Here’s an article about a farmer in Montana who has worked tirelessly for years to effect changes to a dam that allows fish to swim up stream to spawn. Here’s a taste:

Muggli’s mission to establish fish-friendly river practices began at the ripe age of ten when he knew in his gut that something was seriously wrong.

Not only would the saugers, suckers, channel catfish, sturgeon and other species get blocked by the dam from reaching their spawning grounds upstream, but fish floating down the Tongue toward the Yellowstone were getting swept into the irrigation canals and discharged along with the water onto his family’s farmland.

“I couldn’t stand to watch them die in the field,” Muggli said.

He would scoop stranded fish into buckets, hop on his bike and release them into the Yellowstone River, which flowed near the Muggli farm.  One smallmouth bass, which he’d watched flop around and suck mud after the farm water receded, swam back to him after its release into the Yellowstone.  The fish tapped the boy’s leg, they made eye contact, and Muggli’s dedication to fish rescue was set.

He tried placing a screen against the headgate of the irrigation canal to keep the fish out of the canal and in the river, but the screen got so plastered with debris that the irrigation water couldn’t get through.

The week he got his driver’s license he took a bucket of fish from his field down to local officials, convinced that they, like him, would be mortified at the death of so many innocent creatures.  Instead they shooed him out of the office.

Undeterred, and fortified by his mother’s reminder that he would outlive the older folks shouting him down, he waited for his opportunity.

Read it all here.

h/t Kristen Gappa



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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm.


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