Tag Archives: habitat

River, Wetland and Habitat Restoration – First Do No Harm

THI.DoNoHarmAD.2013(F)It is one of the precepts all students are taught in medical school. It reminds a physician that he or she must always consider the possible harm any intervention might cause. It also applies quite accurately to the process of restoring rivers, wetlands and uplands. The very act of “restoring” any resource or habitat implies that you do no harm.

Our natural environment plays host to an immense variety of species, many of them microscopic. Whether reducing excessive erosion or enhancing habitat for fish, we not only tread lightly on the delicate ecosystems that exist, we strive to protect and enhance it.  >Learn More about EcoBlu!

U.S. Regulatory Update – 2015 Ecosystem Banking Forum

The 2015 National Mitigation & Ecosystem Banking Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida May 4-8.  Founded in 1997 with a diverse steering committee of regulators, bankers and Michael Sprague.Oceanographic Museum.Submarineenvironmentalist, this is the first – and only – National hands-on conference for mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking that focuses on banking to protect wetlands, endangered species and other natural resources.

We hope you’ll make plans to attend the Friday morning Regulatory Update moderated by Michael Sprague, President of Trout Headwaters, Inc and featuring officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. >See Detailed Agenda http://www.mitigationbankingconference.com/mitigation_agenda.htm or >Register for the conference http://www.mitigationbankingconference.com/mitigation_registration_fees.htm

This just in from Innovate Montana!

InnovateMTPhoto“There are times when the facts about clean, fresh water’s crucial role in our society – and its relative scarcity- can feel daunting.  But, ultimately, this is the type of challenge that inspires true creativity and problem solving from Montana’s entrepreneurs.  Mike Sprague and his colleagues at Trout Headwaters, Inc. (THI) are exactly the type of problem-solvers that can help tackle a major issue like sustainable approaches to stream, river, and wetland renewal and repair; ensuring Montana’s top industries like agriculture have the resources they need to thrive in the future.”  >  Read More

 

Roads Predict Impacts on Biodiversity

The University of Washington’s Journal Conservation reports recently “that our habit of leaving roads in our wake pretty much everywhere may be the best predictor of our effect on the world around us.” Quoting the authors of the study “Road networks predict human influence on Amazonian bird communities,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B who note that “Biodiversity loss may occur directly via road-kill events, disturbance or pollution, or indirectly by stimulating and facilitating loss of habitat, and forming barriers to dispersal and gene flow.“ > Read the Story

FlyTalk Asks ‘Why Not Quality Trout Management?’

Kirk Deeter recently asks “Why Not More ‘Quality Trout Management?’” on the blog FlyTalk http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/flytalk. “Trout anglers can learn a lot from deer hunters, and bird hunters. At least they should when it comes to managing fisheries. I think we’re all starting to wake up to the fact that, in certain places, hatcheries, and hatchery fish, do more harm than good,” he notes.

For nearly twenty years, Trout Headwaters and its clients have focused considerable energy and investment on trout habitat restoration. Our work has been to restore cold water habitats across the U.S., increasing biodiversity and restoring ecological function. Over this time unfortunately we have been witness to lots of invasive management and restoration techniques which damaged stream and wetlands systems, including inappropriate hatchery stockings. Some of these damaging so-called “restoration” projects were simply accidents or catastrophes (depending on scale) others have been part of some accepted ill-informed management strategy. See “Rotenone? 1952 Called and Wants Its Fisheries Management Strategy Back” for a pertinent example.

Read the full post Why Not More ‘Quality Trout Management?’

Running the Gauntlet via PBS

This compelling PBS Nature documentary which first premiered in 2011 investigates the parallel stories of collapsing Pacific salmon populations and how biologists and engineers have become instruments in audacious experiments to replicate every stage of the fish’s life cycle

Each of the desperate efforts to save salmon has involved replacing their natural cycle of reproduction and death with human intervention or manipulation. The once great runs of Pacific salmon are now conceived in laboratories, raised in tanks, driven in trucks, moved by boats, and farmed in pens.

In its exploration of a hopelessly complex, and stunningly expensive approach to managing salmon, the film reveals one of the most ambitious plans ever conceived for taking the reins of the planet, ultimately exposing the real values of habitat restoration.

 See the full movie online via PBS http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/salmon-running-the-gauntlet/video-full-episode/6620/

The Yellowstone River – Still the Longest Undammed River in the Lower 48?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Montana Department of Environmental Quality have issued a joint notice advising plans currently being considered by the District Engineer at Omaha, Nebraska.  According to the notice NOW-2008-02556-MTB the applicant is intending to “conduct periodic placement of rock” on the existing diversion dam and to enable full flows to the applicant even in the event of severe water shortages in the Yellowstone.

The project reach at Intake Dam east of Glendive, Montana is occupied habitat for Pallid Sturgeon, an endangered species presently under federal and state protections.  According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:  “It’s present range in Montana includes the Lower Yellowstone River where damming, channelizing and diking has destroyed much of its habitat.”  More http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/species/endangered/pallidSturgeon/

Photo below of the dam on the Yellowstone River at Intake proposed for yet more rock.

Dam across Yellowstone-IntakeMT

Read a copy of the Public Notice:  NWO-2008-02556-MTB or via

http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Portals/23/docs/regulatory/publicnotices/MT/NWO-2008-02556-MTB.pdf

The Public Comment period is open through June 6, 2014 by writing the US Army Corps of Engineers, PO Box 2256, Billings MT 59103 or calling direct to Cathy Juhas at USACE (406) 657-5910.

Restoration Returns – Green Jobs

A recent report from The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provides a detailed glimpse into the positive economic impacts resulting from environmental restoration activities. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program has contributed $18.6 million to local economies, leveraging $142 million with partner contributions, for a combined total of $161 million spent on PFW program projects. “For every dollar spent by the PFW and Coastal Programs, $7 to $9 of restoration work is happening on the ground,” according to the report.

Looking at only at a single year (FY 2011) for example, the “total economic stimulus created by the PFW program amounted to $292 million in output and 3,500 new jobs” notes the report.

>Read the report http://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/restoration-returns.pdf

At TEDxCharlottesville: Ushering in the Age of Natural Capitalism

“There are two great joys in life: the tilling of the land, and the cultivation of character. One anchors us and one elevates us,” said conservation capitalist Chandler Van Voorhis late last year at TEDxCharlottesville.

Chandler Van Voorhis is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GreenTrees, which plants, grows, and sells permanent forests. He is working to make sure people see what he sees: carbon, water, habitat, air filtration, and soil building mulch – all of the valuable ecological services a tree provides while it is a living part of the ecosystem.

Quipping that his family calls him “The Lorax with a Calculator,” Van Voorhis discusses the evolution of conservation in America from the notion of using our resources wisely, to conservation as a national duty, and now, to an ecosystem marketplace where we attach price and value to nature’s assets.

 

Greenwashing Takes “Green” Industries to the Cleaners

greenwashingThey used to mean something. Words like “sustainable,” “eco-friendly,” “green,” “low-impact,” and “natural” set apart products and services that were better for our environment.  But once these terms became trendy, the practice of “greenwashing” (so rampant now it has its own Wikipedia page) has rendered these words virtually meaningless.

First reported by Forbes and Business Pundit, now the web-based Greenwashing Index, developed by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, is a clearinghouse for dishonest greenwashing in the media.

But greenwashing products like soda, coal and bottled water may be the most damaging to genuinely “green” companies, practices and products.  As these terms are devalued, how does a company, like Trout Headwaters, for example, set itself apart?

One word we’ve used quite a bit to describe our services is “sustainable.” Once an important identifier, sustainable and sustainability have become junk words that can mean whatever people want it to mean, from environmental perfection to, well, nothing.   As a recent article in a Charleston newspaper pointed out, when Smithfield, the U.S.’s largest factory hog processor announces, “Sustainability is integral to the way we conduct business at Smithfield Foods every day,” and Monsanto, the giant multinational maker of chemicals and genetically-engineered seed, declares it is “A Sustainable Agriculture Company,” all we can say is, “Really?!”

How are consumers to know if products and practices are truly sustainable, green, and eco-friendly, or if they are just being duped by a greenwashed marketing campaign?  We all just have to be more vigilant, and do our homework.

In our industry of freshwater resource renewal and repair, we define sustainable as “works with nature,” “adds multiple values,” “self-sustaining,” “maintenance-free,” and “improves over time.”  Maybe we’ll have to coin a new term.

You may also like: 10 Questions to Ask Before Restoring Your Stream or Wetland