VP of Conservation Programs
2/21/2003 -- Arlington, VA -- Trout Unlimited (TU) and USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) signed an agreement today which committed the two organizations to work cooperatively to restore trout and salmon habitat on agricultural lands nationwide. NRCS's Chief Bruce Knight and TU's CEO and President Charles Gauvin signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during TU's winter Board of Trustees meeting.
TU staff and volunteers and NRCS staff are already hard at work with landowners on habitat conservation projects on several streams and rivers around the nation. NRCS brings to these projects funding from the Farm Bill conservation programs, which it administers, as well as technical expertise. TU volunteer leaders help sign up willing landowners on the ground, and TU staff help leverage non-federal funds and also help provide technical assistance to landowners. The new Farm Bill of 2002 greatly expanded funding for the habitat conservation work through conservation programs such as the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Environmental Quality Incentive Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program. The new funding will fuel the cooperative work between landowners, TU and NRCS.
"TU volunteers have already worked successfully with landowners and the NRCS to protect and restore trout and salmon habitat on great trout streams like Lititz Run, Pennsylvania and the Blackfoot River, Montana," said Steve Moyer, TU's VP for Volunteer Operations and Government Affairs. "This agreement will spur us to ramp up our cooperative work to provide far greater benefits to valuable trout and salmon fisheries," said Moyer.
"TU staff have multiplied NRCS funds and achieved considerable habitat successes on innovative projects such as our work with Amish farmers on the Kickapoo River watershed in Wisconsin, said Chris Wood, TU's VP for Conservation Programs. " We are embarking on new projects, such as working with landowners to line irrigation ditches to conserve water to improve stream flows on the Jefferson River in Montana. We are thrilled to sign this agreement and intensify our work with the NRCS," said Wood.
Trout Unlimited is the nation's leading coldwater conservation organization with 127,000 members and 450 chapters nationwide working to conserve, protect and restore coldwater fisheries and their watersheds throughout North America
For more information: Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited: 703-284-9406; Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited: 703-284-9403