About 5 years ago I walked away from all of the river conservation issues I used to be involved with.
I started with the Salt Creek Watershed Network back in the 90s' since I was living in Elmhurst at the time and not that far from Salt Creek.
As the turn of the century approached I found myself spending most of my fishing time out on the Fox River. I decided to concentrate my conservation efforts and time doing what I could for the Fox. It was slow going at first since my approach was through fishing and anglers didn't show much interest in conservation issues. It took awhile and I had to branch out away from the angling community, but I eventually found a wide variety of organizations doing what they can to help preserve and protect the Fox River. Over the years I've had contact and worked with The Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, The Friends of the Fox, The Fox River Study Group and The Conservation Foundation, plus a wide variety of others.
It wasn't just me that seemed to walk away from all things Fox River conservation. At the beginning of the year I spoke to Brook McDonald of The Conservation Foundation and Becky Hoag, who seems to be involved with everyone. Both of them admitted that after the big initiative of dam removals on the Fox, things seemed to die down.
This is where A Citizen's Guide to Preserving the Fox River comes in. They're hoping the guide will get the public interested in conservation issues on the Fox River again. I think by having this guide out in the community, both online and in print, a slow and steady interest in all things Fox River can be sparked. The guide does a good job of outlining conservation initiatives we can all take advantage of in our daily lives, as well as covering many of the recreational opportunities available up and down the river.
I think the guide could have a snowball effect in getting people interested once again in the conservation issues and recreation opportunities available in all of the local watersheds.
There are conservation and recreation groups around for virtually all of the watersheds in the Chicago area. A Google search on the Chicago River, Des Plaines River, DuPage River and the Kankakee River will get you all kinds of information. Eventually, when time allows, I'll have a page up here on my blog for all of the organizations I know and have been involved with over the years.
Since my blog was accepted by ChicagoNow, besides writing about the fishing, hunting and wandering opportunities available so close to Chicago, one of my goals is to push local river conservation issues harder. I'd like to see if I can get back to my roots. We'll see how that goes.
It would be nice to see all of the watershed groups in the area put out guides similar to A Citizen's Guide to Preserving the Fox River. I think it would be beneficial to them all. Their individual websites have a lot of info on them, but I still think there's something to be said for the printed piece. Without a printed piece after all, most people would never know where to go online to even begin to start looking. Guides in well placed locations, business or government locations, can still foster a fair amount of attention.
So go here and start clicking. There's even an online version of the guide, but I highly recommend getting a printed piece. It's very well done.
I was surprised at how many of the people featured in the guide I knew and have worked with in the past, or are names I've heard passed around for many years. The hard core participants in any conservation effort are few, so you can't help but running into them time and again. When you get to the fishing section of the guide, that would be my smiling face pictured on a head with far too much gray hair attached.
For me, it's an honor to be included with all of the others that have worked so hard to preserve and protect the Fox River. Maybe this will be the kick in the ass I need to get motivated again. As I said, we'll see.