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Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?

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2010/3/13 21:14
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Posted on: 12/20 21:19


Re: Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?

Joined:
2016/2/27 7:56
From Maryland
Posts: 30
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When I was a kid learning to fish in the early 1970s, I presumed the state of trout streams would continue as it had for my father's generation. He started fishing for trout in the early 40s when he was a boy and told stories of fishing for wild brook trout in the anthracite region of central Pennsylvania where everyone depended on coal to make a living. Stories of catching wild trout in pristine springs, tiny mountain creeks and even the mighty Lehigh River would often end like this: "There's nothing in that creek anymore because it got polluted by mine acid."

Turns out, though, I was wrong. I have been fishing the same general territories for decades and have seen a gradual increase in the number of trout streams and improvement in the quality. It used to be there were no trout downstream from a sewage treatment plant. Stricter regulation and improved technology mean trout can survive, even successfully spawn, downstream from sewage treatment plants. Lime dosing and other clean up requirements imposed on coal and other mining operations have allowed for streams I once believed to be lost forever to mine acid to now have trout, in some cases wild trout, in them.

Heck. It applies to all waterways. I can recall a time when the Susquehanna at Harrisburg smelled like an open sewer, which is pretty much what it was. Now it is a regional, if not national, destination for those pursuing smallmouth bass.

You'll notice I've used the wording "regulation" and "requirements imposed" in this description. Without regulation, I am confident the progression of my father's time toward fewer streams capable of supporting trout would have continued.

The benefits, however, took a long time to be realized and it would be easy to conclude that they just happened. Without the Clean Water Act and its requirements that mine acid be cleaned up and sewage treatment plants be refined so they did not destroy downstream waters, it is possible trout fishing locations in Pennsylvania would be few, far between and not particularly good.

Without getting too much into politics, it is worth considering that the word regulation, in many circles, is preceded by the word unnecessary, as if all regulation were unnecessary. There are such things as unnecessary regulations. It would certainly be too soon to celebrate the improvements in our publicly owned waterways -- and related fishing opportunity improvements -- however, if the sentiment of late that regulations need to be swept away to allow for cheaper coal mining, unfettered fracturing of the rocks under aquifers and increased land development without also increased capacity for treating waste water were cast aside.

Our generation of anglers has benefitted greatly from regulations put in place by our parents' and grandparents' generations. To presume otherwise and buy into the notion that regulation of water pollution can be swept away without the result being dead streams is to be too trusting.

Pollution happens because it is cheaper to dump untreated wastewater into a creek. It's a perfectly good solution for the person living in the first house below the spring. For everyone downstream, though, it's a terrible deal. Do away with regulation, though, and the first house below the spring will always be the only one worth living in.

In short: celebrate that we have better fishing than when I was a kid by going fishing, but don't forget that fishing didn't improve by chance.

Posted on: 12/23 11:15


Re: Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?
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Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
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^ post...so true! Thanks.

Posted on: 12/23 12:25


Re: Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?

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2016/7/26 18:32
From Camp Hill
Posts: 106
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A worth while read. Thanks for sharing! Common sense should rule the day, but unfortunately some reg.s need to be written to keep everyone in line, lest they throw common sense/golden rule out the window to chase the almighty dollar.

Posted on: 12/23 14:40


Re: Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?

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2006/11/20 10:08
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Jim K. is right about things being better in most places. However, run-off pollution from agribusiness around here has had deleterious effects on area streams, including the decimation of the sulphur hatches on several streams. Regulations have no helped with this, especially after the development of the miasma of liquid manure.

But, overall, I think things are better. We must remain vigilant.

Posted on: 12/23 15:34


Re: Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?

Joined:
2016/2/27 7:56
From Maryland
Posts: 30
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rrt is absolutely correct about agri-business runoff. Thanks for raising the point. Agriculture, in the modern era, is an industrial pursuit, but in the public eye all farms are seen as bucolic family operations, with red barns, white houses and the the longterm good of the land and society as important goals. Liquid manure never figures into such visions, but it is a reality of what it takes to raise food, so it should be considered.

Posted on: 12/26 15:22


Re: Straight Talk- Time to celebrate... or not?

Joined:
2010/3/29 6:56
From cambria county
Posts: 277
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I am dying for them to clean up the Little Conemaugh. It is on the list and ground breaking should be in the next few years or so. Mark my words if that stream gets cleaned up from Portage to Johnstown, it will be one of the best trout streams in the western side of the state.

I believe that the LC got skipped by another stream, but when it is clean, Both the LC and Trout run will be amazing fisheries.

Posted on: 12/26 15:27
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