Trout Unlimited: Making A Difference Award (2018)
For more than half a century Trout Unlimited has been at the forefront of protecting trout, and the habitat they live in. TU is one of the few organizations to have employed the full range of tools to protect instream flow; ranging from engaging in policy making to on-the-ground projects. One very effective program is Trout Unlimited’s Western Water Project. Created in 1998 to help advance instream flow legislation and promote sound water management in support of wild and native trout, the project:
- Is based on the recognition that the health of our rivers, fisheries and wildlife must be included in water flow decisions and planning at the state and local levels.
- Contributes to thoughtful, pragmatic efforts to create or improve state water codes to make restoring and improving stream flows easier and equitable to water rights holders.
- Partners with ranchers, landowners and agencies, including most member agencies of the Instream Flow Council, on scores of projects to restore and reconnect fragmented river systems.
- Developed innovative solutions and collaborative projects that balance the needs of fish and wildlife with the concerns of agriculture and municipalities.
- Encouraged better water management by promoting water conservation through voluntary, non-regulatory water management agreements.
- Established a legacy of healthy rivers and streams for future generations.
TU’s impact goes well beyond the Western Water Project. Local chapter members can be found advocating for dam releases that benefit the tailwater fishery. State councils advocate for policies to protect and restore instream flow. At the national level TU influences the development of important legislation from the Farm Bill to the Clean Water Act. TU is a contributing author of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan which includes goals are to conserve adequate amounts of clean water and connectivity.
Thanks to the efforts of Trout Unlimited through its dedicated members and staff, numerous projects have been done to improve conditions for native and wild trout through collaborative efforts reserving litigation and intervention as last resorts. Lasting relationships have been forged with landowners, legislators, and natural resource agencies and statutory hurdles that once seemed impossible have been navigated to the benefit of fish, fishermen, and water users across the United States. There is still much work to do but, TU’s long-term commitment ensures a bright future for fish and rivers in the days and years ahead. The Instream Flow Council is proud to present the Making a Difference Award to Trout Unlimited in recognition of their unwavering dedication to protecting and restoring instream flow and the life (including humans) that rely on it.
Presented to Patrick Byorth, Director of the Montana Water Project for Trout Unlimited, April 25, 2018 in Fort Collins, Colorado at FLOW 2018.