Conservation Programs for Which we Give Thanks

By Tom Keer

Nov 20, 2014

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as I’ve looked at the world around me I realize that I have a tremendous amount for which to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as I’ve looked at the world around me I realize that I have a tremendous amount for which to be thankful. One topic that seems to be very full is fisheries and habitat conservation. Let me share with you 3 projects east of the Mississippi that make our days on the water a whole lot more enjoyable.

Happy Trout and Steelhead

Huron Pines, a non-profit conservation organization focusing on improving water quality and habitat in Northeast Michigan is working in cooperation with a number of state and federal agencies to focus on sections of the 130 mile long Au Sable. The cooperative effort has removed 11 barriers that reconnected the main river with 35 upstream miles. 75 in-stream wooden structures increased habitat diversity, and there were 20 events and workshops to train and deploy volunteers. That’s just scratching the surface of the total work conducted, but the trout and steelhead are happy for sure. .

Steady Trout

In New Hampshire, another cooperative effort between the state’s Fish and Game, the state’s Department of Resources and Economic Development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Trout Unlimited, and the Eastern Brook Trout Venture is in place to restore the 15-mile Nash Stream in the Connecticut River watershed. A dam break in 1969 changed the stream’s contour by washing away pools, riffles and runs. A number of pools were created. Boulders and logs were strategically placed to create holding, feeding, and breeding grounds for brookies. The result is a more stable trout population than we’ve seen in the last half century.

More Walleye for All

How about enhancing the walleye fishery on the New River in Virginia? The 9-year, $300K project was 75% funded by Sport Fish Restoration. 74 miles of river above Claytor Lake received stockings with a New River strain of walleye. From 2002 to 2007 the number of walleye caught jumped from some 320 to 2,247. I can’t wait to see the new reports, but suspect it’s going to show even higher numbers.

Maybe we can’t be thankful for an ideal number of fishing days in 2014. Maybe work got in the way, or perhaps it was the big one got away. But because of the tireless work from a tremendous number of agencies all working together in a cooperative way there will be great habitat with lots of fish to catch the next time we hit the water. To all of those people I say thanks this Thanksgiving.

Learn more on conservation initiatives here.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at