Over the past few months, I have learned about a great organization that I wanted to introduce you to, since I continue to be impressed by how fly fishermen/women are interested in protecting their rivers. The group is American Rivers (www.AmericanRivers.org), and they are a very effective river conservation organization that protects wild rivers and restores damaged ones. In the past few years, they have begun in earnest to connect with the fishing community, with a mantra of “healthy fish need healthy rivers”.
Their work spans the country from removing outdated old mill dams on the east coast to protecting rivers out west. And whether they are removing dams to provide access to historic spawning grounds, protecting pristine rivers with “Wild and Scenic” designations (like in 2009 permanently protecting 400 miles of the Snake River and its tributaries to effectively create a “native trout sanctuary”), restoring floodplains and meadows to improve flows and habitat, or working with hydropower companies to improve their dam operations for the benefit of the river downstream, virtually all of their work helps the fishing.
This past year, their accomplishments include:
- Removing 32 outdated dams
- Restoring 1,627 miles of river through dam removals and numerous negotiations to improve dam operations
- Protecting 150,618 acres of riverside land
- Removing 4.2 million pounds of trash through our National River Cleanup program
To give you some specific examples, here’s a link to a report they produce every six months that highlights recent projects to protect and restore important fish habitat. There are some great stories here, ranging from dam removals (like on the Appomattox River in Virginia that opened 127 miles of spawning grounds for American Shad and herring) to river protections (like blocking a proposed dam on the Teton River in Idaho) to policy wins (such as the Chesapeake Bay Agreement).
I hope you’ll enjoy the report and please check out their website at www.AmericanRivers.org. And for those of you who would like to support them, their Anglers Fund is a great way to do that (www.AmericanRivers.org/AnglersFund). At that site you can learn more about their work that helps fishing as well as find contact information for Steve White, who runs the Fund.
Remember that healthy fish do in fact need healthy rivers, and for those of us who appreciate fishing in beautiful rivers, it’s on us to make sure they stay that way by supporting groups like American Rivers.
Thanks for your help.
– Tim Harden