Chesapeake Bay Headwaters
Walking through the woods along a wild brook trout stream in West Virginia, you might as well be a million miles away from the mass of humanity that surrounds Washington, D.C. Here, just over an hour from the nation’s capital, you’re the only one on the water, and the brookies are in the mood to play.
There are hundreds of little brook trout haunts in the headwaters of the fabled Chesapeake Bay, and hundreds more could one day be just as special if we can find ways to heal the landscape that’s endured so much over the last two centuries, and if we can find ways to protect the best of what’s left from the same dismal fate so many great trout waters have suffered over the years.
It’s no secret that trout fare better when their waters are spared from development. In the Chesapeake watershed, a great deal of wild and native trout habitat is privately owned—for example, 70 percent of all wild trout water in Pennsylvania is in private ownership. That doesn’t mean it’s less valuable—quite the contrary. To protect these important waters, TU uses its Coldwater Land Conservancy Fund to help land trusts and agencies acquire these lands for public use or to place long-term conservation easements on the to secure prime trout habitat—and places to fish—for generations to come.
Since 2005, when TU started working in the Chesapeake Headwaters, we have leveraged over $2 million in funding to work with landowners through the CLCF to permanently protect nearly 1,500 acres of land containing wild brook trout habitat in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. We’ve also reconnected over 75 miles of stream habitat and leveraged over $3 million to get more than 30 on-the-ground projects done. It’s great progress, but much remains to be done.
Gary Berti, email@example.com