13 September 2007

Ted Williams: Can We Save the Grayling?

Folks who care about Big Hole River grayling will want to read the article by conservationist and author Ted Williams in the November/December 2007 issue of Fly Rod & Reel. Williams is a fine writer, and I first became aware of his work in the essay, "Paying for It," in the collection, A Hunter's Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport (1996). Williams is a brutally honest, "take no prisoners," writer and conservationist who has no patience for wildlife groups that make unholy alliances with (or sell out to) those who cause environmental harm.

The new article is "Who Needs Grayling? A special fish struggles to hang on in the Lower 48." Williams describes his own deep relationship with and fondness for grayling, writing "Clearly God had made it last, after he'd practiced on all the other fishes." He then recounts the history of Big Hole River grayling and the Endangered Species Act, a process that culminates in the bad decision of evil Julie McDonald not to list them, thanks to her "brazen political meddling." He concludes by reviewing current efforts to save the last few precious grayling, including a trenchant quote from Jon Marvel, director of the Western Watersheds Project: "Livestock production is the culture of death and extinction in the arid West."

Surprisingly, the Big Hole Watershed Committee is not mentioned as playing a role in current efforts to recover the fish. Perhaps this is an indication that the group has simply become irrelevant.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Fly Rod & Reel and read this article. It is sure to set off a firestorm of comment. And be sure to check out Ted Williams' "Conservation Blog" at http://magazine.flyrodreel.com/index.php/page/blog.

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