Wild Steelheaders United reaches the one-year mark, reports significant progress in advocating for wild steelhead

In first year, angler-driven initiative generates more than 4,000 supporters, makes gains in protecting and restoring the iconic sport fish in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California

CONTACT: Rob Masonis / VP Western Conservation, Trout Unlimited rmasonis@tu.org / (206) 491-9016

Shauna Sherard/ Communications Director, Northwest Region, Trout Unlimited ssherard@tu.org/ (307) 757-7861

(Nov. 20, 2015) Seattle, WASH. Wild Steelheaders United celebrated its first birthday today and marked the occasion with reflections on the progress the angler-driven initiative has made in restoring habitat, educating anglers and policy-makers about steelhead science, and modifying resource management practices and regulations to better sustain wild steelhead populations.

Wild Steelheaders United (WSU) is a project of Trout Unlimited (TU), the nations oldest and largest sportsmens organization dedicated to protecting and restoring native trout and salmon and their watersheds. WSU aims to improve habitat conditions, boost wild fish numbers, and make steelhead management more effective by promulgating the latest steelhead science and bringing the voice of anglers to bear on steelhead policy.

Rob Masonis, TUs Vice President for Western Conservation, said, Wild Steelheaders United is an optimistic and pragmatic effort to save our wild steelheadthis countrys iconic game fish and the object of desire for a hard-core community of anglers . Im pleased with the significant progress weve made over our first year, and expect even greater gains in the years to come as we work toward the ultimate goal of restoring wild steelhead runs across their native range.

Wild steelhead are the legendary freshwater game fish of the West Coast. The difficulty of catching a steelhead, as well as the fishs beauty, power, and remarkable life history, have generated a passionate following among anglers of all tackle types. However, due to a variety of factors wild steelhead runs have declined dramatically over the past half-century and today 70 percent of all wild steelhead populations are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Masonis added that a recent three-state survey of steelhead anglers commissioned by Trout Unlimited revealed very strong support for wild steelhead conservation, with a solid majority of anglers willing to manage some rivers specifically for wild steelhead, as well as modify angling seasons and tackle types to sustain runs and sustain angling opportunities.

John McMillan, WSUs Science Director, noted that the initiatives accomplishments thus far cover much of the historic range for wild steelhead.

In just our first year of existence, WSU helped widen stream buffers for timber harvest around streams in Oregon. We leveraged partnerships with farmers and wine grape growers in California and Washington to leave more water in streams when steelhead need it most. We educated hundreds of anglers and policy makers about steelhead science from Los Angeles to Seattle. And, we ensured that the voice of anglers is heard as several states consider modifications to angling regulations and hatchery operations that will substantially improve the prospects for wild steelhead, he said.

For more information on the WSU go to wildsteelheaders.org.

About Trout Unlimited – http://www.tu.org 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 follow our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.