Body and Soul
(page 6 of 8)
TROUT FRIENDLY LAWNS
Making friends with fish
There once was a time when driving 70 mph on a six-lane freeway while talking on a cell phone would have seemed far-fetched, not to mention dangerous. But learned behavior quickly becomes habit for many of us. And it’s that same human tendency that the Wood River Land Trust counted on when they introduced their Trout Friendly Lawn (TFL) program to the Valley four years ago.
Chronic drought conditions made it clear to Kathryn Goldman, who launched the program (she is currently campaign director for the Pesticide Action Network), that every time we turn on a garden hose or sprinkler system, we put pressure on the Big Wood River. TFL’s mission is simple: to change the way we see the river and the underground sources that feed it. The more water we use, the less water is in the river, and the warmer it becomes. Warmer water forces trout to leave the area in search of cooler temperatures. And nobody wants that.
TFL, based on a program developed in Missoula, Montana, pairs simple logic with science to inspire water conservation and the use of organic herbicides and pesticides amongst landowners who live near the river. By partnering with local landscape contractors, environmental groups and other concerned entities to encourage trout friendliness, the Land Trust has started a dialogue between homeowners and professionals, creating a kind of riparian détente in the process. “When it comes to our water resources in the arid West, and in the Big Wood River drainage, the future is about allocation. We’re going to have to make some choices. If we love our river, we’re going to have do the right things to preserve it,” explained Goldman. Hence, the Trout Friendly certification program was born. -Jody Orr