Northwest Fly Fishing

Blue Creek Needs Your Help

Have you fished the famous waters of the American West? Have you tempted native cutthroat trout in Montana, outwitted spring-creek rainbows in Idaho, swung flies for steelhead in Oregon?
   Whether you live near the storied waters of the West or travel from afar to immerse yourself in their splendor, I’m sure you realize that, without the hard work of and diligent stewardship by conservationists, anglers, fisheries managers, and many others, the wild salmonids of the West could hardly hope to thrive in the face of the ever-present threat of extractive industry. And never were they in such peril as during the heyday of barely regulated natural resource extraction in decades gone by.
   So environmentally devastating was logging and mining and development in the West between the late 19th century and the middle of the 20th century that today we continue to mitigate those damages. Simultaneously, we fight for environmentally conscientious decisions and strategies for extractive industry and land development. In both of these arenas, a variety of conservation organizations expend considerable manpower and money—and they rely on individuals like you and me for the resources they need to help the fish and fisheries that define the West to thrive and prosper as components of intact habitats. Nowhere is this more apparent than on a scenic little tributary of California’s Klamath River—a river whose steelhead and salmon fisheries were unlocked by the vanguard generation of Western anglers at the very time her dense forests were being devastated by a then-burgeoning California timber industry.
   
That beautiful little feeder stream is called Blue Creek, and one of the nation’s most accomplished and uncontroversial conservation groups, Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), is in the final phase of creating a cold-water anadromous fish sanctuary at Blue Creek, in the heart of the California redwoods. Blue Creek is a vital cold-water tributary to the Klamath, 16 miles upstream from the river’s mouth. It’s the first source of cold water that salmon and steelhead encounter on their migration inland. Without the refuge it provides from the warming waters of the Klamath, most summer- and fall-run fish would never make it to the upper Klamath to spawn.
   To fund this $60 million project, WRC has tapped an array of innovative funding sources and raised all but $15 million. To raise $5 million of that final amount, WRC has turned to crowdfunding. To support this effort, make your contribution before December 31 at www.savebluecreek.com. This is one of the most important conservation projects in the West today.

 

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