Catskill Park, one of Trout Unlimited's Ten Special Places.
Catskill Park, one of Trout Unlimited's Ten Special Places.

Trout Unlimited announced recently announced the final of its 'Ten Special Places' report, its initiative to call attention to angling and hunting resources at risk from hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in the northeast US. The announcement New York's Allegany State Park as the tenth region identified by the report came in close proximity to New York governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement that the state -- which has had a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing while the state explored health and safety concerns surrounding the practice -- with formalize a ban prohibiting the practice in the state.

New York's decision is being hailed as a victory by citizens, conservation and sportsman's groups which have advocated for many years to put in place measures to protect water, land and wildlife resources in the state and elsewhere throughout the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.

Trout Unlimited has applauded the decision. Katy Dunlap, the group's eastern water project director, said the decision "provides necessary protections for trout streams throughout the state and ensures that world-class fishing opportunities will be available for future generations. As we have seen in other states where shale gas is being developed, without proper regulations and protections, water quality in streams can be affected and ultimately impact trout and their habitat. ”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York has thousands of miles of streams and rivers within its Marcellus Shale region. More than 1.8 million anglers fish New York’s waterways, generating more than $2.1 billion in economic revenue for local businesses each year.

“Places such as the Catskills, birthplace of the sport of fly-fishing in America, as well as other native and wild trout streams across the Southern Tier, will now be protected from potential impacts from shale gas development,” said Ron Urban, Chair of the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited. “The Catskills are also my home, and it’s comforting to know that the streams in my backyard are protected.”

The Catskills were one of the standout regions named in Trout Unlimited's 'Ten Special Places' report, in addition to other heralded angling destinations like the Upper Delaware system, the Lake Erie watershed, Maryland's Savage River and Pennsylvania's historic Slate Run.