Monday, March 5, 2012

The Tongass 77

History is a beautiful thing.

Besides being an impartial record of time, it provides us a looking-glass with which to examine our actions within the context of present day consequences.

It's a damn shame that most folks don't ever use it.

Time to face the facts...west coast salmon stocks have been in serious decline for over a century now, and while poor management practices can be implicated in many run collapses, it would be hard to argue that irresponsible development and unsustainable industrial logging haven't played a big part in the decline of Pacific salmon.

Alaska has learned from history that commercial fish management must be done in real time, must be escapement-based, and has to be done with future fish stocks in mind, not short-term profits.

So why is it so damn hard to get decent habitat protection measures in place? What sense does it make to spend time and effort managing the ocean return when there isn't a conservation schedule set up for the riparian ecosystem?

This may be changing soon.

A small but growing coalition of folks (including the AK office of Trout Unlimited) is introducing an apparently radical idea - to preemptively conserve high-quality spawning an rearing habitat for trout and salmon in Southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest.

Seeing as how we spend a good chunk of time all up in the flows of the Tongass, we're figuring this is a good idea. The Tongass might have a lot of trees, but the true standing crop is wild salmon and trout. The sooner the USDA figures that out, the better.
For more information, check out If you like what you see and can get behind such an effort, make sure to Sign On.

Fish need all the help they can get these days.