Saving Our Waters
Over the years I've seen some amazing conservation work make a huge difference in the quality of fisheries and riparian habitats. A famous stream in Utah comes to mind. A large government funded bio engineering project that is still maturing has added many additional river miles, public access, habitat types, and lots more healthy trout. Unfortunately, during that same time, I've seen several other places effectively lost as far as quality fishing and healthy ecosystems are concerned. Development, over zealous grazing practices, water use issues, and overuse from an increasing population will continue to encroach on wild areas especially fisheries and the precious resources like water and watersheds that keep these areas alive.
I think the recent economic nose dive is, if nothing else, at least educating us about the dangers of excessive consumerism and the need to save for rainy days. As anglers we can't just be consumers of our fishing environments. We have to be conservationists too if we want to remain anglers or if we want to catch any fish when we go out in days to come.
One of the best things to do is to get involved locally first. Find a fishery or wild place that actually matters to you personally and is close enough to really watch the effects of conservation and start there. Look to your local fly fishing clubs for ideas or programs to get involved with. Most of those clubs are also affiliated with national organizations like Trout Unlimited or the Federation of Fly Fishers that also do great conservation work on a larger scale. If your area doesn't have a club then start one or figure out other groups that can get things done. Working on your own is a last resort. Groups just have more muscle.
If time is an issue then donate funds. If funds are an issue donate time and hard work. I promise that when you catch a fish in a place you helped to preserve he will feel 5 pounds heavier and who knows he may even be 5 pounds heavier if you do really good conservation work.