August 28, 2013
Orvis and TU Team Up to Improve 1,000 Miles of Trout Habitat in U.S.
By Tim Romano
What would you give for 1,000 more miles of improved trout river habitat throughout the country?
When you think about it, that amounts to more water than some of the most legendary trout rivers, like the Henry's Fork (of the Snake) or Colorado's Roaring Fork, or the West Branch of the Delaware, combined. In an era when we anglers worry about things like pressure on waters, fragile species that need access to spawning water, and so forth, nobody in their right mind (who fishes) can argue against the need for more viable and productive trout habitat.
And while there are many conservation efforts underway to restore and protect good fly fishing water, an effort to "reconnect" habitat, spearheaded by The Orvis Company Inc. and Trout Unlimited may now be the most significant and important program underway now in the Continental United States that can improve the quality of fly fishing opportunities for generations to come. Called the "1,000 Miles Campaign," the initiative is designed to deliver exactly what the name implies: 1,000 miles of healthy and productive trout water within the next 10 years.
While there has been a lot of hoopla lately about tearing down dams that impede the migration of wild fish (no doubt a worthy cause), some of the culprits that impede good fishing are more subtle in stature, but no less devastating. Culverts, especially old and poorly designed ones, that dissect small streams can impede the movements of migratory trout and salmon, blocking certain species from their native spawning habitat, and affecting the quality of these fisheries as a whole. By removing the culverts, the net result will be more, happier fish, and in turn, more productive, valuable water for sport anglers.
It's a pretty simple deal with a clear objective, and hundreds of miles have already been improved. And if you donate to this cause, Orvis will match your money, giving more power to the overall program.
This is a significant initiative that frankly isn't getting the attention it deserves from the angling community. It is national in scope. Fish will benefit, and regardless if a project is happening in your immediate backyard or not, you as an angler will win also. After all, if I told you we could create more productive water that would stretch from Denver to Bozeman and beyond, you'd sign on, wouldn't you?