• By: Ted Williams
  • Photography by: Donna Williams

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).


  • By: Ted Williams
conservation fall 2012_fmt.jpg

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.  

Click image for slideshow.

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: Greg Thomas
  • and Tom Okeefe
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.


  • By: Buzz Bryson
Right Boot Sole

What do you think about the new rubber alternatives to felt soles on wading boots? Do they grip and wear as well as felt? And do they achieve their intended purpose of reducing the spread of various invasive “nasties” from stream to stream?