Manager, Media Relations
3/22/2004 -- Washington -- National conservation organization Trout Unlimited (TU) today announced that veteran public servant Ted Fitzgerald will join its staff as the Restoration Project Director of the American Fork Canyon Home Rivers Initiative, a program that combines analysis and on-the-ground cleanup to deliver healthier lands and waters to nearby communities.
Fitzgerald will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the American Fork Canyon Project,a multi-year effort to improve water quality and the health of the fishery in the American Fork. High levels of contaminants currently leach into the river from piles of unreclaimed mine tailings, causing a significant environmental and public health threat. Fish living near the sites, for example, have been found to contain almost 10 times as much lead and twice as much cadmium and zinc in their bodies as those living upstream of the hazards.
Fitzgerald is particularly well-equipped to deal with the challenges of the project. A professional engineer, he joins TU after 25 years with the U.S. Forest Service, all of which were spent in Utah. During the past four years, Fitzgerald was based in the Uinta National Forest – through which the American Fork runs – where he planned, coordinated and completed the cleanup of abandoned mine lands on National Forest System Lands in the American Fork Canyon.
“I am excited for the opportunity to continue the watershed restoration work in American Fork - on private lands and public lands. Trout Unlimited's objectives for this canyon will bring many partners together to complete the work the Forest Service started. The result will restore a more robust, functional ecosystem,” said Fitzgerald.
“Ted brings to our work an unmatchable combination of technical skills, experience, knowledge of the local landscape and an understanding of how to work effectively with partner groups,” said Laura Hewitt, TU Director of Watershed Programs. “His expertise will be essential to TU’s efforts to create a positive model of cooperative restoration of abandoned mine sites, which negatively affect 40 percent of Western headwaters streams, according to the EPA.”
Home Rivers Initiative projects are collaborative multi-year efforts that combine scientific and economic research; community outreach; on-the-ground restoration; and the development of long-term conservation and management strategies on a watershed scale. The initiative has scored major successes on New York’s Beaverkill River, Wisconsin’s Kickapoo River, Pennsylvania’s Kettle Creek, Montana’s Jefferson River and Idaho’s South Fork Snake River.
Mission: Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America.