Trout Unlimited Hires Project Director For South Fork Snake River Home Rivers Initiative
Scott Yates , Western Native Trout Program Director , TU 406-522-7291
Western Native Trout Program Director
10/2/2001 — Idaho Falls, Idaho — Trout Unlimited announced today the hiring of Matt Woodard, a long-time southeast Idaho resident and Idaho native, to direct the conservation group’s South Fork Snake River Home Rivers Initiative (HRI). The purpose of TU’s South Fork Snake River HRI is to work with stakeholders – including state and federal resource agencies, government officials, private landowners, and environmental groups – to develop long-term solutions to difficult and recurring natural resource problems impacting native Yellowstone cutthroat populations.
Woodard has worked the past twelve years as both a mechanic and agricultural equipment salesman for Bonneville County Implement and the Demott Tractor Company. Prior to that time, he helped operate the J.D. Woodard & Sons Farm Partnership Dry Farm Operation on his family farm on Antelope Flats from 1976-1991. He has been an Eastside Soil Conservation Board member for the past three years, including a two-year term as chairman. Mr. Woodard’s diverse background also includes roles as a former president and board member of the Upper Snake River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a founding member of the South Fork Coalition, and an active participant in the South Fork Watershed Council and Citizens Advisory Task Force for the Snake River Activity Operations Plan.
“Local TU members have known and worked with Matt for years,” said Upper Snake River Chapter President John Lent. “We’re really looking forward to providing grassroots support for TU’s efforts on the South Fork and protecting an important native trout resource for future generations.”
The South Fork Snake River, while still a world-class native trout fishery, is threatened from a variety of factors including hybridization and competition between native Yellowstone cutthroat and introduced rainbow trout, tributary habitat degradation, mainstem habitat damage from historic dam operations, and development within the floodplain, all of which are exacerbated by unnaturally low winter flows during low flow and drought years. The loss or further decline of the South Fork Yellowstone cutthroat fishery – one of the last remaining strongholds outside of Yellowstone National Park – has broad implications for the future of one of the West’s great native species, a fish now found in less than 40% of its historic range.
“The South Fork is a native trout fishery of international significance,” according to Idaho TU National Resource Board member Bob Dunnagan. “The Idaho Council enthusiastically welcomes Matt to the TU conservation team, and believes he will bring a common sense perspective to working with state and federal resource agencies, private landowners, and fishermen to develop innovative, scientifically defensible, and collaborative solutions to difficult natural resource issues facing the South Fork Watershed.”
“We worked hard to find a project director with community roots, added Scott Yates, Director of TU’s Western Native Trout Program. “These are extraordinarily difficult resource issues, and protecting the South Fork’s native trout will require community buy-in; we think Matt will be able to facilitate those types of discussions.”
For more information: For more information:
Bob Dunnagan, Idaho Council of Trout Unlimited: 208-263-4433;
John Lent, TU Upper Snake River Chapter: 208-552-0622