Did you ever stop and think while fishing how lucky we are to have the fisheries we love to fish? A lot of work goes into preserving our resources, most of which goes unseen. The organizations that fight to keep these fisheries alive are often overlooked and few know that they even exist. Without these, the fish stocks, habitat and areas we recreate in would be in deep peril and some may not exist altogether. Here are 5 fishing organizations that are leading the way to help preserve the fisheries we love.
TROUT UNLIMITED (TU):
This non-profit organization is nationwide and is driven by the local chapters in each state and cities that have great fisheries. Their motto “To conserve, protect and restore North America’s Coldwater fisheries and their watersheds” pretty much sums up what they do to help our watersheds. Founded in 1959 in Michigan, TU’s work spans close to a million miles of cold water from coast to coast. They act whether on Capitol Hill or putting their feet on the ground getting dirty restoring watersheds impacted by development, dams and cut off tributaries. To get involved, look for your local chapter. I live in Eagle County Colorado: Eagle Valley Chapter #102 www.eaglevalley.tu.org
EAGLE RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL (ERWC):
A local organization, the ERWC’s mission “advocates for the health and conservation of the Upper Colorado and Eagle River basins through research, education, and projects. The Watershed Council strives to protect and enhance the high-quality natural, scenic and economic values that our rivers and tributaries provide to citizens, visitors and wildlife of the Eagle River and Colorado River watersheds located in Eagle County.” Our watershed has an annual flow of 415,000-acre-feet of water and this organization understands that all our actions in this watershed are related. From land use, transportation, recreation to public access ERWC is leading the way to mindful designs on how these activities impact the watershed and use this information for long-term solutions to preserve it. Contact ERWC today to see how you can help at 970-827-5406 Email www.erwc.org
NATIVE FISH SOCIETY (NFS):
Primarily focused on the Pacific Northwest, “The Native Fish Society exists to cultivate a groundswell of public support needed to revive abundant wild, native fish.” Their mission “guided by the best available science, NFS advocates for the recovery of wild, native fish and promotes the stewardship of the habitats that sustain us all.” This organization understands how we are all intertwined and that healthy wild fish populations in their natural state affect us all and the importance of a healthy ecosystem that can’t exist without one another, fish, wildlife and people. Native Fish Society offers several ways to help including photo contributions, becoming a river steward, fellowship programs and donations. Call 503-344-4218 Email www.nativefishsociety.org
BONEFISH AND TARPON TRUST (BTT):
If you are like me, you live for warm days on a flat somewhere chasing tails. BTT is helping to pave the way to preserve this lifestyle. Their mission “To conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education, and advocacy.” BTT is the leading conservation group protecting our saltwater flats fisheries. They work with local fishermen and governments to protect and restore habitats and precious nurseries for future generations through a science-based approach. Ways to get involved include membership, donating, volunteering and tagging. Contact 786-618-9479 Email www.bonefishtarpontrust.org
NATIONAL FISH AND WILDLIFE FOUNDATION (NFWF):
Mission: “The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is dedicated to sustaining restoring and enhancing the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations.” They build partnerships between the leading U.S. corporations and the federal agencies, nonprofits and individuals who drive conservation efforts across the United States. While not just specific to fish, the NFWF ties in the natural world and understands that we need to protect all these resources because they all feed off each other. Science-based evidence ensures that the Foundation’s efforts will have the highest possible value and lasting effect. www.nfsf.org or 202-857-0166.
There are many ways to help preserve our fisheries and these organizations are a great start. Monetary donations help but they are not the only means of contributing to the conservation of our fisheries. Contact these organizations to help or choose one of your own. Now is the time to give back so we can ensure the future of our beloved watersheds.
Brett Elkman – Sales Manager