Forest Service honors TU’s Darek Staab with Rise to the Future award

Darek Staab (far right) with volunteers, Whychus Creek project, Oregon.

Darek Staab, Project Manager for Trout Unlimited’s Upper Deschutes Restoration Program, was recently honored by the U.S. Forest Service with a “Rise to the Future” award in the Partnerships category.

The regional Forest Service award recognizes “outstanding contributions towards fisheries and water resource conservation in partnership with the Deschutes National Forest.”

TU’s Deschutes Redbands Chapter applauded the award and said, “Darek has been a catalyst for fisheries and riparian improvements at the Metolius, Fall and Deschutes Rivers along with Indian Ford Creek. Darek is also the originator and lead instructor for TU’s grade school education programs [in this region] which involve in-class instruction and on-river field trips regarding stream stewardship. Annually, this program reaches upwards of 500 schoolkids.”

(L) The Metolius River

TU’s Upper Deschutes Restoration Program will continue partnership work with the Forest Service for years to come, dedicated to building a network of projects, stewards and advocates to restore habitat and species diversity in the Upper Deschutes River Basin in central Oregon.

These projects include the Metolius River Trail Restoration Project; the Fall River Conservation Project (with Oregon State Parks); the Indian Ford Creek Restoration Project; the Deep Creek Restoration and Reconnection Project in the Ochoco National Forest; the Spring-fed Rivers Stewardship Program; and the Deschutes Restoration Outreach Program.

Staab, said, “For the past eight years, the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests have been terrific partners in TU’s efforts to initiate and expand restoration and stewardship projects in central Oregon that benefit native trout and local communities and help make fishing better. Forest Service personnel at the district level, especially Nate Dachtler and Tom Walker, have really made possible a lot of our work on the Deschutes, Metolius, and Fall rivers and on the Indian Ford Creek project. I see this as an award for all of the TU and agency staff who have had a hand in developing and implementing these projects.”

Chrysten Lambert, director of TU’s programs in Oregon, noted the award for Staab came on the heels of the Forest Service honoring two TU volunteer-leaders in Oregon, Dick Hollenbeck and Terry Turner, last year with a Special Category Award for Exceptional Volunteerism. “The Forest Service plays a vital role in TU’s work to restore habitat and native trout and enhance streamflows and water quality throughout Oregon,” said Lambert. “Darek’s award is well deserved, and we look forward to leveraging our cooperative relationship with the Forest Service into a lot more habitat restoration and citizen stewardship gains in the future.”

By Sam Davidson.