For the Cumberland Times-News
WASHINGTON — Trout Unlimited CEO Chris Wood said Tuesday that he recognizes the importance of a plan outlined by President Barack Obama that would take immediate action on climate change, a step toward reversing the negative trends impacting coldwater fisheries across the country.
“Trout Unlimited welcomes the president’s new focus on climate change. With predictions that up to 90 percent of the brook trout populations may disappear from southern Appalachian mountain streams, and possible loss of Western trout populations in excess of 60 percent, we clearly need to take immediate action to reduce climate change-causing emissions and recover nature's ability to withstand the predicted increases in flood, fire, and drought, all of which will increase according to climate models,” Wood said.
“We need to protect the most intact landscapes such as Bristol Bay, Alaska, the source of half the wild sockeye salmon in the world. We need to confront severe floods by reconnecting floodplains and building better road-stream crossings that hold up in a storm.
“We need to become more efficient and flexible in the way we use water as it becomes more scarce in prolonged droughts so that enough is available for people and fish. The good news is that decisive action to help nature withstand the effects of climate change is good for people, too. Protecting wilderness reduces downstream drinking water costs. Reconnecting floodplains reduces downstream flooding.
“Restoration of rivers and wetlands will supply tens of thousands of family wage jobs. We are pleased with the president’s announcement that the government will more aggressively pursue such opportunities to help both natural and human communities adapt to climate change. It is now time for action,” Wood concluded.