Mary May hauls a bucket of trash that we removed from a small stream bed
Earlier this summer, Mary May and I met up with Triangle Fly Fishers to help do a clean-up on the Eno River here in Hillsborough. We removed trash as well as a number of invasive and detrimental species. It was fun getting a little dirt under the fingernails and we both felt good at the end of the day knowing that we had accomplished something that would make a difference. But the Eno is a lucky river. It has folks adopting it, it has a conservation association, it has good water quality, and although the watershed is moderately urban, at least through Durham, as a whole it lacks large scale agricultural development. Other bodies of water are not so lucky.
TFF out in force for the Eno clean-up
On numerous occasions this year I have hauled a hull full of trash back to the launch. It is sad to see folks who have no idea that they "live upstream". So I urge everyone to be conscious of your choices. I am not saying to go out and pick up trash every weekend or to go sign up for stream restoration work - just live so that no-one else has to either. Just be wary before your throw that cup out the window or let that old battery fall apart in the back yard.
Yanking invasives in the mud and the muck
For you ag types, my rants could go on for quite some time, so I will just say this - many local conservation districts will help you with projects that will greatly improve water quality (fences, buffers, etc). Most are free and some even pay you. So pull out the phone book, look-up your local ag office, and give them a call.
So why is this flowing out of my fingers all of a sudden? I guess it is because of all the amazing places I have been this year, soon to be capped off with a trip to Texas to fish for one of the most threatened species - the Guadalupe Bass. Pat Kellner did a great blog a while ago about the Guads and how special they are to the region. Shoal, Suwannee, and other bass species have similar cult like followings. The bottom line, no matter what species or region, is preserving these species for future generations. That includes practicing catch and release and obeying size and creel limits. And one final thing we can all do is have our state or local wildlife officials phone number in our wallets or phone contacts. I have dialed them here in NC on numerous occasions to report violations when in the field. If you wait until you get home, it will most likely be too late.
I have one final thing that I think can help - and it boils down to publicity and marketing. Conservation needs to be viewed as a hotter topic. Groups like GreenFish and Recycled Fish are a step in the right direction, but it needs to go further. It needs to become "cool".
My "trophy catch" at the clean-up
For the past two years, my "write-in category" for the Kayak Anglers Choice Awards has been someone who goes above and beyond in terms of the combination of conservation and kayak angling. Both years it didn't make the cut as an extra category, although I hoped they were contacted via email to let them know that their efforts are being recognized. But most of the outdoorsman I know are like me - they would rather be responsible while fishing or hunting. They let the idea of having to pick up after others slip to the back of their mind. It is sad and needs to change in so many ways. But outdoorsman are the group that need to spearhead the change.
Until next time, tight lines!