Happy Earth Day! Each year on this day, we like to look back and highlight some of the more noteworthy events from the last year. Some of these are huge reasons to celebrate this amazing planet, but others highlight the degree to which we as humans have harmed the one planet we’ve got. Also, on Earth Day, it’s highly relevant to tip your cap to the amazing people working with conservation groups working to restore and conserve our lands and waters for future generations. Here are our top five stories to look back on this Earth Day. Now, go outside, enjoy this planet, and catch a fish!
- The support from the fly fishing community on Florida’s water quality issues and SB 2508: Florida Water Battle Over SB 2508 Continues, Concerns Remain. For nearly a month, Captains for Clean Water organized an amazing mass of advocates to speak up for the health of Florida’s water and restoring the everglades. Their efforts had a direct impact and prevented the worst provisions of this legislation from becoming law. Hopefully, next year we can highlight even more progress on Everglades Restoration.
- One Step Closer to Restoring Protections at America’s salmon factory, the Tongass Nation Forest: Full Protections to be Restored in Tongass National Forest. Last fall, the Biden administration began the process to restore Roadless Rule Protections at the Tongass. The comment period ended in January and a final decision should be coming out shortly, but the White House and the agencies involved have already indicated their support. “Reinstating the roadless rule is what’s best for the land, wildlife, people and economy of Southeast Alaska,” wrote TU Alaska’s Marian Giannulis.
- While not as celebratory as tother highlights, the ongoing and devastating droughts in the American West deserve attention this Earth Day: Western States Experiencing Worst Drought in Modern History. Our environments are changing rapidly, which makes the restoration, resilience, and mitigation work by so many great organizations all the more essential.
- Dam Removal continues in the United States: American Rivers Releases “Free Rivers: The State of Dam Removal in the US”. Throughout the industrial revolution, humans relentlessly harnessed energy from rivers with dams, causing decades of ecological harm. Restoring and reconnecting watersheds is an essential activity to improving our planet–and sure it might help fly fishing too!
- Department of the Interior Takes Action on Mineral Leases in Boundary Waters Wilderness Watershed. On January 26th, 2022, the US Department of the Interior canceled two mining permits which would have threatened the amazing and beautiful Boundary Waters Canoe Area. “Today’s announcement by the Biden administration is the right decision for the Boundary Waters and for the outdoor community that has worked so hard to protect it for future generations,” said Lukas Leaf, executive director of Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters.
Outside of the terrible human and ecological impacts of the ongoing droughts, we celebrated these events, as they each work towards making our one planet a little bit better. So, on this Earth Day, go outside and enjoy all the beautiful watersheds and landscapes this earth provides–and hope for even more conservation and environmental victories in the next year!