Quick mends: Denver’s Sand Creek spill

A dead carp floats in Denver's Sand Creek, site of a recent benzene leak. (Courtesy Will Rice)

What can you do, as a recreational fisherman, to protect the environment?

You can write letters to the powerful, join an environmental group, give money, pitch in to restore habitat, tell your friends, hell, turn them into fly fishers, so they’ll see what they’re missing. After all, at the habitat-loss rate we’re enduring, fishing for fun could sadly end up solely on private water a la England. And … that’s un-American.

Not what we want to see happen in L.A.

Or you could let your nose tell you something stinks, as in this story. While recently stalking our favored gamefish, carp, Denver-based fly fisher/blogger McTage knew something wasn’t kosher. He reached for his cellphone, reported it, later dogged it, and made sure the agencies charged with protecting his waters actually did their job. Important story here.  In his case, what he reported after getting a whiff  turned out to be benzene. How long did it take from his first call to actually getting some action? Read the story and be appalled.

Writer Will Rice of Drake Fly Fishing magazine, describes the chemical this way: ” If you are on the fence about Benzene, here are a few things you should know: Petroleum ether, also known as benzene is a group of various volatile, highly flammable, liquid hydrocarbon mixtures used chiefly as nonpolar solvents. During the Second World War some extermination camps experimented by killing people with benzene injections. Benzene causes cancer. Benzene is useful for removing the gum from self-adhesive stamps.”

Stay alert, vigilant. Whoever thought fishermen could be first responders? But when you think about it, we all could be. Bravo, McTage.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

4 thoughts on “Quick mends: Denver’s Sand Creek spill”

  1. Jim, thanks for the kind words. It is amazing how many urban communities struggle with the same thing in terms of care-taking a valuable natural river resource. I know that you have mentioned that you and others are fighting for the LA river, I wish you the best of luck.

    1. The first time I fished the river, it must have taken me at least an hour just to find an entrance in! That was just a couple of years ago, and now I miss it when I don’t get back often enough. This is one of those fights worth having …

  2. You are on the money Jim, many people I know don’t even know fish even exist in your river, one that is so very altered from it’s original state so as to be a new stream almost. I concur, keep up the good work you do. It’s too bad urban,everywhere it seems, is synonymous with downgraded, in one way or another.


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