Trout Unlimited praises new Natural Resouces Investment Center

Trout Unlimited Statement

Dec. 15, 2015

Contact: Scott Yates, director, TU Western Water and Habitat program,, (307) 349-0753

Randy Scholfield, TU director of Communications, Southwest region,, 720-375-3961

Trout Unlimited praises new Natural Resources Investment Center

(Washington, D.C.) — Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell unveiled today, at the White House Roundtable for Water Innovation, a new Natural Resources Investment Center to foster greater investment in water efficiency and innovation in the West. Secretary Jewell said the Natural Resources Investment Center will work to support innovative ideas and leverage private and public financing options for projects that conserve Western water resources and also protect fish and wildlife habitat. Read the Interior Department press release here.

Scott Yates, director of Trout Unlimiteds Western Water and Habitat program, issued the following statement in response to Jewells announcement:

We are pleased that the administration is giving water stakeholders in the West more tools for creatively responding to the challenges of drought and a changing climate. These challenges present tremendous opportunities to modernize our infrastructure and manage demand in ways that add flexibility to our water systems while promoting healthy river flows and fish habitat.

For example, Trout Unlimited is currently partnering closely with ranchers and farmers to implement the Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP), designed to test innovative approaches to reducing consumptive water use and demand in the Colorado River Basin and bolster storage levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Funded by a combination of municipal and federal dollars, the SCPP has been favored by producers because it gives them flexibility, does not separate water rights from the land, and is a fairly straightforward process with low transaction costs. Via the SCPP program, TU and other stakeholders are implementing on-the-ground projects in the Upper Colorado Basin such as split-season irrigation in Wyoming and other states. Were also working with producers in the Gunnison River basin in Colorado on projects to reduce water use through drip irrigation and conversion to crops that use less water.

We hope the Center will help jumpstart innovative, pragmatic approaches to water managementincluding conservation, reuse, sharing and infrastructure upgradesand prioritize programs such as WaterSMART, Farm Bill Conservation Title programs, and the SCPP that put these ideas to work on the ground. Moreover, the Center can help ensure these projects get more bang for their buck by matching federal dollars with state, municipal, and private funds. It is important that we make the most of this investment opportunity in water infrastructure to ensure benefits to a triple bottom line: to agricultural water users, to the environment, and to municipal demand.

We applaud the administration for its forward-looking vision in addressing water challenges in the West, and we look forward to working with stakeholders to make the new Center a success.

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Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at