TU duo wins prestigious Leopold Awards

Dave Sweet, left, and Joe McGurrin—two of TU’s finest.

Long-time Trout Unl

imited Director of Resources Joe McGurrin and David Sweet, a volunteer leader with TU’s East Yellowstone Chapter were awarded the two most prestigious awards at the Wild Trout Symposium in West Yellowstone, Mont., this week.

The Aldo Starker Leopold Wild Trout Award is given to both a professional and non-professional “who in the eyes of their peers have made long-time and significant contributions to the enhancement, protection, and preservation of wild trout.”

McGurrin’s work for TU over the past 25 years has benefited nearly every species of wild and native trout and salmon species from coast to coast. Most recently, his research and work with fisheries biologists in the Southwest has resulted in successful reintroduction and protection efforts for rare Gila trout after wildfires put the fish and their habitat at risk. Joe also can be credited with helping start TU’s Home Rivers Initiative program that today supports several ongoing restoration and protection campaigns all across America.

Dave Sweet of Cody, Wyo., has been a volunteer leader in the effort to help reduce the impact of invasive lake trout on the Yellowstone cutthroat trout population in Yellowstone Lake. He has spearheaded the TU volunteer-driven effort to help the National Park Service monitor lake trout movement in the lake using telemetry equipment purchased with money raised from the TU volunteer base. Using this data, biologists are able to determine where lake trout spawn and where they congregate at any given time over the course of a year, making removal efforts more effective. In recent years, thanks to the ongoing removal efforts of lake trout from Yellowstone Lake, native cutthroats are returning to their natal spawning waters and population numbers are up.

By Chris Hunt.