Name a cherished place in the West, and chances are a river runs through it—places with names like the Blackfoot, Hat Creek, Big Hole, Henry’s Fork, Little Lost River. For as long as people remember, these waters have held prized trout in their cold, clear waters and drawn generations of anglers to their banks.
But throughout the West, our rivers and streams—and the native and wild fish that depend on them—are in trouble. A host of threats, from drought and population growth to climate uncertainty, have left many Western rivers depleted, even drained dry. To make matters worse, outdated state laws actually discourage landowners from leaving water in streams to support fish and wildlife.
In response, Trout Unlimited started the Western Water Project in 1998. The mission: Restore healthy streamflows in some of the West’s best places. Today the WWP operates in seven states—California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming—and its staff of professional scientists, lawyers and policy experts have won major victories for fish in courts and state capitals. At the same time, they have partnered with ranchers and farmers on pragmatic on-the-ground restoration projects that show that working landscapes and fish can coexist.
TU’s Western Water Project is reconnecting water, people and fish across the West.
TU relies on strong science, legal and policy expertise, and relationships of trust with local partners to protect Western rivers and fish.
We pursue three main objectives:
|Protect the best fish habitat
WWP staff work to ensure that the West’s best trout habitat —and the outstanding recreational opportunities they afford—are protected from development, drought, industrial impacts or other pressures. »Read more 
Restore rivers and streams
Over the years, important river and stream habitat in the West has been dewatered and fragmented by diversions, overgrazing and development. We are partnering with individual landowners, agencies and local communities to put the pieces of our watersheds back together. »Read more 
Promote habitat-friendly water policy
We work with lawmakers, rural communities and water stakeholders to promote far-sighted, effective water policy that improves the health of rivers and streams while giving ranchers and landowners more flexible water rights that enhance their operations and property values. »Read more