Conservation

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
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Saving America from a Clean Chesapeake

Recovery of the estuary that provides 75 percent of the Atlantic striped bass population is being fought by 21 states, only one of which is in the watershed.

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Jay Fleming
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Non-indigenous fish were introduced to Yellowstone National Park decades ago.
Now, in the few places possible and in the face of loud opposition,
park stewards are correcting that blunder.

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
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The Paiute cutthroat has a future thanks to dedicated, tireless fisheries biologists.

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Louis Cahill
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Designer Fish

Manmade fish are all the rage.

What does their popularity say about us?

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: David Skok
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conservation /// ted williams

Whatever are we to make of the “National Ocean Policy” process hatched by President Obama three years ago and finalized April 16, 2013?

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Jonathan Oppenheimer
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Suction dredging for gold, legal in most of the UNITED STATESbut especially popular in the West, is essentially a recreational form of mining. Six grand will buy you a portable gasoline-powered dredge, a sluice box, a wet suit and scuba gear, and you’re good to go (as they say). With a hose, usually four inches in diameter, you vacuum up inanimate and animate stuff from the bottom of the river, pushing away the big rocks and dislodging large woody debris. Because gold is heavier than wood, bark, gravel, fish eggs, fish fry, mussels, snails and insect larvae, it settles out in your sluice box (floating or anchored on shore). In most states you can buy a permit for less than the cost of a fishing license, but you don’t need one because there’s virtually no enforcement. In many locations the Mining Act of 1872 allows you to stake a claim to a river section and evict the public. Then you don’t even have to dredge; you can just hang out and enjoy your privatized public property.

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Donna Williams
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Until 1972, when Congress enacted the Clean Water Act over President Nixon’s veto, Americans treated their rivers like Londoners treated their streets in the Middle Ages—emptying their excreta into them. The act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to limit pollution by awarding discharge permits. Large federal grants helped municipalities upgrade from primary sewage treatment (removing solids) to secondary treatment (reducing biological content).

Conservation

  • By: Ted Williams
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MY FISHING BUDDIES AND I ARE BLIGHTED BY SEVERE GOUT. When we hobble into the offices of local doctors they tell us it results from our drinking habits. But we don’t believe that Ripple wine, which we never touch before 9 a.m., has a thing to do with our affliction. What’s more, we’ve consulted the sewer commissioner, the building inspector and the managers of five liquor stores. They all confirm what we suspect—that our diagnoses result from an abstinence cult among the medical profession, which opposes anything that feels or tastes good and which, in an effort to drum up business, is always trying to panic the public.

Conservation NEW

  • By: Ted Williams
The Chickley River after the Town of Hawley, Massachusetts "improved" it.  

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Tobogganing on cafeteria trays can be dangerous, especially when icy conditions coincide with heavy drinking, as always seems to happen in my part of the Northeast. So I stick to the foothills. But recently a dozen more daring participants were hospitalized. Some suffered cranial pressure from ependymal hematomas; others had bone splinters in their meningeal tissue; still others leaked cerebrospinal fluid. Since the brain-trauma physicians were on a golf holiday in Aruba, the hospital administrator enlisted the custodians, providing them with condensed neurosurgical guidelines along with carte blanche authority to do whatever seemed necessary with their saws, chisels and staple guns. All the patients died.

How to Kill a Reborn River

  • By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Tom Okeefe
  • and Greg Thomas
Elwha Dam

September 17, 2011 was a day of wild celebration in northwest Washington state for what is billed as the most ambitious salmonid recovery project ever undertaken on a single river. After nearly half a century of lobbying, negotiations, legal wrangling, legislation, environmental review, and a federal outlay of $325 million, the continent’s biggest dam removal project was underway.