FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kim Trotter, (208) 552-0891, x. 712
Bart Gamett, (208) 588-2224
Trout Unlimited Idaho Project Receives Forest Service Award
Trout Unlimited’s Idaho Water Project (IWP) recently received the 2009 national “Rise to the Future Partner Award” from the USDA Forest Service, which recognized IWP’s leadership in restoring fish populations in the Big Lost and Little Lost River basins of central Idaho. The award specifically recognized Kim Trotter, director of the Idaho Water Project, and Jim Gregory, Trout Unlimited’s Lost River Project Manager, for their work in these two basins.
“We are excited and honored to accept this recognition on behalf of all of our partners in this effort,” said Trotter. “Together, we’re making great strides in restoring these unique Idaho fisheries.”
Trotter and Gregory traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the award Dec. 16 at the Forest Service’s annual Rise to the Future Awards Celebration. They were joined at the event by Bart Gamett, a Fish Biologist with the Salmon-Challis National Forest, who has worked closely with Trout Unlimited in their work and nominated the IWP for the partnership award.
“Trout Unlimited has been an outstanding partner in our collaborative effort to protect and restore fish populations in the Big Lost River and Little Lost River basins,” Gamett said. “Kim and Jim are two outstanding individuals that have done a significant amount of work to protect and restore fish populations in these two unique river systems. The Forest Service is honored to recognize them for their important work by presenting them with this national award.”
The Big Lost River and Little Lost River basins, while long known for their outstanding fishing, have suffered serious fish population declines in recent decades. Particularly concerning is the decline of bull trout and mountain whitefish in these two basins. However, more than 30 partners, including the Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local ranchers, irrigators, and county officials, have come together in a collaborative effort to protect and restore fish populations in these two river systems. This partnership has been extremely successful and resulted in numerous projects that have restored fish passage around more than 20 irrigation diversions, improved fish migratory access to more than 200 miles of habitat, restored miles of stream habitat and associated riparian areas, fenced miles of critical riparian areas, and reintroduced mountain whitefish into many streams where they historically occurred. These projects have resulted in significant improvements in fish distribution and abundance. While in D.C., Gamett, Gregory, and Trotter gave a presentation to national Forest Service leaders in which they showcased a few of the dozens of projects that have been completed by the partnership.
“This collaborative approach to conservation is proving itself on the ground with dramatic gains for stream flows and fish and wildlife habitat,” said Trotter. “These rivers are poised for a comeback—and that’s exciting to see.”
The partners in the Lost River basins continue to identify priority research and restoration projects to help recover native fish populations. Projects include improving flows in critical sections of streams, identifying the impacts of whirling disease, and removing additional barriers to fish passage.
Read TU’s brochures on the Little Lost and Big Lost partnerships at http://www.tu.org/conservation/western-water-project/idaho.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.