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Lines to Leaders

Dear [%first_name%],

HikingMany hands make light work, as we all know, and no other grassroots conservation organization is as good as TU at drawing out a community of volunteers to make our streams healthier and cleaner.

Of course, to do this we call on our active, dues paying members who have fueled our more than 725,000 volunteer hours across more than 1,085 chapter conservation projects and 1,640 chapter youth education programs in just the last year, but our strength and our voice clearly extends well beyond the names on our rosters.

That is true at the local level, and it's also true at the national level.

That's why you may have noticed TU start to use a new phrase to describe our community, replacing our previous method of simply calling out our membership figures. Now, when we talk about TU's clout in Congress, on the web, in TROUT magazine, with funders and among our friends, we will refer to TU's more than 300,000 members and supporters – taking care to recognize all of the people who engage with TU and the work that we all do.

We made this decision because we have many supporters whose membership is not current but who are actively engaged in our work regardless. These are people who respond to action alerts, read our e-newsletter, our social media followers, and supporters of some of our unique place-based campaigns like Bristol Bay and our Wild Steelhead Initiative. It seemed shortsighted to leave them behind in our count.

At your local chapter level too, we're sure you also have a broader reach and influence than the dues-paid members we continue to celebrate. We encourage you to also share this same greater reach and influence in your own communications and outreach so that everyone who hears about TU truly understands the weight we bring as a conservation community.

Feel free to reach out to me, or other members of your Volunteer Operations staff with questions, or for ideas how to better communicate your clout locally.

Jeff Yates
Director of Volunteer Operations


Protect Headwater Streams and Clean Water by Opposing the EPA's Actions

Clean WaterThis week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began the process to rescind the Clean Water Rule, established in 2015 to restore many of the protections the Clean Water Act had afforded the intermittent and ephemeral watercourses – many of them headwaters of trout streams.

Nearly 60 percent of all of the stream miles in the United States are classified as small, intermittent or headwaters and are under threat with this new action.

Protecting these waters is essential to ensuring that adjacent or downstream waters remain clear, clean and healthy for fish, wildlife and communities. Keeping our waters healthy is much more effective than trying to repair a stream after it is damaged or destroyed.

Perhaps more jarring than the proposal to roll-back a scientifically sound and widely supported rule, the EPA is only giving Americans 30 days of public comment time to weigh in on a rule that took years to craft.

Please join us in the fight to protect the Clean Water Rule, and encourage your members and friends to do the same by:

  1. Taking two minutes to contact your members of Congress expressing your support for the Clean Water Rule using our fast and easy action center to Stand Up for Clean Water.
  2. Sharing this message in your chapter e-newsletters and asking your members to send comments to their Congressional representatives as well – the more voices we marshal the better.
  3. Posting the following on your chapter and personal Facebook and social media pages: "Stand Up for the Clean Water Rule and ask your representatives in Congress to oppose efforts to defund or derail clean water protections. Help Trout Unlimited and our partners fight efforts to roll back protections to the intermittent and ephemeral headwater streams which are essential to water quality downstream and to trout. #TroutUnlimited #CleanWaterRule #DefendWater"


Join Us in Roanoke this Fall! Early Bird Registration & Volunteer Awards Deadlines are July 15

Annual Meeting

An exciting and modern city, nestled within striking distance of some of the prettiest national forests and parks around, Roanoke, Va., will be the host of the 2017 TU Annual Meeting. Join us from Sept. 27 – Oct. 1., for a fun, festive event where you can enjoy the early fall foliage and weather, strike out for trout in nearby scenic streams, and spend a weekend meeting and sharing ideas and inspiration with TU volunteers and staff.

The deadline for early bird registration reates is July 15, after which time the registration fee will go up, so don't wait: Register now!

We have a lot to celebrate this year as Trout Unlimited's volunteers broke all records by contributing more than 725,000 hours to our conservation and education work!

Honoring that commitment, and recognizing the outstanding achievements of members, chapters, councils, professionals and partners that embody the values and mission of TU is an important part of our Annual Meeting.

TU is actively seeking nominations for the following awards by July 15:

  • State Council Award for Excellence
  • Gold and Silver Trout Chapter Awards
  • Mortensen Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership
  • Trout Conservation Award: Professional, Partner Organization/Business, Communications
  • Distinguished Service Awards in: Conservation, Leadership, Communications, Youth Education, and Veteran's Services

Each of these awards is described in greater detail and the nomination form is available online at


Post Pics to Instagram to Help TU Win a Custom Beer from SweetWater Brewing

CoolerHelp TU win a special Instagram contest from SweetWater Brewery during their summer Save Our Water campaign and you could walk away with a custom TU Yeti cooler or other great gear. Now through August, any Instagram post that includes #saveourwatertu @sweetwaterbrew and @troutunlimited in the post will earn us a point in the contest against four other leading conservation nonprofits to earn the right to a custom-brewed TU branded beer from SweetWater, with a portion of sales benefitting our organization. Even better, with every photo you post, you could also win some sweet swag!

Here are the rules:

  1. All photos posted must be your own original content to be eligible.
  2. Each post must include the following language "@troutunlimited @sweetwaterbrew #saveourwaterTU" in order to be eligible.
  3. No limit on entries. Each eligible post equals on entry in the contest.
  4. Only one prize will be awarded per entrant based on unique Instagram account user name.
  5. The contest deadline is Thursday, Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
  6. All posters agree to allow Trout Unlimited the rights to use, share and re-post their images in our print and electronic media.

There are other ways to help TU benefit from SweetWater's generosity during the Save Our Water summer campaign, including:

  1. Making an online donation to the Save Our Water Embrace A Stream campaign and SweetWater will donate up to $20,000 to Trout Unlimited's Embrace A Stream grant program if we can raise an equal matching amount! Last year, generous donations helped us meet the match goal. Please help us earn the full match again by spreading the word and encouraging your chapter members to donate too. SweetWater will be giving away $100,000 this summer to five great conservation groups!
  2. SweetWater will again offer for sale online and in their brick and mortar locations special co-branded merchandise, such as a handsome TU Wingo belt or a beer pint touting the Save Our Water campaign and TU. 20 percent of the sales proceeds will benefit TU.

SweetWater is also offering to connect with chapters to support local events within their distribution geography. Your chapter may have the opportunity to partner with a local SweetWater representative to co-host an event with beverages, SweetWater swag and good times with fellow members, conservationists and beer enthusiasts – all in support of conservation.

For support, questions or help planning a co-event with Sweetwater, email Kyle Smith, TU's Membership Engagement Manager.


Place an Order in the TU Event Printshop or Create an Event On the TU Events Center for Your Chance at One of Two Fall Weeks in Montana

AdventureGetting the word out about your chapter's fundraisers, events and activities is one of the best ways to grow your membership, engage volunteers and increase the impact of your conservation, education and fundraising efforts.

The TU Event Printshop and special TU Events Center – in partnership with – provides your chapter with:

  • Easy-to-use, extremely affordable, high-quality, customizable TU-branded print products for event marketing and event operations, including: posters, flyers, postcards, raffle and event tickets
  • Custom, online event registration forms and ticketing that will take your event to the next level

TicketPrinting is a strong supporter of conservation, a TU Business member and donates 20 percent of all TU business back to TU. To sweeten the pot, TicketPrinting's CEO, Lance Trebesch, is giving away two one-week stays at his amazing Big Sky Montana Chalet in a special drawing for chapters that place an order on the TU Event Printshop or create an event on the TU Events Center between June 1 and July 31! If your chapter does both, you'll get two entries into the drawing!

Trip Details: Big Sky Montana - Four Fall Nights for up to Six People & Two Float Trips for Two Anglers

Fall is the time when the big, hungry brown trout of Western Montana go on the prowl to gorge before winter sets in with a fury. Your chapter can win this incredible week of fishing, sight-seeing and more to either raffle or auction off locally and raise funds for your important conservation and education programs. We'll even help you set up a special RaffleRiver sweepstakes if you'd like so you can sell tickets to win this trip online among your chapter members, fishing friends and beyond! The chalet has room for up to six people with four bedrooms and six beds and Lance is also throwing in two days of guided float fishing on some of the Big Sky region's best trout water for two anglers each day! Valued at over $4,200, the trips must be taken in September or October of 2017 based on availability.

Training Videos: Using the TU Event Printshop and the TU TicketRiver Platform

Both the TU Event Printshop and the TU Events Center are fast and easy to learn and simple to use for you and your members. If you want to see what it's all about, you can view some special training materials we've created just for you, our TU volunteers.

TU Event Printshop Training Video – A quick walk through of the online tool giving some great ideas on effective products to promote your chapter or events. Then go online and place an order.

TU Events Center Training Video – An overview video demonstrating how this special TU-branded online registration tool works on the front and back ends for event creators and event participants. Then go online and create an event registration page.


Litigation Policy Lays Out How Chapters and Councils Can Engage in the Courts

As a science-driven, partner-building conservation organization, litigation is often the last step that TU looks to at every level of the organization after exhausting all other options. There is, however, a time and place for litigation and an update to the Litigation Policy helps make the process of engaging through the courts more clear.

TU's Litigation Policy was first adopted in 2010 to provide guidance to all parts of the organization concerning participation in litigation in TU's name. That policy has worked reasonably well in the intervening years, but experience has shown that revisions and stylistic improvement were warranted. Starting earlier this spring, a group of senior managers and volunteers have worked on a redraft of the policy, and then reviewed the policy with the all-volunteer National Leadership Council for comment and suggested changes.

The final updated policy, approved by the board of trustees at its June meeting, has several important revisions worth noting:

  • The Policy clarifies that all chapters, councils and employees are subject to the Policy.
  • The Policy defines the types of legal proceedings for which permission must be sought before a TU Entity participates.
  • The Policy clarifies the form of request to participate in Litigation, called the Litigation Memorandum, that must be submitted and details the information to be included.
  • The Policy establishes a process for review and recommendation by the appropriate VP and the General Counsel and for final decision by the CEO.
  • The Policy also establishes a timeline for the review process, in order to allow adequate consideration of the request to participate in Litigation.
  • The Policy clarifies that donations of funds directly by chapters and councils to Litigation, where TU is not a party, are also covered by the Policy.
  • To ease the administrative burden to chapters and councils, a checklist and suggested formats for the Litigation Memorandum are included with the Policy.

Please review the Litigation Policy before your chapter or council considers potentially engaging in, or funding, litigation. It can be found in the Tacklebox along with other important TU policies.


All web conference trainings are held at 8 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted. Contact Jeff Yates to register.
Nov. 6-12:
Embrace A Stream Challenge Online Competition
Nov. 15:
Deadline for All Chapters / Councils to File Annual Financial Reports
Feb. 15:
Deadline for All Chapters / Councils to File IRS Form 990, Form 990EZ or Form 990N
Sept. 19-22:
2018 Annual Meeting: Redding, Calif.


Help TU Improve Our Youth Memberships
TU offers youth (Stream Explorer) and teen (TU Teen) memberships that are specially designed to engage the next generation in coldwater conservation and fishing. However, only a tiny fraction of our current active members are youth members. Please take this short survey to help us improve how we design and market our youth memberships to improve them and engage more young people in our mission.
Click Here to Take the Survey
If you have a budding young conservationist or angler in your family, consider buying them a gift youth membership in TU today!


TU chapters and councils routinely enter into contracts to further their conservation work. Many of those contracts, especially those involving stream-improvement or other construction work, have risks for the chapter or council involved and, in some instances, for the national organization, as well. In 2013, the Board of Trustees adopted a policy and prepared a correlating guidance document requiring that the following categories of chapter and council contracts be submitted in draft form to Volunteer Operations staff for review:
1. Any proposed contract under which a chapter or council agrees to indemnify anyone unless the proposed indemnification language limits the indemnification obligations to the acts and omissions of the chapter or council that are covered by TU's insurance.
2. Any proposed contract involving the removal or repair of any dam, any work on abandoned mines, and any work on possibly polluted sites.
3. Any proposed contract with a federal agency when the amount of the contract is $100,000 or more.
4. Any proposed contract with a state agency.
5. Any proposed contract involving a public road or highway or involving a railroad right of way.
For contracts involving uninsured or excessive risk, the Board of Trustees has formalized a process for review involving senior staff and members of the Legal/ Risk Management Committee. To review this process document or to download a copy of the "Contract Guidance for TU Chapters and Councils" document, visit the online Tacklebox, under "Important TU Policies."


The online leader Tacklebox – – offers a wide range of resources and guides for chapter and council leaders. Some of the most often used resources include:


We want our volunteer leaders to know what their members are receiving from TU in the mail and will begin sharing this through "In the Mail" each month in Lines to Leaders. This month, the featured mail campaign is our Sweepstakes Mailing which includes a donation request for a chance at one of 100 different prizes!
We welcome your feedback and want to remind you that we are grateful for the gift of your time as a volunteer leader and your membership support. While we welcome and appreciate your occasional non-dues gifts, please feel free to consider our appeal mailings nothing more than an FYI to keep you connected to the inner-workings of our development efforts.
Together, through on-the-ground, local efforts and nationwide focus, we are making our rivers and streams healthier homes for trout. Thank you!


The online leader Training Video Library – – has recordings of past online trainings, as well as some simple "how to" videos designed to help volunteers access the online tools available to them. The training videos include:

Ⓒ 2017 Trout Unlimited - all rights reserved.

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