What Has Trout Unlimited Done for Us?

At the general meeting on April 25, 1998 a discussion was held on whether or not to comply with a request from Trout Unlimited for a contribution to the Coldwater Conservation Fund for scientific and economic research and pilot watershed restoration projects. In the course of the discussion the question was asked, "What has Trout Unlimited done for us?"

This negative question and the attitude it suggests towards the National Organization probably was generated because national's view of the Guadalupe River tailrace, which we all dearly love, as an artificial trout fishery leaves our membership feeling somewhat misplaced. We members of GRTU have very strong feelings about our local river as evidenced by the number of member dollars and volunteer hours that are dedicated to the fishery.

The reality, however, is that the tailrace is in fact an artificial trout fishery created by the cold water releases from Canyon Dam and thereby misses the mission of the Coldwater Conservation Fund to protect and restore coldwater fishes and their native habitat.

The answer to the question "What has Trout Unlimited done for us?" must be based on a much broader scale. If you fish for trout or salmon anywhere in the country, Trout Unlimited has done something for you. If you enjoy the outdoors and our nation’s rivers and streams, Trout Unlimited has done something for you. They/We have been leaders in scientific research on trout and their habitat, and in lobbying efforts for conservation-minded legislation. These include watershed restoration (which also benefits migratory birds such as Wilson's snipe and numerous waterfowl, which benefits migratory raptors such as the bald eagle, etc.) and the first ever scientific review of the impact of whirling disease on wild trout populations. While working as a watchdog on environmental issues, TU is actively working with agricultural and other interests seeking compromises to benefit all concerned—including the fish, and by extension, the fisherman.

It is an overwhelming task to itemize everything TU has done for us as fishermen and conservation-minded citizens. While the members of this chapter are to be applauded for their dedication to our local fishery, we shouldn't lose sight of the mammoth task TU takes on in cleaning up and restoring this country's long ignored cold water resources.

Every member will enjoy the benefits that come from a cleaner, healthier coldwater environment. We have come a long way in our efforts but there is still much to be done. Maybe our question to Trout Unlimited should be, "What more can we do?"

Billy Trimble Alan Bray
President, GRTU Past President, GRTU

Return to October 1998 Newsletter