I enjoyed reading about my old home waters (“Call of the Wild Cutthroats” July/October). I lived within 50 miles of Glacier National Park for 27 years. Two lakes that can be day-tripped to, if you are in shape, that I have fished are Otokomi and Oldman. These have cutthroats. I recommend anglers purchase a copy of Fishing Glacier National Park by Russ Schneider.
Forest Lake, MN
Return to the Elk River
After reading Ted Williams’ article“Who Hates Trout Rivers?” in your April 2008 issue, I felt it necessary to respond and tell“the rest of the story.” This story, like most, has several dimensions. West Virginia, like most energy-producing states, fights daily to maintain and improve the quality of our coldwater trout streams. Parallel to the obvious need to continue producing energy to meet our nation’s needs, we are committed to protecting our state’s tremendous fishery resources. Governor Joe Manchin and I are both avid trout anglers and he stresses to me weekly the importance he attaches to trout water and trout angling in West Virginia.
The governor backs up his words with action. Several recent events illustrate the point. In January, Governor Manchin was able to conclude an agreement with the heirs of Jim Compton, owner of Grafton Coal Company, to complete a generous donation of a key parcel of land on the upper Elk River. State ownership of this property will now guarantee public access to, and continued WVDNR management of, one of the best trout streams in the eastern United States.
In addition, WVDNR has been a leader in restoring trout streams damaged by acid precipitation and acid mine drainage. The limestone neutralization methodologies that we developed have been deployed on a scale unmatched by any other state in the nation, resulting in over 300 miles of restored trout streams. Most of the restored fisheries are native brook-trout fisheries and are key contributions to the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture of the National Fish Habitat Initiative. Our annual budget for this work is approximately $350,000.
On April 19, Governor Manchin announced the implementation of a stream restoration plan for another acid-impacted watershed. This effort will restore 26 miles of trout streams in the Abram Creek watershed. It is a joint venture of the WVDNR and WVDEP, both under the guidance and authority of Governor Manchin. The governor has fully supported using more of the re-authorized Abandoned Mine Lands funding for water quality and fisheries restoration. This project also has personal significance for me. In 1960, when I was in high school, a friend and I would go with his dad to Abram Creek for opening day of trout season. This project will not only restore the stream, but restore it as a destination for future generations of anglers.
Finally, returning to the upper Elk River, I wish to make you and your readers aware of a couple of additional points. The first relates to the sewage-treatment issue on the upper Elk River discussed in your article. The process of selecting a site for a facility is still unfolding, but wherever and however it may be built, the governor and his administration will not support a sewage-treatment facility that degrades one the state’s best trout streams. Period. The second point references your discussion of the water-quality regulations in West Virginia. Legislation passed during this session of the legislature now will require the most protective pollution discharge standards on reproducing trout streams on public lands. That doesn’t sound to me like we“hate” our trout streams here in West Virginia; it sounds like we love them. Which in fact we do.
Dept. of Natural Resources
For a refresher on Ted’s April Conservation column, click your way to the April issue.
Gierach Is a Class Act
It was a pleasure reading John Gierach’s 100th column for Fly Rod& Reel. What made it extra special for me is that John used this article to celebrate the work of his colleague, Bob White. I enjoy reading John’s work, have a number of his books and am glad he is associated with your magazine. John’s stories are always clever and informational, and give the reader the sense of sitting around the cabin with friends sharing their own tales.
I took delight in how John honored his friend by walking us through his vision of Bob’s work, what it meant to him to see these paintings for the first time, how they fit the story line so well, giving the works of art a greater depth and sensitivity than some people take the time to witness. To honor another as John did was refreshing, and for Bob White, deserved. Thank you.
Mark J Strehlow
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