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Humans Have Ruined so Much


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#1 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 23 March 2015 - 12:38 PM

To paraphrase someone from the rough fish forum "We live in PA, the land of trout where no other fish matters". I'll make one correction, the PFBC cares about Black Bass as well but that's the extent of what fish they're the most focused on. Mainly trout with some bass thrown in. I for one am getting fed up with the PFBC stocking our creeks with non native rainbow and brown trout what seems to be up to half a dozen times a year on occasion. I'm also tired of my township overusing street salt for an inch of snow but there is little I can do about that. This is why half of my local creeks have incredibly low biodiversity. People stock non native trout which consume many species, people use to much salt which goes into the creek and kills sensitive species, and people used to mine to much causing acid mine drainage also killing fish. If you'll notice, all three of these things stem back to human involvement! I can only dream about if the PFBC when it got started realized how many native fish there are in our creek that make for great sport like native Brook Trout and Creek Chubs. Maybe if they realized that these fish didn't need stocked and they could reproduce fine on their own if we harvested responsibly, then maybe there'd still be diverse streams around me with schools of Striped Shiners and wandering Bluebreast Darters living in them. People don't realize how much they've destroyed our aquatic ecosystems over the years. If this keeps up I fear that in a few decades creeks will only contain Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and Blacknose Dace. And that lakes will only have Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, and Fathead Minnows. Maybe that's okay for the average angler but it's my dream to someday see the waterways of this state and maybe if I'm lucky, this country, be as biodiverse and healthy as they were before humans walked the earth.

Maybe I'm a hypocrite, because I still help with at least one trout stocking every year, or maybe it's from being raised by a grandfather who is an all around trout fanatic who taught me they are the only fish worth fishing for for my entire life. But this year starts a new trend for me. I'll still help stock but I'm going to be keeping many more fish this year to keep the streams clean of non natives, so on a side note if anyone knows any good recipes for rainbow and or brown trout please let me know.

Back to what I was originally talking about, I'm glad to see there's at least a few groups of people out there (NANFA being the most major from what I've seen) who still care about the fish that may not taste good of fight well at the end of a rod. I often see people who keep tropical fish constantly talking about how terrible all the dams in South America, particularly the one being built on the Rio Xingu. However, many of these people live in the US and are completely unaware of how poorly our aquatic habitats are being treated. This stems back to the fact that not enough people keep native fish, because most of the people who take an interest in a certain kind of fish will take the time to learn about the area that fish is from and the problems it faces. My area's primary ongoing problem at the present is hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") which not only pollutes the ground water from toxins leaching out through the pipe, it also requires millions of gallons of water per fracture which is taken from whatever creeks are around the drilling site. This is just like global warming in the sense that many people claim that "you can't prove that it's hurting anything" while there is evidence of it's damage everywhere! My local diving quarry almost got closed because it was very close to the site of where they almost (but eventually they didn't do it) started another fracking site which I can almost guarantee would've wiped out the healthy population of trophy fish of various species in that quarry.

We as members of this association need to make our best efforts to educate the public about out wonderful native fish and stop the atrocities that plague our waterways. Many are unwilling to change but if I could change the mind of one person, I'd feel like I accomplished something. I'm sure many people who read this feel the same as I do so thank you if you stuck around for this thread and took the time to read my rambling.

-Sean Phillips
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#2 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 24 March 2015 - 09:02 AM

Sean,

 

I read it.  You make some great points, but we can also argue the other side just as easy.  Without Trout money, our F&W depts lose a lot of income and would make cuts in other areas, like stream restoration, or educational programs.  Some people care about catch Trout, not shiners or darters.  That's their passion, and that's ok too.

 

I'm from SE Kentucky where deep mining, strip mining, damming and fracking is prevalent.  I'm totally against strip mining (mountain-top removal), but I'm not against mining.  I'm not a hypocrite about it, because I use the electricity that coal provides and KY has some of the lowest energy rates in the U.S.  We do need to find a balance for our energy needs and the environment.  I do agree with your points about people becoming interested in the fish once they know about them.  I don't think they have to keep natives at home, but just know about them, be educated.  Since becoming the KY Rep, my focus is on outreach.  I try to show people the native fish in our waters, so they will care.

 

But, if it wasn't for Humans, you wouldn't be able to rant...


Josh Blaylock - Central KY
NANFA on Facebook - NANFA on YouTube - NANFA on Google+

KYCREEKS - KRWW - KWA



I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861


#3 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 24 March 2015 - 09:30 AM

I'm proud of you Josh. Your opinion expressed above is clear and compelling.

That's one of the things I love about NANFA. We believe in protecting the fishes for the people not just from the people.

It's harder to do, but it is worth it.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 24 March 2015 - 09:44 AM

From your posts Sean, it seems to me that you are drawing conclusions without enough data. A few creeks with with low species diversity is not enough to draw all of these conclusions. Right next door in Ohio, we are seeing range expansion of quite a few sensitive species.

 

 Humans have had a very significant impact, but some impact is unavoidable. As far as the trout go, not every PA stream is stocked with trout. I am not sure how much damage they do anyway.  Road salt is somewhat unavoidable, and fossil fuels are going to continue to be used. I am not a fan of some of the methods of harvesting these fuels, but still see the need for the fuels themselves.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#5 smbass

smbass
  • Board of Directors

Posted 24 March 2015 - 09:51 AM

Josh is exactly correct! There absolutely has to be a balance. You can never expect to go back to pre human influence but you can certainly expect people to try to come to a balance with nature where it is used but not destroyed. I personally think we (as the human race) have made drastic improvements in the US over the past 30-40 years. For my work I see the changes in fish communities over time and many have shown great improvements. Many people working with fish in Ohio feel that today is the "good old days" because we have healthier fish communities now than what were ever recorded in the past. Recorded is the key word there because we all know that if records existed pre European Invasion of North America it probably was better, but those times are long gone and in most cases we don't even have a clue what the darter community of a certain stream looked like back then, but we do know it is dramatically better now than it was 30-40 years ago. Not everything is perfect by any means and not all species are improving but there is cause for hope, it is not all doom and gloom. There are lots of examples of where if humans do things with some care for the environment and seek to strike that balance lots of good can come from it. Doing outreach to help people appreciate their surrounding natural environments and what lives in them so they have a desire to seek that balance is by far the way to go. Ranting and raving will get you nowhere and will just turn people off and make them think your crazy.


Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#6 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 24 March 2015 - 11:29 AM

I think Sean is a new guy to native fishes and this is naturally opening his eyes to some things and he is understandably shocked. I think we have all been there. But it's not a place worthing staying.

I feel your rant. Now how can we show people what they can do to help. That's where the stream cleanups and the fish tanks by the kayak stops and even keeping your aquarium at home clean and beautiful can help. Show folks what's out there and they will respect it just a little bit more.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#7 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:08 PM

Everyone commenting here has the right idea. For a long time I looked at conservation of any kind as a losing battle. My goals were always "stop this..." or "end that..", but when that is your focus, you lose a lot of the wonder and happiness that first made these beatiful waters and species so appealing. When I was stuck in this mindset, I lost sight of my roots. Today, my goal is to make one more person appreciate that dogfish they were always told didn't belong in the river, or to spark that little flame of intrigue in a child that will hopefully burst into a raging fire of thirst for knowledge. Constructive goals will get you so much further, I promise.
3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#8 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:41 PM

Ok now I am proud of you too. Although I was ready impressed when you were at the convention.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#9 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 24 March 2015 - 02:39 PM

The really interesting thing about how Sean feels, is that when I was his age, I felt exactly the same. I had grown up with a love of nature, and was simply appalled at what humans were doing to it. At 18 years old, I almost wished for a plague of biblical proportion. As I have aged, I have softened in my views. Humans are here. We are here until we destroy ourselves at least. I kind of miss that zest that I used to have, but have traded it in for a bit more reality. We can only do what we can with what we have to work with. Going back to pre-European times are not likely. But Like Brian said things are better than they were 20 years ago. It is a step in the right direction. A step that does not happen in the span of a year, but more in decades, so after being involved heavily in native fish for over a decade, and an angler prior, you do start to see the positives. Ohio is doing quite well. Could it be better, sure, but I am happy to see the range expansions. It does not hurt to live in the state and know Brian. I am pretty well filled in on these happenings.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#10 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 24 March 2015 - 05:56 PM

Thank you, Michael. It means a lot. I plan to make it out to Oklahoma, hope to see you there. 

 

Matt, I totally agree. Even though I am still quite young, I can look back and see my extremism wane. Being a teenager, my amygdala is still far more developed than my frontal lobe, so I do still get fired up over things. A great example would be the frac sand mining ban that was just lifted in my county. When it first happened, I was quite upset. As time went on, however, I realized that my best option is to show the land owners in the area what they have to protect and hopefully encourage them not to let companies use their land for their operation. As I said before, you have to look for the positives you can accomplish rather than the negatives you must destroy.


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#11 dmarkley

dmarkley
  • NANFA Member
  • Lower Susquehanna River

Posted 25 March 2015 - 09:27 AM

I have similar views to Sean regarding non-native trout in PA.  One thing I've noticed just in the past 2-3 years is the PF&BC is now referring to waters with "native brown trout".  I actually mentioned this to an officer I ran into last summer and he had no idea that Brown Trout were not native to PA.

 

But I also understand that trout sells licenses.  It would just be nice if the PF&BC would focus a bit more on other species.

 

Dean


Susquehanna River Drainage

#12 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 25 March 2015 - 10:53 AM

I am admiring views expressed on this subject.  Many, if not all are well written.  Compliments to all.


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#13 FirstChAoS

FirstChAoS
  • Regional Rep

Posted 25 March 2015 - 11:15 AM

It upsets me now. When I was younger (late high school to early college) and new to the freedom of driving (got my licence a bit later than most due to not being able to learn with the school instructor who made me nervous with his yelling) I was at a point where I was new to knowing the dangers of stocking but not quite aware how moving fish I wrongly assumed as native could be damaging I often caught fish from one pond and put them in a fire pond. At the same time I sometimes got on fish and games case for damaging lake sunapee by stocking lake trout and causing extinction. It took a few more years of learning of fish (especially from the book History of Fishing in New Hampshire which focused on environmental impact of habitat change, dams, and species introduction) to show me how wrong I was. I still regret to say that one fire pond no longer has little brook trout in it, and I worry me adding a smallmouth bass back when I didn't know better was to blame.

 

Everyone commenting here has the right idea. For a long time I looked at conservation of any kind as a losing battle. My goals were always "stop this..." or "end that..", but when that is your focus, you lose a lot of the wonder and happiness that first made these beatiful waters and species so appealing. When I was stuck in this mindset, I lost sight of my roots. Today, my goal is to make one more person appreciate that dogfish they were always told didn't belong in the river, or to spark that little flame of intrigue in a child that will hopefully burst into a raging fire of thirst for knowledge. Constructive goals will get you so much further, I promise.

 

But dogfish don't belong in rivers. Bowfin do. :)



#14 predatorkeeper87

predatorkeeper87
  • NANFA Guest
  • pennsylvania

Posted 15 May 2015 - 09:37 AM

To quote a professor I both hated and respected:

"I used to worry about the environment every day, to the point of having to take anxiety meds just to be able to get up and teach this class, then as I looked around I began to realize something.  Humans are here and I can't change that, but humans have been around for thousands of years, and have been causing harm and destruction to the world since their inception.  I also realized that the world has survived far more catastrophic events than that of the human race, and yet it kept on doing worldly things.  I no longer worry about the impact we have on this planet because after we humans destroy ourselves, because we really are just that stupid, the world will continue on doing worldly things."-Professor Burkhart

 

That stuck with me because its 100% truth.  We will ultimately destroy ourselves as a species of that I have no doubt.  The world however will continue on, new species will emerge, new plants will grow, but ultimately the world will find a way to correct the damage we do no matter how much we do of it.  As a conservationist, you can do you part to better your experience of this world and help others do the same, but don't lose sleep over what other selfish people are doing because even if you could stop it for even a brief time there will always be another like-minded person to take their place.  The world is a far stronger place than most give it credit.  To also quote my favorite movie of all time, Jurassic Park, "Life will find a way."



#15 don212

don212
  • NANFA Member

Posted 15 May 2015 - 10:40 AM

trout are beautiful fish and diverse in their own group, people love them , they feed us and wildlife, they inspire poetry, but there are many other wonderful things in gods creation, for us to discover. love it all, and honor your upbringing by continuing to responsibly fish, but advocate to keep fish where they belong, i have seen rainbows stocked , causing the demise of local brookies, lakes poisoned to eliminate northern pike and stock trout, etc. we need to educate people to the worth of each species. ie, take a trout guy out to hook into a 12 pound pike, and see if he still wants to eliminate them. or, what's in the bucket? a male golden topminnow i just caught, isn't he beautiful, he eats mosquitos, and attracts  egrets to this little pond.





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