Arizona Trout Unlimited receives award for conservation work

Joe Miller (fourth from right) accepts award on behalf of AZ TU Council.

Arizona Trout Unlimited receives award for conservation work

AZ Council lauded as best that TU has to offer at annual meeting

(Bozeman, Mont.)At the annual national meeting of Trout Unlimited on Sept. 30, the Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited (AZTU) received the 2016 Council Award of Excellence for its long record of conservation successesTUs highest award for state TU organizations.

The nominating letter for the award said that AZTU has established itself as one of Arizonas leading conservation organizations. It has built tremendously productive relationships with the states conservation organizations and key elected officials, and has brought together different fishing organizations in the state and united their voices more cohesively than has ever been in the past.

Among the councils recent accomplishments:

Rapidly expanded the Trout in the Classroom program (TIC) from 3 classrooms in the state in 2014 to 17 classrooms in 2015 to 29 classrooms in the fall 2016 school year. TIC is a hands-on, interdisciplinary program in which more than 1,800 students in grades 3-12 learn about coldwater conservation by raising trout from eggs to fingerlings in a classroom aquarium.

Helped initiate and guide the national office of TU in developing a new priority campaign, the Southwest Native Trout Strategy (SWNTS), aimed at protecting three rare and threatened Southwest native trout species (Apache, Gila and Rio Grande Cutthroat) through ramped-up restoration, reconnection, reintroduction and monitoring efforts.

Worked with federal, state and non-government organizations in the development of a long-term management plan for the operation of Glen Canyon Dam at Lees Ferry on the Colorado River, including recommendations for improving the recreational trout fishery.

Helped lead a successful campaign to persuade the Interior Department to protect 1 million acres of public lands and wildlife habitat surrounding the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining.

In the past six years, more than 1,700 Arizona TU members have contributed (conservatively) 46,000-plus volunteer hoursa value of over $1 million.

The council is the governing body for AZTUs grassroots chapters, including the Grand Canyon Chapter #190 (Flagstaff), the Old Pueblo Trout Unlimited (OPTU) (Tucson), Zane Grey Trout Unlimited (Phoenix), and the Gila Trout Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Payson area).

Were honored to receive this award, which is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our chapter members, volunteers and partners, said Steve LaFalce, AZTU council chairman. Arizonas magnificent rivers and trout streams are a priceless asset for the stateand they face tough challenges, from wildfires to invasive species. Were eager to keep doing conservation work that advances TUs mission to conserve, protect and restore coldwater fisheries.

# # #

Trout Unlimited is a non-profit organization with 150,000 members nationwide dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.