One of many gems was that Silas Whitman of the Nez Perce Tribe participated in a few of the panel discussions. It was an honor to meet him and Leroy Seth at Redfish Lodge. It was a highlight for me to hear Silas speak about the tribe's reintroduction of coho into Idaho waters.
Anyone who follows this blog (and I have to ask, what is wrong with you?) know I have written on this subject and I do have a concern, but Silas's talk at Wild Idaho pretty much answered every question I had about the project and he put to rest most of my concerns. Actually all of my concerns that he could put to rest, he put to rest with his presentation.
I still am concerned that the success of taking a different population of fish from a different area and successfully reintroducing them here gives the "bad guys" so to speak, some ammunition I'd rather they not had when it comes to the constant attempts to chip away at the Endangered Species Act. I can envision the "bad guys" successfully arguing for the wanton extinction of a species in a certain drainage for a mine or some other non-permanent abomination that will create some small number of impermanent jobs that go about wrecking forever some spot on our planet. They might successfully argue that there are these kinds of whatever living over here and when we are done destroying this place we'll build a hatchery to make lots and lots of clones of these faraway fish to live right here in this place we've ruined. But simply because the bad guys are want to do something of that nature is not on the Nez Perce for restoring something that they never should have had taken away from them. So, once again, I say to the Nez Perce, thank you!!!
I left the conference early due to an illness in my family, but I really enjoyed listening to the panel discussions on Saturday. They were really inspiring and educational. I would have liked to have stayed around to hear the remaining discussions on Sunday, but I had to get home in case I had to book a flight.
I do regret not meeting the representative from the Yellowstone to the Yukon Conservation Initiative who was at the conference. This group aligns almost perfectly with my belief that nature deserves at least half of the land and water to be protected for biological diversity and to ensure ecological processes can continue. I believe only about 13-17 percent of the earth's land and water has been protected thus far, so there is a lot of work to be done. But this Yellowstone to the Yukon area is a shining example of what we need to do all around this planet. That is if anyone in this generation cares at all about future generations and the planet as we know it. So, go check out that organization.
I write about salmon here and salmon are a keystone species that affect 137 other species. That in itself shows you that biodiversity is incredibly important. I also know I spend a lot of time here taking about the breaching of four lower Snake River dams (because that is the single biggest action we can take for wild salmonids of the Snake River Basin, the home run, the grand slam). However, I do realize that the veritable plethora of things we need to do goes beyond hitting the grand slam and includes all those singles and walks we've got to take to get on base for nature in general. So if you haven't heard of the Yellowstone to the Yukon Conservation Initiative, take a look and ask what you can do for them.
While I am at it, ask what you can do for the Idaho Conservation League or the Nez Perce Tribe or Idaho Rivers United who are in the process of finding a new leader, or the Friends of the Clearwater or Defenders of Wildlife or Conservation International or Trout Unlimited or its new initiative Wild Steelheaders United or the Wilderness Society or the Sierra Club or your local group or just do something in your own life that helps keep this world intact for future generations.
Anyway, we've only got one world and one life, why waste them?