Over the past year, Pennsylvania has protected more than 1,000 miles of newly documented wild trout streams across the state with help from Trout Unlimited and other partners. These are the latest success stories from a seven-year effort to pinpoint the state’s populations of wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout, so these sensitive waters can be protected in the face of ongoing development.
Trout Unlimited (TU) biologists have surveyed more than 700 streams over the past six years. Now, the group is releasing a new film that highlights efforts to protect these waters.
“86,000 Miles of Streams” is a 6½-minute long film by award-winning photojournalist Sam Dean, and is so-named because Pennsylvania boasts more than 86,000 miles of rivers, streams and creeks, second in the United States only to Alaska.
These 86,000 miles provide clean drinking water to Pennsylvania’s residents, water for crops and livestock, and recreation opportunities for boaters and paddlers. Also importantly, many are home to no small number of wild trout.
Ensuring proper protections for those wild trout requires knowing where they are. Since 2011, the Unassessed Waters Initiative, spearheaded by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, has led to the discovery of wild trout in more than 40 percent of streams surveyed.
“86,000 Miles of Streams” tells the story of how watershed activist Terry Kleintop helped TU staff identify an unassessed stream that, he believed, harbored naturally reproducing trout. He was right: biologists armed with electrofishing equipment discovered that the small creek near Easton, Pa., boast a healthy population of wild brown trout.
Also featured is Joe Baylog, president of TU’s Forks of the Delaware chapter. Baylog is working to ensure protections for his favorite waters so his young daughter will be able to enjoy fishing for wild trout like he does.
“What’s the old saying? You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?” Baylog asks in the film. “I think the reality is we don’t necessarily know what we have, and only thru exploration and research will we understand what we have.”
The film, made possible through a generous grant from the William Penn Foundation, is available in high definition on Vimeo.