Trout Unlimited’s Rendezvous for Clean Water and Lager

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Conservation, Fly Fishing - Fresh Water, Trout Unlimited

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Trout Unlimited Rendezvous’ for Clean Water and Lager

TU shared the Whittingham Discovery Center

In Stamford, Ct. where the Mill River still supports urban populations of brook trout, Trout Unlimited gathered for the 2023 Northeast Summit. In classic TU style, the weekend mixed classrooms, speakers, music, fishing and even a specially brewed beer.

William Tong, Ct’s Attorney General, was first to speak to the hundred plus collection of TU staffers and volunteers. As a Brown and University of Chicago Law School graduate, litigator, first Asian American elected to any Connecticut state office, husband and father of three, and keynote speaker, he first wanted everyone to know he absolutely loves to fly fish. TU is a conservation organization first and foremost but members are quite often also anglers. Mr. Tong’s feelings about streamers and dry flies on the Farmington and how the current Supreme Court has weakened the Clean Water Act with the recent Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency case, certainly hit home to the crowd. “It’s not great in the Supreme Court,” he dryly observed.

TU’s Northeast Rendezvous shared talked about clean water with good lager

“Being in the middle, not picking a side, that doesn’t work,” Mr. Tong said, reminding TU volunteers to remain vigilant in meeting rooms and streams. He spoke to concerns about clothing shedding microplastics which end up in wastewater facilities then ultimately the ocean and about the poor showing of cinder worms in Rhode Island’s Ninigret Pond. His office is local but his reach is national. He understands air pollution in the Midwest follows the “nation’s tailpipe’” to the east. “Unclean air means unclean water.” Mr. Tong reiterated that we need to stay in contact with legislators and attorney’s general to let them know our concerns. “If they don’t fish or sail or they don’t answer your call, call me.  Call me and I will call them. You should push the envelope to protect these resources.” How remarkable to receive such a message from an approachable politician who is perfectly happy to put on waders and have a conversation over a brown trout pool.

Keith Curley, TU VP of Eastern Conservation

The most shocking talk was Toxic Tires and Trout, How 6PPD in Stormwater is Killing Brook Trout. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, “6PPD has been used as an antidegradant for decades and is found in most if not all motor vehicle tires. 6PPD performs the critical function of protecting rubber from reactions with ozone and oxygen, which can lead to cracks. It is present in tires at 1 to 2%…and slowly migrates over the life of the tire to the tire surface to supply a continual source of 6PPD.”

It was shocking to learn that when exposed to air, it becomes 6PPD-Quinone, turns to a brown dust-like particulate then in many situations, washes into stormwater basins and road side waters, killing coho salmon, brook and brown trout. That research is thorough, what’s needed now is an understanding of why it kills only certain fish species and how we can quickly get it removed from rubber compounds. Presently, the tire industry response is that they do not use 6PPD-Quinone, stating that it’s a “transformational product of 6PPD.” In advance of sharp Attorney Generals who are protecting our natural resources, the US Tire Manufacturers Association was quick to add, “While the Tian et al. study (published by researchers at University of Washington and Washington Stormwater Center. ed.) suggested a connection between exposure to 6PPD-Quinone and coho salmon mortality, subsequent research has shown that 6PPD-Quinone does not exhibit acute lethal toxicity to other freshwater aquatic species and has a comparatively low leaching potential from rubber particles in aqueous media.” Comparatively low concentration and doesn’t kill every fish.

Classic chess move deflection from clean water and conservation

TU CEO, President and friend, Chris Wood

“I feel like it’s Christmas every day when I get up to go to work,” said CEO, President and ever smiling Chris Wood, wrapping up a long and fruitful Saturday. He spoke after happy hour and as we all know no one is sad at happy hour, TU shared tall cans of Housatonic River Brewing’s single event crafted Tight Lines Lager. Crisp, smooth and flavorful, at 5% it was a perfect pour before dinner. Chris has a special way of gleaning certain moments from his many cross country chapter visits, mixing them with local characters, visionaries and weekend volunteers, appreciating differing sceneries and always his staff, then tossing in a few self-deprecating musings of his fly fishing skills, to share his vision for TU’s future. He had just travelled from Massachusetts’ Quashnet River, observing the Cape Cod Chapter’s decades restoring a salter river from cranberry bogs and deforestation. “They created a cranberry bog but ruined a river,” he said. And TU volunteers reacted. “You are the volunteer base who give back so much of themselves. We don’t just have values, we live our values,” Chris said.

 Conservation is good conversation

Brandon Dale and Gerald Berrafati talk engagement with new anglers

Trout Unlimited needs members of all interests, colors, genders and schedules. Not everyone has to own waders or a 6W or even know what 6W means. TU can be your front door to learning about cold water habitats, stormwater, invertebrates, giant carp in Central Park ponds and how to have a conversation with a politician who may have forgotten they work for you. President Chris Wood reiterated Trout Unlimited is a conservation organization capable of remarkable work focused on shared environments. When someone on the Quashnet observed that, after decades of restoration, he still wasn’t catching many brookies, longtime TU member, writer, poet and visionary Warren Winders answered, “But we didn’t do this for you.” And that is Trout Unlimited.


  1. Joe

    Very informative. Well done, Todd!

    • Todd Corayer

      Thanks Joe, I do appreciate that

    • Todd Corayer

      225 team work on that trip for sure.

  2. Susan Estabrook

    Great article Todd. Thanks for being there for TU.

  3. John Genovesi

    Thanks for taking your time to attend the regional TU meeting representing Rhody TU and reporting back!

  4. Cindy

    “Conservation is good Conversation” … great line for any conservation group. Put it on t shirts and bring in the donations! Another fabulous read by the Fishwrap writer!

    • Todd Corayer

      Awww, thanks Cindy. Reading Fish Wrap from the Great State of Maine. Love that, thank you


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