Many sportsmen/women and conservationist seem to have mixed feelings about renewable energy these days. As I travel the country to do my job as renewable energy coordinator for Trout Unlimited I hear many who are concerned about the footprint that renewable energy projects leave especially when on public land or when they are in view from their back yard. However, I am starting hear just as many who have come to grips with the growing number of reasons why renewable energy may be one tool that could help ensure that coldwater fisheries and fisheries populations world wide have a future even half as good as today.
Foremost is that wind, solar and geothermal offer ways to meet our growing energy demands and replace outdated technology while not producing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change as traditional natural gas, oil and coal do. Meaning that they could help prevent your local trout stream from turning into a jacuzzi full of largemouth bass. But count as well the fact that renewable energy uses significantly less water than traditional carbon based fuels, meaning that they rob water that you could be standing in with a fly rod, whereas renewable energy does not.
Now add to those reasons new research is showing that during the past 38 years various north Atlantic fish species representing those from all depths and diets have shrank in size up to 29%. This research indicates that one primary factor is that ocean temperatures in which they live has warmed up to 2 degrees. Warmer temperatures mean earlier maturity of fish and lower growth rates. (Press Association/London Guardian)
For those of us who love coldwater fisheries and fish in general for sportfishing or for food should think carefully about opposition or support for renewable energy development. Sometimes the medicine that is called for doesn't taste that good but is necessary nonetheless.