Enough is enough. All who paddle the Lehigh, be it raft, kayak, or canoe, the time has come for you to own up to your words. A few times a year, there are meetings to discuss the proper management of the woefully small amount of water held in the Francis E. Walter Reservoir and in every one of those meetings I have heard at least one paddler commit the most irritating act of hypocrisy. It invokes the paddler’s “love” of the Lehigh River and the environment such as, “I’d like to thank the USACE for providing us with 2? whitewater releases, we enjoy them very much and the opportunity to spend time enjoying nature and the Lehigh River.” BUT!!!!!!! Have you ever considered the potential damage caused by putting whitewater releases BEFORE the needs of aquatic life in the river? I can say without hesitation that it is quite apparent that most of you DO NOT. You bicker about how many paddlers use the river versus how many anglers use it and use that as a reason as to why whitewater interests are more important than angling interests.
WHITEWATER INTERESTS MAY OUTWEIGH ANGLING INTERESTS BUT THEY DO NOT, HAVE NEVER, AND NEVER WILL, BEAR MORE NECESSITY THAN THE NEEDS OF THE AQUATIC LIFE OF ANY BODY OF WATER.
Therein lies your complete hypocrisy, those interested in the health of the fishery are not primarily interested in how many days that we can go and fish, we are interested in the health of the river and what lives in it. WE, NOT YOU, are the ones who treasure the environment, for we are the only users of the river interested in protecting the creatures who live in it. We check water temperatures and broadcast them to the angling community so that they know if it is safe to fish for trout without causing potential stress. We monitor the Lehigh River and provide fellow anglers with information regarding other potentially hazardous conditions to the aquatic resource.
NEARLY ALL OF THE MOST DAMAGING CONDITIONS THAT OCCUR ON THE LEHIGH RIVER ARE A DIRECT RESULT OF PADDLER’S LUST FOR MORE WHITEWATER!!!
How all of you can sit in those meetings and fancy yourselves environmentally friendly people is beyond me! You routinely put your recreational interests above the needs of the wild creatures that call the Lehigh River home. Does that sound like an environmentally sound policy!?!?!?!
So the time has come for Lehigh River paddlers to decide what is more important, your recreational needs or the needs of the fish and wildlife that live in the Lehigh River. It is impossible to satisfy both in times of stress with the current storage capabilities of Francis E. Walter Dam. Your unyielding inflexibility in regards to the management of water in the Francis E. Walter Dam places risk in the domain of the survival of living creatures in the Lehigh River year after year. You often proclaim your love of the river, it is time to prove it. At the end of the day, have your words and actions really done something to help the Lehigh River or just provided you with another opportunity to scratch your canoe or kayak? Recently there have been posts on Lehigh whitewater paddling websites with titles such as “Save the lehigh!!!!!!!!!!” It is true, the Lehigh needs protection, it needs protection from excessive whitewater releases that directly threaten all of the aquatic life-forms that inhabit the river in exchange for a few more days of fun.
IS YOUR NEED TO KAYAK TWENTY SOME TIMES A YEAR MORE IMPORTANT THAT A LIVING CREATURE’S NEED TO BREATHE, EAT, AND SURVIVE?!?!?!?!