Thanks to Sera Zegre for including us in the following Acid Mine Remediation Report that was recently presented before the Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Board.
On behalf of all of us at Downstream Strategies, I want to thank you for your participation in our study, and inform you that Downstream Strategies has released the report: The Benefits of Acid Mine Drainage Remediation on the North Branch Potomac River. You have each provided invaluable assistance with the study context and our survey.
Quotes that were featured in the study follow:
An opportunity exists for the State…to protect waters of the state by continuing remediation efforts at the current level.
A few outfitters also expressed concerned about visitors’ perception of the river and how that relates to business. Theaux Le Gardeur of Backwater Angler said,
If they get spooked over [water quality]…if the dosers are not in operation and the fisheries decline…they’ll go elsewhere.
Theaux Le Gardeur of Backwater Angler spoke to broader economic losses if remediation stopped:
If remediation on the Potomac River efforts are halted, the loss in income formerly derived from a viable and well-recognized fishery (not to mention a certain loss in out of state license fees from these residents of the aforementioned states that currently view the Potomac as a “destination” fishery) will occur and the effects will be very real to small business operators who base their livelihood on healthy waters of the state.
Located about three hours from the NBP in Monkton, Maryland, Backwater Angler is a specialty retail shop that benefits from the angling opportunities on the NBP. Theaux Le Gardeur of Backwater Angler related the economic importance of the western Maryland fishery, which is in part defined by the NBP and Savage Rivers, to the shop. Le Gardeur said that Backwater Angler serves as a hub and destination shop for fisherman from the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia metropolitan areas; the shop sees thousands of anglers annually that call the NBP their “home waters.” Le Gardeur explained the shop’s clientele:
We see anglers every week on their way to western Maryland fisheries. If we have 15-20 people in the shop, easily a quarter to a third of our customers are headed out there [to the NBP and Savage Rivers].
Le Gardeur said that he witnesses anglers traveling to the NBP and Savage rivers regardless of flow and conditions because anglers want to visit that special area of Maryland. With the economic downturn, he said that he has witnessed more anglers opting for staying within the region:
We’ve seen a decided decrease in anglers travelling to storied destination streams in the mountain west in favor of fly fishing and exploring home waters within an easy drive.
Although the Backwater Angler shop is in Baltimore County, it stocks and sells products exclusively for the NBP and Savage Rivers:
We are selling gear specific to that river.
For example, they sell fly rods of certain length and stiffness; due to slick rocks, they sell studs to put in shoes and wading staffs.
The gear they purchase is unique to the river and can include items that are used with intent to pursue larger fish in the more open waters of the Potomac. The regional angler with the NBP and Savage Rivers as a destination allows us the opportunity to sell different types of gear.