Conservation Roundup: Too Hot For Western Trout? and Backcountry Sportsmen Speak Out

Too-hot for Western Trout Fishing? If you care about Western trout fishing, you’ll want to know this: A new, peer-reviewed … Continued

Too-hot for Western Trout Fishing?

If you care about Western trout fishing, you’ll want to know this:

A new, peer-reviewed study shows rising stream water temperatures caused by climate change could cut Western habitat for trout in half over the next 70 years, sending populations of cutthroat, rainbows, brookies and browns plummeting.

The study published this week in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” was reported by a team of 11 researchers from Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State University and the University of Washington. T[he full report can be found here](http://www.tu.org/sites/www.tu.org/files/pnas.201103097.pdf, and here, www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/08/09/1103097108).

The report predicts the expected three-degree Celsius (about 5 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in water temperatures and other climate-related impacts would reduce populations of native cutthroat across the West by as much as 58 percent, brook trout up to 77 percent, and rainbow and brown trout populations by as much as 35 percent and 48 percent respectively.

“The No. 1 requirement for healthy trout populations is clean, cold water, and the most conservative models in this report are predicting increases of three degrees Celsius,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “That would be devastating for these trout, which are already under extreme pressure.”

An Anti-Conservation House?

That frightening trout report should strengthen the sportsmen’s drive to force a recalcitrant House to stop making things even worse. Before the August recess the GOP majority in the House passed appropriations bills loaded with anti-environment policy riders including some that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing regulations to reduce carbon emissions, which are the major engine building the greenhouse gases increasing global temperatures. That bill was expected to face opposition in the Senate. Other riders attacked wetlands protections.

Here’s the list of dirty riders compiled by the National Wildlife Federation in this excellent evaluation of the fish and wildlife damage attempted by the House recess.

Sportsmen Speaking Out For Backcountry

America’s sportsmen are telling their Congressmen to keep their hands off western backcountry that not only produces some of the greatest hunting and fishing left in the lower 48, but is the engine driving a valuable economic asset during these hard fiscal times.

In “Banking on the Backcountry” 270 sportsmen’s businesses and organizations point out that the habitat the House wants open to development with H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Road less Area Release Act, would jeopardize hundreds of small, wilderness-dependent businesses that depend on that protection.

Anyone caring about these precious resources that have been protected for decades should join that chorus by contacting their congressional delegation. Find them here, www.contactingthecongress.org.