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March 15, 2012

TRCP Community: The Square Dealer What was the name of the book written by Kermit Roosevelt after his father’s death?

Send your answers to info@trcp.org. We’ll send the winner a TRCP hat.

Congratulations to Edward Ruchala for answering last month’s question correctly.

The question: In what year did T.R. establish the Chugach National Forest in Alaska?

The answer: 1907

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Capt. Ryan Lambert Discusses Gulf Coast Restoration with the TRCP

 

Southern Louisiana is losing wetlands at a frightening rate - a football field every hour. Photo Courtesy Cajun Fishing Adventures

The Senate transportation bill passed on March 8 includes as an amendment the RESTORE Act, an important measure that would bolster Gulf restoration efforts by directing 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines paid by BP to Gulf states. As the House deliberates the bill before a March 31 deadline, the fate of coastal Louisiana hangs in the balance. House passage of a transportation bill that includes the RESTORE Act would be a major victory for sportsmen-conservationists and stakeholders in southern Louisiana, including Capt. Ryan Lambert.

A southern Louisiana native, Lambert owns two lodges and has been guiding fishing and duck hunting trips in the area for more than 30 years. Lambert is very active in Gulf restoration efforts and has testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While the one-two punch of Hurricane Katrina (which left 24 feet of standing water in his lodge and put him out of business for nine months) and the oil spill devastated him on a personal level, Lambert is more concerned about wetland loss.

Levies and channelization built in the Gulf region after the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 has had a two-pronged negative effect on the Delta ecosystem. First, sediment no longer is able to collect around the mouth of the Mississippi, and, second, salt water is encroaching on exclusively freshwater ecosystems.

Channelization near the mouth of the Mississippi River increases the velocity at which the river enters the Gulf. As a result, sediment from spring flooding events that would normally collect in the marshes to give them structure now goes straight out into the Gulf. The combination of rising sea levels and a lack of marsh structure has lead to the vast and widespread disappearance of wetlands near the mouth of the Mississippi.

Lambert: “The land is subsiding. It’s sinking. And when it does so, there is nothing to replenish it like in years past. As [saltwater] intrudes into the fresh water, it kills trees and freshwater animals, and the soil just gets washed out.”

Image Courtesy coastal.la.gov

The Mississippi River Delta is losing its wetlands at a frightening rate – a football field every hour.

“Ninety-nine percent of the land and marshes in my area on the west side of the Mississippi River are gone. This is the worst erosion in the United States, maybe North America. It used to be 6.5 miles of marsh between me and the Gulf. Now there’s none. I could point my boat that way and never touch a piece of grass. It’s sickening to me because I know what that land produced. Even when I ride around near marshes that were my old stomping grounds growing up, it is so disheartening because now it’s all open water. It’s like a dagger in my heart when I see it.”

A number of shipping canals and channels cut directly through the marsh systems, allowing salt water to seep in, killing vegetation and disrupting the salinity balance that many species need to survive.

“It’s only a matter of time before the whole marsh system collapses. I think about my area and about all the wildlife we’ve lost. These were rich trapping grounds: otter, muskrat, mink, raccoon, deer, rabbits and millions of acres of habitat for waterfowl. All that’s gone. Where did those animals go? We lost all that and nobody says anything. If that happened somewhere else in the country or in the world, they would have more people there trying to fix it. I don’t understand why this never gets any attention. We lost millions and millions of furbearing animals and nobody’s said a word.”

TRCP: How much has the spill cost you and your business monetarily, and how much has BP paid you for your losses?

“So far its cost me over $2 million, and so far I’ve gotten $155,000 from BP. It’s gonna cost for a long time.”

TRCP: What was worse; the spill or Hurricane Katrina?

“Oh, the spill by far. Because I had to stay open to have a claim. So I stayed open all year with no business and kept my lodge open and paid my employees and all my cooks. You are legally obligated to mitigate your loss. If I just closed the door and didn’t wanna go fishing, I would have no claim. So I lost an additional $160,000 keeping my lodge open and paying my employees for no reason. I worked harder for less money than I ever did in my life.”

TRCP: How was your duck season this year, and how has the fishing been?

“My duck season was very, very good. There hasn’t been a speckled trout to speak of since last May. They are just depleted and going down, down, down. So I turned all my attention to my duck hunting operation. We were booked every day and killed 4,600 ducks, and it was just fabulous. But after that, we are dead in the water because there are no fish. Historically, my guides could go out and catch 1,000 speckled trout on a day with no wind. Ten boats would catch between 800 and 1,000 fish. Now we’re not catching any.”

TRCP: What would it mean for the Gulf if RESTORE were to pass?

“It’s no different than if you’re holding a person down and choking them and right before they die, you pull your hand off their throat. Boom! Instantly, they come back to life. I think it would do the same thing for Louisiana.”

Learn more about the Senate passage of the RESTORE Act.

Learn more about Vanishing Paradise, a coalition of more than five hundred businesses and organizations working to restore the delta by reconnecting the Mississippi River with its wetlands.

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March 14, 2012

Testing Your Staying Power in the Field

“Hunting for a day or two without finding game where the work is toilsome, is a good test of the sportsman’s staying qualities; the man who at the end of the time is proceeding with as much caution and determination as at the beginning, has got the right stuff in him.”

Excerpt from Hunting Trips of a Ranchman 

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February 15, 2012

In what year did T.R. establish the Chugach National Forest in Alaska?

Send your answers to info@trcp.org. We’ll send the winner a TRCP hat. Congratulations to Jim Enders for answering last month’s T.R.ivia question correctly. The question: What year did T.R. begin serving in the New York State Assembly? The answer: T.R. was elected in 1881 and began serving in 1882.

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January 18, 2012

Big Bass in Arkansas

TRCP’s Center for Agricultural and Private Lands Director Steve Kline reeled in this largemouth on a recent trip to Arkansas. Senior Director of Policy Initiatives and Communications Geoff Mullins, who took this photo, had no such luck. You’ll get ’em next time, Mullins!

We want to see how you TRCP! Submit your photos to info@trcp.org or on the TRCP Facebook page.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

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