community to band together and stress the value of these important wildlife corridors, mating grounds and winter ranges.

In 1912 Theodore Roosevelt said, “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.”

Roosevelt made conservation a top-tier national issue. We should follow his lead. To ensure the viability of critical habitats and solitary places, we must plan carefully today.

For more information, visit SportsmensCountry.org and speak up for BLM public lands.

by:

posted in: General

March 24, 2016

One Day Could Make a World of Difference for Water and Fish

The first-ever White House Water Summit opens a dialogue about real solutions for drought and habitat decline

Fish require a delicate balance of adequate and timely water flows, suitable temperatures, and healthy water conditions in order to survive. When any of these factors go awry, sportsmen are shut out of fishing areas, or worse, fisheries collapse.

Image courtesy of TRCP.

The current drought in the western United States highlights serious risks to fish and wildlife habitat—including rising temperatures, falling water levels, and more demand from humans than ever before—and sportsmen are seeing similar conditions across the country. Salmon in the Pacific Northwest are dying because the rivers are too low for them to make the round-trip journey from mountain streams to the ocean, and water temperatures are too high for them to survive. Algae blooms in coastal waters are depriving the water of oxygen, suffocating fish even miles offshore. The Colorado River doesn’t even reach the ocean anymore; it simply dries up after crossing the border with Mexico.

As a country, when we lose access to these places or allow habitat to decline, we’re letting down future generations of Americans. That’s why the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and our conservation partners are focused on securing water for healthy fish and wildlife habitat.

Just One Day

On March 22, 2016, in honor of World Water Day, the Obama administration hosted the first-ever White House Water Summit to start a dialogue about solutions to our water problems. Sportsmen at this event stressed the importance of securing a water future that supports fish and wildlife, while providing water to cities and farms at the same time. In fact, the TRCP delivered a petition with the names of nearly 1,000 sportsmen calling for flexible and reliable water systems so we can better weather the next drought or flood. These hunters and anglers are calling for federal officials to take action to keep rivers and streams healthy, so we continue to have places to pursue our sports.

Image courtesy of Mia Sheppard.

At the summit, our Oregon field representative Mia Sheppard spoke to the crowd of 150 federal officials, state representatives, private-sector leaders, and others about the conditions she has personally experienced on the Deschutes River and why we need to act now, so her eight-year-old daughter can spend her days on the water for years to come.

The summit follows on the heels of the July 2015 White House Drought Symposium, which the TRCP helped organize. Out of those talks, sportsmen’s groups have developed 20 recommendations to help make the country more drought resilient, some of which the administration has already addressed. Notably, the administration has invested heavily in water conservation projects and prioritized flexible and voluntary water-sharing agreements, both of which sportsmen have recommended.

A Better Water Future

For months, sportsmen and conservation groups have called for a stronger response among federal, state and local agencies to protect the Colorado River and other drought-stricken waterways, and at the White House Water Summit, sportsmen chalked up another win for fish and wildlife: The administration agreed to increase coordination of federal resources and expertise to promote drought resilience. This is an important step that will improve on-the-ground—or, if you prefer, on-the-water—results and better utilize federal resources to combat drought and protect vital water resources.

The White House Water Summit was an important milestone in the national dialogue about what the federal government should do to manage our water resources. The needs of fish and wildlife have been well represented by the TRCP and its partners so that streams, lakes, and rivers stay open to sportsmen. And we’re hopeful that this dialogue will lead to a future with enough water for everyone—including the fish that help us enjoy our time outdoors.

Learn more about TRCP’s work to ensure the future of water for fish, wildife, and sportsmen.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?

The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.

Learn More
Subscribe

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You have Successfully Subscribed!