Almost any trout fisherman can explain what it means to be passionate about fishing. It’s the excitement that comes when you slip into waders, take your first step into a cold, flowing stream, and offer up your prized tie—all with the hope of the perfect strike and the release of a beautiful fish.
What does it mean though to be committed to coldwater? Take the angler’s passion described above and then add an unwavering, unmatched commitment to protecting, conserving and restoring coldwater streams.
It is the angler who doesn’t flinch when he is asked to brave single digit temperatures, to get into very cold water—not to cast to challenging trout, rather to collect water quality data, in the hopes of protecting coldwater streams from impacts related to shale gas development.
Take for example, the Caldwell Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Located in northwest Pennsylvania, the Caldwell Creek watershed is plagued with legacy impacts from historical oil and gas development and today is facing potential impacts from unconventional shale gas development. This doesn’t intimidate the local TU chapter.
This chapter is implementing a multi-faceted water quality monitoring effort, including sending volunteers out to monitor 17 sites on local streams every two weeks for impacts from shale gas development, deploying real-time monitoring devices on three streams, and interpreting and analyzing their own data, with the help of Dr. Bruce Dickson of the neighboring Iron Furnace Chapter.
The best part about their effort is that they are not doing it alone. This is a prime example of TU staff, the Pennsylvania Council of TU, and nearby chapters working to support a local chapter’s effort because of a shared commitment to coldwater.
The Caldwell Creek Chapter is one of 25 chapters in Pennsylvania that are engaged in routine monitoring of coldwater streams, looking for potential drilling-related impacts. These anglers—TU members—not only know what it means to be committed to coldwater, they live that commitment every day.