Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taos news article...

Taosenos are truly blessed to have as much pristine wilderness as we do.  Here in the Sangre De Christo’s, the Truchas Peaks and the San Juan’s to our west, unspoiled trout streams, rivers and lakes hold wild trout. And some of these places still shelter Rio Grande Cutthroats, which have been here long before there were fishermen to catch them.
                We have other places, too.  Places where civilization has not been so gentle.  Most of our streams and rivers have felt the effects of man-kind. Some still maintain healthy fisheries, like the Rio Grande, for example. Others have been devastated. 
                The Red River is an example of the latter.  While there is still good fishing on the upper and lower sections, the middle stretch from Questa to the village of Red River, is almost completely void of fish.  The entire length of the Red was the focus of a two day conference in Red River last week. Experts gave presentations on everything from water quality to economic impacts to acequia use.  Progress was made, and for the first time since the Red was declared a “superfund” site, members from many different stakeholder groups were able to discuss a plan for restoration. 
                The Enchanted Circle chapter of Trout Unlimited (ECTU), which co-sponsored the event, hosted their annual banquet at the symposium and John Nichols was the keynote speaker.  John stole the show, and provided much needed comic relief.  The banquet is the annual fundraiser for ECTU, and funds raised at the event help the chapter in their conservation and outreach programs. 
                But more help is needed.  ECTU needs more members and volunteers.  Now is a time that we can be instrumental in the health of the waters we call our own.  Projects like the Red River restoration, Rio Grande Cutthroat re-introduction, habitat improvement, and river clean-ups benefit us all.  We owe it to our children to protect our natural resources.  And fishing is a huge economic driver in the area, and more money in our local economy is just one of the perks of having healthy trout streams.
                ECTU also helps to support noble outreach programs like Casting for Recovery, Project Healing waters and Fish Fiestas for kids.  Casting for recovery in particular has been very successful and gives breast cancer patients and survivors a chance to leave their worries behind in a weekend retreat that offers both counseling and fly fishing.  Project Healing Waters is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing. 
                Whether it is a healthy mountain stream needing protection, a river in need of restoration, or person in need of some fly fishing, ECTU is on the job.  Go to www.tu.org to join the cause.

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