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National Sporting Library, Middleburg, VA
A historian of fly fishing, researching the story of coldwater conservation in North America
Interests: Fly fishing (obviously), history, conservation, stewardship, environmental education, camping, skiing, gardening, cooking, good food, good beer, good friends, hanging with my beautiful wife Liz, and all that!
Recent Activity
Note: This was previously publishsed on the TU Blog In many ways fly fishers and trout enthusiasts are streamside scientists. Fly fishing at its heart requires basic streamside ecological knowledge. Beyond helping one pursue fishing more effectively, streamside ecology leads anglers to speak up for their favorite backyard streams or the places on the fly fishing bucket list, such as Bristol Bay, Alaska. Because of that intricate relationship between fishing, science and conservation, Trout Unlimited places science at the heart of its mission and strives to apply "the very best information and thinking available" when addressing conservation issues related to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at Headwaters
If you've been living under a rock over the past few years, you've missed that EPA has been undergoing one of the most rigorous and greatest book report projects on the planet: An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska. Well after one round of public listening sessions, two rounds of peer review, two rounds of public comment, in which nearly 1 million comments were submitted to EPA asking them to use their authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay, EPA is due to release the final version of this Assessment any... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2014 at Headwaters
In case you want to raise a toast to the man, Garden and Gun Magaizne suggestsa pitcher of his Josie Russel Cocktail. From To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion The recipe for this drink came from Ernest Hemingway's fishing log handwritten in June of 1933, where its ingredients were listed under the simple heading “Cocktail.” The name pays tribute to Joe “Josie Grunts” Russell, a close friend of Hemingway’s who ran liquor from Cuba to Florida during Prohibition and, immediately following its repeal, opened Key West mainstay Sloppy Joe’s. Hemingway was fishing on Russell’s boat when he... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2013 at Headwaters
One of the most compelling dimensions of the story on the battle lines of Pebble is the diverse coalition of stakeholders banding together to fight a common enemy. Anyone not familiar with their histories might not realize that in many ways commercial fishermen, Alaska Natives, and sportsmen have historically been largely at odds with each other, but have found a unified voice in recent years. Personally, I have wondered how this collaboration is sustained beyond the battle lines for the good of the region, its stakeholders, and the fishery. One small effort is the Bristol Bay River Academy, which I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2013 at Headwaters
The chief executive of Pebble LP predicts the gold and cooper deposit in Alaska's Bristol Bay region will be developed eventually, but whether it will happen under his tenure remains uncertain. "I think there is some confidence that this is a project that someday will go," John Shively said today in an interview. "And I actually believe that someday this mine will be developed," he added, referring to the southwestern Alaska site's 107.4 million ounces of gold, 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum and more than 80 billion pounds of copper. . . . Then he ends with this gem: "Are... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2013 at Headwaters
. . we have yet to make up our mind about the project. That is the common languge from groups being played as the mouth piece for the Pebble project. I don't know anything about the family in the picture, but I do know that Nuna Resources is a wholly owned ('non-profit') subsidiary of the Pebble Limited Partnership. While there are numerous ways to dissect and critique this ad, but the sum of it is: the no position argument is most certainly a position in favor of the project. Let's be honest here. This ad is running in DC press... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2013 at Headwaters
. . . then I should tell you what is in the Watershed Assessment. Here is my summary of the 2nd Draft EPA Assessment. In its revised watershed assessment, EPA clarifies risks to Bristol Bay’s watershed from proposed large-scale mining, especially the Pebble Deposit. Not only did EPA clearly respond to concerns of the peer review, but they also took seriously the comments from independent experts who commented on the first draft of the watershed assessment. In this second draft, EPA draws from a range of resources – from independent peer reviewed science to Environmental Baseline Data released by the... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2013 at Headwaters
OK, I'll admit I've been in blogger retirement of sorts, not that it was ever a career. But I am pissed off, so I'm coming out retirement if only for a post or two, who knows maybe it will become habit again. Look folks, I know there is Pebble Mine fatigue. It has been going on endlessly for about 8 years and really picked up steam as of late.Fly fishing blogs are constantly ranting about it. News media, especially in Alaska, remain saturated with the topic. Social media remains abuzz, espcially lately. You've probably signed petitions, online comments, etc ad... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2013 at Headwaters
I will have a thorough write up on my two weeks listening to Pebble's presentations and the critiques offered by the panelists in teh keystone process/meetings shortly (I have 80 pages of notes). But this is worth getting out there now: ISER Researcher Criticizes Pebble Data, Shively Shrugs Off Concerns of Hunters and Sport Fishermen ANCHORAGE – Week 2 of the Keystone Center’s process on Pebble Mine wrapped up this afternoon in Anchorage, capped by an incisive appraisal from a researcher at the well-respected UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research. Steve Colt, a Professor of Economics with ISER, had... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2012 at Headwaters
I know it raised a lot of hackles with the Boulder Fly Casters thought to host the Keystone Center. They caught some flack, and frankly for good reason. In this debate there is no compromise. And, no matter the potential good intentions of Keystone, they are being played as pawns in this debate. But recent instances and admissions make it clear that Keystone is a willing particpant in said shenanigans by the Pebble Parthership to confuse the public and try to greenwash their terrible project. In case you missed it, Keystone kicked Dr. Dan Schindler, one of the leading experts... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2012 at Headwaters
I've owed this post for a few weeks, to say the least. I don't owe it because he's family, though that makes it all the more special. I owe the post, because, well the rods are fantastic and I am proud that my cousin Ben has finally launched the effort to make his hobby a bit more than a hobby. It is a pleasure to fish with rods that have come from his shop. He's one of my best fishing partners - we've fished from GA to NY, from CO to AK together, and it's always been an adventure. Flat... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2012 at Headwaters
Listen up folks, I know you are tired of hearing about it. Unfortunately, you'll keep hearing about it until we win this thing. And opportunities are within relative sight these days for some substantial victories in this fight against Pebble. We clearly have the eye of the EPA and well, suffice it to say, it is clear from the watershed assessment that they are concerned. And, the panel that peer reviewed the Watershed Assessment, expressed some heavy concern too. Sure they noted the Assessment needed more info such as that "official" mine plan that Pebble is sitting on. But, when... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2012 at Headwaters
If you've followed this blog, or read back through the archives, you'd know that Haig-Brown is one of my all time heroes. I didn't grow up steelheading or in the Pacific Northwest, but just as Aldo Leopold's land ethics spoke to me at an early age, so do did Haig-Brown and his writings which embody a water ethic akin to Leopold's land ethics. These two film shorts are worth a watch. I don't normally do reposts, but found these on the Chum. The film was put together by Canada's National Film Board to highlight Roderick Haig-Brown and the natural beauty... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2012 at Headwaters
In one breath he threatens to sue the EPA and lambastes them for meddling in Aaska's affairs regarding their investigation into the potentially unacceptable adverse impacts Pebble might have on Bristol Bay's legendary fishery. Yet, in the next breath, he turns and pleads with the EPA to help clean up leftovers from mercury mining not too terribly far from the Pebble deposit. Yes, the Red Devil mine is technically in the Kuskokwim drainage, but it's not too far from the Pebble deposit as a crow flies. Alaska Asks for EPA Help Typical, Alaskan, typical states-rights, nonsense. You can't have it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2012 at Headwaters
So, was said to wood boat builder and legend Jerry Briggs when he pondered switching to aluminum boats from building wood boats, especially for his Grand Canyon Dories. He pondered the switch because of the difficuly and labor intensive nature of wood boats. But, like with all things in fly fishing or river loving, there is something to the hands on nature of wood boats. I ventured into the foray of wood boats this year, a reality that pulled me from blogging in the evening to sanding and restoring a boat that I bought off of craigslist. In a sense,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2012 at Headwaters
This is admitedly a non fishing post. But, one perhaps the male anglers out there might want to pay attention to, lest you need a gift for your the lady in your life. Perhaps you've been on the water a lot and a nice gift would go a long way toward earning a few more days on the water. Or, for you lady anglers out there - perhaps you might find some stylish goods here you'd like in your life off the river. Or, perhaps we can collectively urge my sister ( the subject of this blog post) to work... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2012 at Headwaters
Ok, so the blogging has been sparce, but that is in part because I've been bustin tail on this whole EPA Watershed Assessment of Pebble's potential impacts on Bristol Bay thing. If you need reminders, well go look at facebook or the previous posts on Headwaters. Today is the last day to comment to the EPA. So do it. Seriously, get off this blog and do so. According to the EPA, Preferred method:Submit them online at Follow the online instructions for submitting comments to Docket # EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-0276. Send an email to Include Docket # EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-0276 in the subject... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2012 at Headwaters
As a part of EPA's process around its Watershed Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska they toured the NW, AK, and most importantly Bristol Bay holding community forums to hear testimony on their assessment and the impacts of mines like Pebble Mine on Bristol Bay. In Seattle, there were roughly 80 testimonials given by Alaska Natives, Commercial Fishermen, and fly fishing industry leaders among others. Of those 80, only about 8 were pro-Pebble. Anchorage, well we drew an even split. About 50/50. 1000 people there, they took about 107 testimonies. Even split. Not bad... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2012 at Headwaters
. . . a new video from the Renewable Resources Foundation: Bristol Bay Treasure from Renewable Resources Foundation on Vimeo. Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2012 at Headwaters
Credit: Schnitzer Photo This was the second year I've been lucky to play a supporting role and the fourth year of the program altogether and I couldn't be prouder of the group. The program? The Bristol Bay River Academy. The Goal? Train local Bristol Bay youth to fly fish, teach them some inside tips on getting into the guiding business and start getting some locals guiding their own waters. No offense to all the great guides in Bristol Bay who are from the lower 48, but if we are saying no to that mine called Pebble, then we need to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2012 at Headwaters
If you are not fishing right now and you are reading this blog, well then you have time on your hands. Instead of reading this blog, you should spend that time doing something productive. Since you are here, however, let me provide some guidance as to what that productive activity is – help us protect Bristol Bay. In case you’ve been living under a rock the size of the Pebble Deposit, you know full well that folks have been screaming for some time about Pebble Mine and its potential impacts on Bristol Bay. Well someone has finally listened: United States... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2012 at Headwaters
They've probably been at our sides since the dawn of angling. So many of us have them and they work their way into our hearts for different reasons. Some fishing dogs love the sight of a rishing fish, or want to run and help you land a fish on the line. Others are steadfast companions never leaving the angler's side. Well, here is a toast cheers to my beloved fishing dog Baylee. After 13 good years, she left us last night. Baylee was, in my mind, the greatest dog ever. She was a mix between golden retriever and springer spaniel.... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2012 at Headwaters
Our View: From the Anchorage Daily News Editorial Board The Environmental Protection Agency's draft assessment on potential mining impacts in the Bristol Bay watershed concluded what common sense already told us -- mining a prospect like Pebble likely will kill some salmon habitat, even without an event like the catastrophic failure of a tailings dam. Gov. Sean Parnell and Sen. Lisa Murkowski have said they won't trade fish for minerals. At the same time, Parnell, Murkowski and Sen. Mark Begich are skeptical of the EPA and absolutely oppose any invoking of Clean Water Act provisions to stop the mine before... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2012 at Headwaters