January 2017 News from the Western Native Trout Initiative, a project of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the National Fish Habitat Partnership.  
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WNTI Story Map     

WNTI has created a beautiful story map highlighting our work and featuring a projects map and stories on Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, interior Redband Trout, Gila Trout, Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, and Bonneville Cutthroat Trout. Click on the photo below to check it out!   

Rocky Mountain Flyathlon raises $35,000 

Our friends at the Rocky Mountain Flyathlon hosted two sold out "Run. Fish. Beer." events in Colorado in 2016, with event participants crowdraising $35,000 for projects benefiting native trout. Colorado Trout Unlimited and WNTI each received a $15,000 donation of funds raised, with another $5,000 staying with the Flyathlon's new 501c3 nonprofit Running Rivers to support future events.  WNTI will grant out the funds to projects in Colorado that focus on Colorado River Cutthroat Trout and Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout through its annual small grants program.  Stay tuned for more information this April.

The Rocky Mountain Flyathlon is a multi-sport event featuring trail running , fly fishing, and craft beer.  Its primary focus is to create citizen stewards, and to raise money for native fish projects including educational projects and trail and stream restoration. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer at an event to help educate participants, to help identify projects that best benefit native trout and where funding can be leveraged, or to help identify possibilities for future additional Flyathlon events click here.  


Middle Fork Flyathlon 2016

Featured WNTI project: "Get To Know Your Native"

Grant summary:  This 2015 grant from WNTI's small grant program supported a coordinated education and outreach effort focusing on raising awareness for the native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (RGCT) by promoting responsible angling for RGCT in both Colorado and New Mexico. Trout Unlimited and their partners developed a poster and sign about RGCT biology, evolutionary history, habitat needs, threats and current status, and how to fish for them responsibly.  WNTI funds for this project were spent on materials to produce 12 vinyl on metal trailhead signs and 2,500 posters.  Posters are being distributed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service, and numerous other organizations. Project partners have installed 6 signs at trailheads in Colorado including plans to install a sign at Medano Creek in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The trails relevant to this effort provide public access to streams and lakes that are currently occupied by Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout and are specifically managed for recreation.  New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is working with stakeholders to identify locations for trailhead sign installation in 2017. Read the final report here.   

Ute Creek, Colorado, trailhead sign

Middle Frisco trailhead near Del Norte, CO

Blueheads and Bonnevilles

Take 6 minutes out of your day and get inspired!  Watch "Blueheads and Bonnevilles", a short film about the work WNTI and the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership are doing with our partners in the Weber River, Utah, to benefit the native bluehead sucker and Bonneville Cutthroat Trout.  We produced the film to celebrate the fish and their habitat, western waters and landscapes, the strong partnership that has developed for the Weber River, and the 10th anniversary of the National Fish Habitat Partnership.  Many thanks to Sage Lion Media, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Utah Trout Unlimited for all their work in supporting this effort!



Applications for WNTI NFHP/USFWS FY17 funding
In November 2016, the WNTI Steering Committee reviewed proposals for WNTI/National Fish Habitat Partnership/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding in 2017. Many outstanding proposals were submitted and the pool of applicants exceeded the anticipated funding. We will notify successful applicants in April or May once we receive our funding allocation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thanks to everyone who submitted a proposal!

The Climate Shield cold-water refuge datasets & maps showing which streams are most likely to support cutthroat trout populations in Colorado this century under various climate change scenarios are now available on the project website. Identical datasets were developed previously for the other interior subspecies of cutthroat trout (Westslope, Yellowstone, Lahontan, Bonneville, etc.) so it is now possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons among thousands of cutthroat trout streams for strategic conservation planning. 

The Coastal Fish Habitat Partnerships Fall newsletter can be viewed here.  
We all know Joe Tomelleri for his beautiful native trout prints.  In October 2016, Joe produced a film Truchas Mexicanas, the Native Trout of Mexico.  Just under one hour in length, the film details the adventures of Truchas Mexicanas - a bi-national group that has been studying the trout of Mexico since 1997 and attempting to locate and document the 12 species of native trout that inhabit Mexico's rugged and forbidding Sierra Madre. 
If you had not yet had the chance, visit Dr. Kurt Fausch's website for information about his award winning book, For the Love of Rivers, plus a series of beautiful videos.  

The National Genomics Center for Wildlife & Fish Conservation just published their final protocol for eDNA sampling of aquatic organisms as a General Technical Report (RMRS-GTR-355). It is based on extensive field trials and lessons learned during the course of sampling thousands of sites the last few years. Aquatic eDNA sampling is far more rapid, less expensive, and more reliable than previous techniques for determining the presence/absence of different species in streams and rivers. The full report is available for download here

Thank you to all who made donations to support our conservation work! A special thank you to Bass Pro Shops, Orvis and Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers for their continuing support!

The future of native trout conservation depends directly on the generosity of individuals like you who care about sustaining healthy western watersheds.  When you give to WNTI, 100% of your donation benefits native trout - there are no overhead or administrative fees.  We leverage and match all donations alongside dedicated federal funds to jump-start critical, on-the-ground, locally led conservation projects within the last, best rivers and watersheds across the West.  To read more about how you can help, click here.

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Foundation for Western Fish and Wildlife is WNTI's 501c3 fiscal sponsor and accepts tax exempt donations on our behalf. To make an online donation to WNTI, please click on the DONATE HERE button below.
Operating under the guidance of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Native Trout Initiative is governed by a Steering Committee that represents 12 western states, 5 federal resource management agencies, tribes, and nonprofit fisheries conservation organizations. 

Julie Meka Carter, Chair, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Sjöberg, Vice Chair, Nevada Department of Wildlife
Drew Cushing, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Bruce McIntosh, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Tracy Smith, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Kirk Patten, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 
Jeff Dillon, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Craig Burley, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Paul Dey, Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Melissa Dickard, U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Scott Spaulding, U.S. Forest Service
Robert Clarke, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Warren Colyer, Trout Unlimited

Kelly Hepler, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Ed Schriever, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies


Therese Thompson, Project Coordinator

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