With 40 Years Of Conservation Work Under Our Belt . . .Trout Unlimited Outlines Goals For New Millennium
12/22/1999 -- -- Over 100,000 volunteer members of Trout Unlimited (TU) are reflecting on 40 years of conservation commitment to local rivers and streams while looking ahead to the challenges of the new millennium. Trout Unlimited is the nation's largest coldwater conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
"Trout Unlimited has always believed that if we take care of the rivers, then the fishing will take care of itself," said TU President Charles Gauvin. "With 40 years behind us, TU has a long legacy of volunteer fundraising, habitat restoration and policy involvement across the nation. We are anxious to meet the conservation challenges of the new millennium and restore quality fisheries throughout the nation."
Founded in 1959, Trout Unlimited has championed a variety of conservation accomplishments in 1999, including:
- The July 1st 1999 removal of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine, opening 17 miles of prime habitat to over 10 native species.
- The successful 1999 negotiation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement breaking a five-year stalemate over harvest of salmon between the United States and Canada and yielding substantial conservation bases harvest reductions.
- This year, TU's Embrace-A-Stream initiative hit an all time high raising and distributing $270,000 over 49 on-the-ground conservation projects in 20 states.
- Helped to negotiate the precedent-setting agreement with Avista Corp., which has put millions of dollars to work for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout restoration on the Clark Fork River in Montana and Idaho. The agreement marks the first time that a utility asked a conservation group to cooperatively help relicense a dam.
- Participating in Bring Back the Natives is a collaborative effort to restore rivers and native species on public lands in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.
- Establishing TU's Home Rivers initiative pulls private and public donations together to restore rivers that have high trout fishing values to their surrounding communities, including the Kickapoo River in Wisconsin and the Beaverkill-Willowemoc in the Catskills.
"Over the past 40 years TU has grown from 16 to over 100,000 committed, volunteer members," stated TU President Charles Gauvin. "TU's National Resource Board has outlined an ambitious list of priorities for the New Year which span the conservation spectrum from Pacific to the Atlantic coast. Projects like these don't complete themselves. TU will continue to rely on our legions of dedicated volunteers to get the job done."
Trout Unlimited's national agenda for the year 2000 and beyond includes:
- Gaining emergency federal protection for Maine's Atlantic salmon.
- The breaching of the four dams on the lower Snake River identified by over 200 scientists as the last and best opportunity to save endangered Pacific salmon.
- A national campaign to educate the nation on the importance of maintaining basic water levels in our rivers and streams in order to avoid the drying up of our riverbeds and ensure living rivers for our trout and salmon.
- Ending the lethal acidification of trout streams along the entire East coast caused by acid rain.
- Continued research and volunteer field support in the fight against whirling disease which is plaguing many of the West's finest trout fisheries.
- A strengthened campaign pressing for small dam removal to benefit rivers and communities.
- Addressing water pollution problems posed by the nation's rapid influx of factory farms.
- Improving protection of delicate trout and salmon habitat in our National Forests.
July 1999 marked the 40th Anniversary of Trout Unlimited's founding, on the banks of the Au Sable River near Grayling, Michigan. The 16 fishermen who gathered at the home of George Griffith were united by their love of trout fishing, and by their growing disgust with the state's practice of stocking its waters with "cookie cutter trout"-catchable-sized hatchery fish. Convinced that Michigan's trout streams could turn out a far superior fish if left to their own devices, the anglers formed a new organization: Trout, Unlimited (the comma was dropped a few years later).