Sunday, August 2, 2015

Brian Wagner: Fight to protect nation's waters isn't over

originally printed in the Morning Call July 31, 2015

Who among us was lucky enough as a child to have played with a toy boat in a little park brook or a neighborhood creek? We'd launch our craft and watch in wonder as the swirling currents washed it downstream. We'd chase along, pluck the toy from the water, run back upstream and set it adrift again.
Eventually, we might have let our boat keep going. As it disappeared we'd think, "It is going to a big river now." That is how our nation's waters work. They start small. And they grow. And what goes in upstream ends up downstream.
So when Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, the intent was to implement protections for the entire system. That's how it went for three decades, and the effects were striking. Our nation's rivers became healthier, and the loss of important wetlands decreased dramatically. And that's how things can go again now that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers have released a rule restoring protections of many of the wetlands and headwaters streams once covered by the Clean Water Act, but lost because of a pair of controversial Supreme Court rulings in the 2000s. The Waters of the United States rule, released on May 27, provides clear definitions of the waters protected by the Clean Water Act.

Irrigation systems, ponds and many ditches are specifically excluded, and the rule reaffirms existing exemptions for normal forestry, farming and ranching practices. This is great news for the 117 million Americans whose drinking water supplies are sourced from headwater streams, including some that run only intermittently or at certain times of the year.
And this is also great news for hunters and anglers, whose pursuits are inextricably tied to healthy woods and waters, and whose passions contribute mightily to our nation's economy. In Pennsylvania alone, recreational fishing results in annual trickle down economic impact of more than $850 million, according to an American Sportfishing Association analysis of data collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Growing up in Northampton County, I had the opportunity to fish in and hunt along my home waters, the Bushkill Creek and its tributaries. The Clean Water Act and the conservation movement that spawned its bipartisan support in 1972 had much to do with the cleanup and revival of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers. Sportsmen like me can again fish for American shad in the Delaware and trout in the Lehigh River. Today, no matter where in the country I find myself, whether it's a large river like the Yellowstone or my home waters in the Lehigh Valley, the quality of my fishing experience is directly linked to the quality of the waters upstream.
More than a million Americans provided comments to the proposed clean water rule after its proposal in 2014, and more than 80 percent of the comments supported restoring the common sense protections to our nation's important headwaters and wetlands. This isn't simply a matter of opinions. During the process the EPA released a 400-page, peer-reviewed report summarizing the science supporting the connection between America's small headwaters and its larger rivers. While the release of this rule is encouraging, the fight to protect our nation's waters isn't over.
Some industry groups waged a campaign against the proposal, and they continue to try to strike fear into landowners with false claims that the rule will affect normal use of private property. They have even managed to convince some members of Congress to fight the rule. Fending off that assault will fall to conscientious elected officials such as Pennsylvania's Sen. Bob Casey, who long has been an ally to the state's hunters and anglers and who can make a difference by showing that this is not about politics, but about science.
And that science is not only indisputable, it is not complicated. Waters start small. And they grow. And what goes in upstream ends up downstream.
Brian Wagner, who lives in Nazareth, is president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited.
Copyright © 2015, The Morning Call

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Hoppers


 Summer is a great time for fishing terrestrial flies. Here a blog dedicated to just that.

Friday, June 5, 2015

PBS 39 Focus segment feature TU and Fly Fishing on the Monocacy

originally posted on Broadhead TU
The PBS 39 series Focus featured a segment on fly-fishing in the Lehigh Valley with Erik Broesicke, President of the Monocacy Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Reporter Brittany Garzillo stepped onto the banks of the Monocacy Creek in Bethlehem for the Focus episode on outdoor activities.
The complete episode is embedded below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New Conservation Area

From the National Lands Trust website:
Camel's Hump FarmAnnouncing the Archibald Johnston Preserve Conservation Teamwork Results in a New Nature Preserve in Northampton County.  Natural Lands Trust, a regional land conservation organization, and the Friends of Johnston, Inc., a non-profit organization formed to preserve the Johnston Estate, are pleased to announce the creation of the Archibald Johnston Preserve. The Archibald Johnston Preserve was established last month when Natural Lands Trust purchased 18 acres of land that was once the estate of Amanda J. Leckonby, granddaughter of Archibald Johnston who served as the first mayor of the City of Bethlehem. Friends of Johnston, Inc. purchased an adjacent 3.4 acres known as Camel’s Hump Farm, and Natural Lands Trust expects to acquire an additional 26-acre parcel—currently owned by the Central Moravian Church and under agreement of sale with the conservation organization—this summer. These lands, combined with the existing Archibald Johnston Conservation Area—owned by Northampton County—and Bethlehem Township’s Housenick Park, will offer more than 150 acres of contiguous conserved land for the community. The Friends of Johnston, Inc. will restore and manage the land with volunteer manpower and expert guidance from Natural Lands Trust. Over the next several years, they expect to convert the farm fields to native wildflower meadows, improve the forested buffer along Monocacy Creek, establish community gardens, and develop trails to link and unite the multiple parcels that make up the new Preserve. “The Archibald Johnston Preserve was established through determination, perseverance, and partnership,” said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust. “The next chapter in this magnificent property is an exciting one as we support Friends of Johnston in their work to preserve 250 years of Bethlehem history. I would also like to thank Wildlands Conservancy for their agreement to partner with us as we develop the preserve into a public amenity.” “The Friends of Johnston is extremely thankful to all those who have worked so hard to preserve this important estate,” said Vicky Bastidas, President of Friends of Johnston, Inc. “We are eagerly looking forward to working with Natural Lands Trust and the community to restore the landscape, open the preserve to the public, and develop programs that will benefit everyone.” Key partners for this project include Northampton County—21st Century Open Space Initiative, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources—Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund Act, and Wildlands Conservancy. - See more at:
 Preserved forever!

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley"

Step Outdoors Lehigh Valley Presented by Lehigh Valley Zoo May 30-31 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday SteelStacks, Bethlehem, PA Experience this free family festival focused on all things outdoors. Step Outdoors will feature more than 30 different conservation, outdoors and wildlife groups coming together for two days filled with hands-on activities, presentations and outdoors experiences designed to introduce you to the region’s great outdoor pursuits and the natural world. Enjoy urban hikes, cycling, birding walks, trips to see peregrine falcons at Sands Bethlehem and live animal presentations, plus learn to cast a fly rod, try your hand at archery, sample creative cuisine made with insects, and so much more. For complete details, visit

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


It's what's for dinner:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Schedule reminder

This Saturday ( April 25th) will be our annual Stream Clean up.  We will meet in the main parking lot of Illick's Mill park at 9am and work until about noon.  This is a great chance to get things looking nice after the long winter and two opening days.

On  Tuesday  April 28th we will be meeting at the Pavilion in Illick's Mill Park for our first "Bugs and Dogs" event, which will feature an intro to stream bug ID and Hot Dogs.  Join us and bring a small dish to pass if you like.  Meeting will start @ 6pm and will end at dusk at the latest.

Thanks, hope to see you there.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Film Tour a HUGE success

A gigantic "Thank you!" to everyone that came out and supported the Fly Fishing Film Tour Event this past Wednesday.  To say it was a success would be an understatement, as we SOLD OUT the 200 seat theater on our first try at having the Film Tour here.  I think this just goes to show that there is a ton of passion for fishing and fly fishing in the Lehigh Valley.  A special thanks to the good people at ArtsQuest, and to our guest fly tier Jerry Hadden. Without their help, this would not have been possible, and they did a great job of making the event run smoothly and professionally.  Thanks again for coming out and thanks to everyone who helped make this a huge success.

-Monocacy Chapter TU