Hands-On, Volunteer Conservation Program Celebrates 25 Years of Rescuing Rivers
Trout Unlimited’s 2000 Embrace-A-Stream Grants Fund 47 Stream Recovery Projects
7/24/2000 — — Washington, D.C.. Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading coldwater conservation organization, today announced recipients of the 2000 Embrace-A-Stream (EAS) grants, distributing nearly a quarter of a million dollars ($230,000) in funding to 47 stream conservation projects in 20 states. The 2000 round of Embrace-A-Stream conservation grants marks the program’s 25th anniversary in which it has awarded almost $2.5 million to over 673 individual TU chapter and council projects nationwide.
Embrace-A-Stream grants were awarded to projects in the following states: California, Colorado (5 projects), Connecticut, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Michigan (7 projects), Nevada (3 projects), New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (4 projects), North Carolina (2 projects), Oregon, Pennsylvania (7 projects), Tennessee, Utah (2 projects), Washington (2 projects), West Virginia, Wisconsin (2 projects), and Wyoming. In addition to funding work in high profile locations like Great Smoky Mountain and Great Basin National Parks, EAS projects will occur in more remote areas that support Bonneville cutthroat trout, coaster brook trout, chum salmon, steelhead, and other unique native salmonids.
“Since 1975, Embrace-A-Stream has been Trout Unlimited’s flagship program for funding grassroots trout and salmon habitat restoration. Embrace-A-Stream grants serve as ‘seed money’ for large and small watershed and fisheries conservation efforts,” said TU Embrace-A-Stream Director Joe McGurrin. “Embrace-A-Stream grants allow Trout Unlimited volunteers to take a hands-on approach to cleaning up their home waters. The grants not only generate matching dollars, but are often matched with donated materials and volunteer labor worth many times the initial investment.”
EAS funds usually come entirely through voluntary contributions from Trout Unlimited members across America, but this year the One Fly Foundation made a generous contribution that expanded the financial base of the program. To receive an Embrace-A-Stream grant, a project must meet rigorous scientific standards and incorporate active TU volunteer involvement. A panel of Trout Unlimited’s scientific advisors and regional representatives carefully evaluate project proposals to ensure that they are scientifically sound and advance TU’s mission of conserving, protecting, and restoring coldwater fisheries.
Over 80 Trout Unlimited chapters competed for EAS grants for up to $10,000 per project. “Virtually all of the applications were good efforts.” stated McGurrin. “While the projects we selected receive a lot of recognition, they represent just a small fraction of the thousands of resource, research, and education efforts conducted by our members every year.”
Sample highlights from 2000 Embrace-A-Stream winners include:
Michigan: The Copper Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited received a $9,775 Embrace-A-Stream grant to assist its efforts to restore the native “coaster” brook trout in Lake Superior. The project will involve the reintroduction of coasters in the Gratiot River and will serve as a model for future reintroductions of the trout into streams in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Known as “coasters” because of their preference for near-shore lake habitat, this unique form of brook trout once provided a highly valued and productive fishery along shoreline areas and in tributary streams that supported spawning populations. Today, only a few populations remain. Three viable U.S. populations are known to exist (two on Isle Royale and one in the Salmon-Trout River located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula). The dramatic decline of the coaster brook trout is believed to be due to habitat loss and over harvest.
North Carolina & Tennessee: The two state councils were awarded $10,000 for their Great Smoky Mountains National Park project seeking to bring back native brook trout. The species has dramatically decreased due to the invasion of non-native rainbow trout and the long-standing problem of acid rain. Acid rain kills trout outright, by dissolving naturally occurring aluminum, which poisons the fish’s gills, leading to circulatory failure and death. While TU continues to fight for an improved Clean Air Act, which can reduce acid rain, the EAS project will focus on reintroducing brook trout to historic habitats in lower elevations that are more buffered from the acidity.
Utah & Nevada: With the partnership of the Goshute Indian Tribe and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utah and Nevada Councils of TU will begin the fourth phase of their five-year effort to reestablish native trout on the Tribal lands located in the Deep Creek Mountain Range of Utah and Nevada. Together, the groups have begun to restore the Bonneville cutthroat trout by protecting their genetic integrity and improving their habitat. The work includes the installation of fencing to keep cattle away from stream banks and instream habitat, streambank stabilization, sediment removal, and the removal of stocked rainbow trout to prevent hybridization of the cutthroat population. Over the past four years, Embrace-A-Stream has granted a total of $22,500, which has leveraged an additional $100,000 in local in-kind match for the restoration of the rare, native Bonneville cutthroat trout.
Pennsylvania: The Iron Furnace Chapter will continue their efforts to restore the headwaters of Little Mill Creek. The chapter has received EAS grants in the past and has been awarded a total of $196,000 from various sources. This year TU’s EAS gave the chapter $5,000 in their partnership with Union Township PA for acid mine drainage reclamation. The acquisition of matching funds will allow the chapter to further develop two treatment systems that will neutralize acidity coming from abandoned coal mining sites.
Wisconsin: The Eliott Donelly Chapter will be working with the Gary Borger, Lee Wulff, and Oakbrook Chapters, as well as the state-sponsored Middle Kickapoo Priority Watershed Program, to help recreate overhead habitat cover and control streambank erosion on Warner Creek in the Kickapoo watershed, in southwest Wisconsin. Warner Creek has been identified as a priority area for stream habitat restoration by the Kickapoo Watershed Conservation Plan which was also developed by TU and its partners. The participants have been given a $6,500 grant from EAS to improve water quality and stream habitat for wild trout by controlling streambank erosion and recreating overhead cover.