- The Tongass 77, a legislative proposal to conserve some of the most high-value salmon habitat in Southeast Alaska, is featured in a new story published today in Indian Country Today Media Network. As Brad Elfers, owner of Alaska Fly Fishing Goods, notes in the story, “it’s way easier to preserve an intact watershed than try to fix a broken one.” That’s what the Tongass 77 is all about and it’s why a growing number of people who care about salmon are calling on Congress to introduce and enact the proposal as law.
Here are some excerpts from the article:A number of groups are working hard to ensure that old mistakes get remedied and new ones aren’t made. Trout Unlimited has taken a lead on the long term, involving forest streams and rivers used for spawning.
“The Tongass Forest is THE salmon forest, a huge fish factory, and if managed correctly, it will continue to thrive for future generations,” said Trout Unlimited Alaska spokeswoman Paula Dobbyn. Fish and Game officials project that 132 million salmon will be caught throughout the state in 2014, with a huge portion harvested from waters surrounding Tongass trees. And a healthy forest ensures a healthy fish population.
“Two-thirds of Tongass salmon and trout habitat is not congressionally protected at watershed scale—it’s still open to development activities that could harm fish,” said Tim Bristol, Trout Unlimited’s Alaska program director. “Our concern, beyond that of the environment, revolves around a healthy fisheries industry and it’s time for Congress to better protect that forest’s richest resource—wild salmon.”
Read the full story.