Jack Rabbit, Texas-Photo Credit Chase Fountain

Burrowing Owl, Nevada - Photo Credit Tim Torrell

Eyed Trout Eggs, Tonto Creek Hatchery AZ - Photo Credit George Andrejko

Humpback Whales, Orca, Alaska - Photo Credit Sandstrom, Riley Woodford

 
 
 

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Deep in the West, under a secret rock in a cool stream, lies a prize worth finding. Anglers of all skill levels are invited to participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge and put the lure of the West on their bucket list. In addition to earning bragging rights and prizes at the Expert, Advanced and Master Levels, participants will help the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) conserve 21 species of native trout.

The 12 states where these native trout can be found are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states are partnering on the effort, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited.

“We’ve been working for decades with our partners to conserve and rebuild native trout species across the West,” said Ed Schriever, Director of Idaho Fish and Game Department and Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Partnership Board of Directors. “The Western Native Trout Challenge is a great way to promote angling for these beautiful fish, keep people connected to native fish and their habitat while raising awareness and support for the need to conserve them.”

Native trout are the embodiment of the West. The wild rivers, alpine lakes, and trickling arroyos — the fiber of Western geography — are the habitat for the redband, the cutthroat, and the Gila.

The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of the 12 Western states, at their own pace. There are three levels of achievement: Participants who catch six trout species across four states will earn “Expert Caster” rewards. Those who catch 12 trout species across eight states will earn “Advanced Caster” rewards. And those who catch 18 species across all 12 states will not only enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, they will also be designated as a “Master Caster” with rewards to match.

Anglers can get details on which fish to catch and where to find them by registering on the website, WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org.  Registration is $25 per adult and is free for those 17 and under. The vast majority (92%) of the fee will go toward helping conserve native trout populations for future generations to also enjoy. 

“We’re thrilled to be launching this fun way to support native trout conservation across the West,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “For every $25 program registration fee, $23 will go directly back to conservation projects that are helping native trout populations thrive. We want anglers to learn about these unique species and where they can go to catch them. In addition, catching the selected species helps conserve them by promoting angling and fishing license sales for native trout species, which also supports conservation efforts. It’s a wonderful way to help conserve these beautiful species, in beautiful places, at your own pace.”

The Western Native Trout Challenge is complementing a similar effort in some states. Anglers can participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge at the same time they participate in state specific programs, including the Arizona Trout Challenge, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Nevada Native Fish-Slam, Utah Cutthroat Slam and the Wyoming Cutt-slam.

Learn more, and register at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org

Follow the action on:

Twitter: @WNativeTrout
Instagram: @WesternNativeTrout
FB: /westernnativetrout

Media Contact:
Lydia Saldana, 817-851-5729
lydia.saldana@wafwa.org

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a nationally recognized partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program that works cooperatively across 12 Western states to conserve 21 native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $29 million in federal, public and private funds to serve 139 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 87 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,130 miles of native trout habitat and put in place 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.

Posted by WAFWA at 5/15/2019 10:48:00 PM
Monday, April 8, 2019

Invasive Plant Crisis Threaten Sagebrush Habitat Across the West

Posted by WAFWA at 4/9/2019 2:39:00 AM
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has adopted a conservation plan for monarch butterflies that range across seven western states. The plan was adopted on Jan. 5 at WAFWA’s mid-winter meeting, held this year in Tucson, Arizona. The newly adopted Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan establishes population size and habitat conservation goals, strategies, and actions for the monarch butterflies that overwinter along the California coast and range primarily across California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

Along with the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy adopted in June 2018 by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan is designed to secure the future of the species range-wide. The Western Monarch Population Initiative Council will oversee implementation of the plan. The Council will include the directors, or their designee, of the seven states within the western portion of the monarch range, a member of the WAFWA Executive Committee, and up to seven ex-officio members representing key sectors and agency partners.

The monarch butterfly is an iconic species in North America and its annual migration cycle is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena in the world. However, over the past 20 years, the monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent throughout much of its range. Several other pollinators have experienced similarly dramatic declines in recent decades. Habitat loss for breeding and foraging is a primary threat to many of these species. Since January 2018, WAFWA member states have been leading an effort to develop a strategy to enhance and conserve monarch populations west of the Rockies. University and non-governmental partners interested in monarch and pollinator conservation are also involved in the effort.

“This conservation plan is a great opportunity for WAFWA and the member states within the range of the western population of monarchs to work collaboratively with our conservation partners,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA Grassland Coordinator.  “Developing a regional conservation plan will not only benefit monarchs and other pollinators, but all wildlife species that depend on healthy, diverse grassland habitats. Over the years, we have learned by working with industry and landowners we can identify solutions to keep working lands in production while conserving wildlife at the same time.”

The Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan sets both population and habitat objectives. The population objective is to achieve a 5-year running average by 2029 of 500,000 monarch butterflies counted at 75 sites with the highest counts during the Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count. That would represent a near doubling of the 2017 population estimate. Habitat-related goals include creating an additional 50,000 acres of monarch-friendly habitat in California’s Central Valley and adjacent foothills, and by 2029 establishing protection and management for 50% of all currently known and active monarch overwintering sites, including 90% of the most important overwintering sites. It is envisioned that the plan will be updated every five years with additional goals based on progress and information available at the time.

Achieving these goals may be more attainable in the Western population range than the Mid-American population range because a large portion of habitat in the Western range is public land. Conservation elements include a system to track implementation efforts identified in the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan and transition milkweed data into WAFWA’s Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool. With this information accessible on-line, land managers will be able to identify and prioritize areas for monarch and other pollinator conservation efforts.

Link to:  Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan

Media contact: Bill Van Pelt
602-717-5066
bill.vanpelt@wafwa.org

WAFWA news releases available at www.wafwa.org/news/         

Photo Credit - Oklahoma, Jena Donnell

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

 

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Posted by WAFWA at 1/22/2019 10:04:00 PM
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

WAFWA Seeks Public Comment on Draft Monarch Butterfly Conservation Management Plan

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) is seeking public comment on a draft regional plan to enhance and target monarch butterfly conservation west of the Rocky Mountains. In September 2018, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a grant to WAFWA to develop a regional strategy to improve coordination and conservation among monarch butterfly and other pollinator partners.

The monarch butterfly is an iconic species in North America and its annual migration cycle is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena in the world. However, over the past 20 years, the monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent throughout much of its range. Several other pollinators have experienced similarly dramatic declines in recent decades. Habitat loss is a primary threat to many of these species.

Since January 2018, WAFWA members states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada have been leading an effort to develop a conservation strategy to conserve and enhance monarch populations west of the Rockies. University and non-governmental partners interested in monarch and pollinator conservation are also involved in the effort.

“This draft conservation plan is a great opportunity for WAFWA and the member states within the range of the western population of monarchs to work collaboratively,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA Grassland Coordinator.  “Developing a regional conservation plan will not only benefit monarchs and other pollinators, but all wildlife species that depend on healthy diverse grassland habitats. Over the years we have learned by working with industry and landowners we can identify solutions to keep working lands in production while conserving wildlife at the same time.”

Conservation elements include a system to track implementation efforts identified in the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan and transition milkweed data into WAFWA’s Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool. With this information accessible on-line, land managers will be able to identify and prioritize areas for monarch and other pollinator conservation efforts.

Currently, WAFWA and their partners are inviting the public to participate in the development of the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan. The public is encouraged to provide input by sending comments to MonarchComments@wildlife.ca.gov by December 6, 2018.

Media contact: Bill Van Pelt
602-717-5066
bill.vanpelt@wafwa.org

Photo Credit - NEBRASKAland Magazine-Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

WAFWA news releases available at www.wafwa.org/news/         

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

 

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Posted by WAFWA at 11/6/2018 3:00:00 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) has awarded $23,205 out of its small grant program for nine projects, which will be matched by $514,364  in other public and private funding. More than $537,569 in conservation efforts benefitting western native trout will occur as a result.

“We’re very grateful to our partners at Rocky Mountain Flyathlon, RepYourWater, Basin+Bend, and all our individual donors for supporting our 2018 Small Grants Program,” said Therese Thompson, WNTI Project Coordinator. “The community-based projects were selected because of their emphasis on collaborative action and outreach to help address challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.”

Posted by WAFWA at 10/10/2018 9:00:00 AM
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded a grant to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to develop a regional strategy and supporting plans to improve coordination among monarch butterfly conservation partners west of the Rocky Mountains.

The $120,000 grant was matched by $120,000 from WAFWA members states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.  The grant will provide for increased organizational capacity and coordination among organizations, states and regions engaged in pollinator conservation. State and federal agencies and other conservation partners will be invited to participate in the development of a Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan.

The grant funding will support work to develop regional strategies and plans, build capacity and expertise, maximize information exchange and distribute information about on-the-ground conservation practices. The project will develop and track implementation efforts identified in the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan, and transition milkweed data into WAFWA’s Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool. Once milkweed data is imported into that tool, scientists will have the ability to identify and prioritize areas for monarch and other pollinator conservation efforts.

“This is a great opportunity for WAFWA and the member states within the range of the western population of monarchs to work collaboratively with all partners interested in monarch and pollinator conservation,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA Grassland Coordinator.  “Developing a regional conservation plan will not only benefit monarchs and other pollinators, but all wildlife species that depend on healthy diverse grassland habitats.”

The monarch butterfly is one of the most iconic species in North America and its annual migration cycle is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena in the world. However, over the past 20 years, the monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent throughout much of its range. Several other pollinators have experienced similarly dramatic declines in recent decades. Habitat loss is a primary threat to many of these species.

The grant awarded to WAFWA is one of seven grant awards totaling more than $920,000 to conserve monarch butterflies and other insect pollinators in 19 states across the country. The grants will generate more than $2 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $2.9 million.

The 2018 grants were awarded through NFWF’s Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund. This year’s funding partners include Shell Oil Company, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Land Management.

“These grants will support collaborative efforts to conserve monarch butterflies and other at-risk pollinators,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These projects will create habitat for the many pollinators that are vital not only to the health of our ecosystem but also the strength of our economy.”

Media contact: Bill Van Pelt
602-717-5066
bill.vanpelt@wafwa.org

Photo Credit: NEBRASKAland Magazine-Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

WAFWA news releases available at www.wafwa.org/news/

 

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

 

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Posted by WAFWA at 9/19/2018 8:30:00 AM
Monday, August 27, 2018

Ken Mayer has been involved in sagebrush conservation issues for 30 years and now serves as the Coordinator of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Fire and Invasive Initiative. He also serves as the Chairman of the WAFWA Fire and Invasive Working Group.

You might be the anomaly these past few summers and falls if you live in the western United States and can see a horizon clear of brown smudge from the smoke of the pervasive wildfires. The news is saturated with the reports of devastating blazes and taxed fire-fighting resources across the West. The immensity of these fire seasons is overwhelming. So many of us in the conservation community have heavy hearts when we think about environmental and human costs involved in these wildfires, especially the effect on the local communities and all our state, federal, industry, non-profit, and other partners that are directly and indirectly involved in fighting these fires and then dealing with the aftermath of the invasion on non-native invasive annual grasses.

We have slid into a self-fulfilling cycle in sagebrush country where large fires burn huge swaths of sagebrush (especially in the Great Basin), and invasives grasses then fill in that fire’s scar.  The smallest spark can ignite those fine fuels, just as soon as they’ve dried out each summer. Sagebrush takes decades to grow back into their native locations after fire. Unfortunately, the speed at which invasive annual grasses take over doesn’t give the sagebrush a chance, and if the same area burns again soon after (which often happens), the sagebrush is virtually eliminated, resulting in the conversion to an invasive annual grass savanna.

If you went to the doctor and they said you have cancer, but it’s still early stage, what do you do? It’s all-hands-on-deck to try all the treatments to cure it before it progresses too far--right? You wouldn’t wait for the invention of a single cure-all pill to start fighting. Cheatgrass and other invasive annual grasses have to be treated the same way. We cannot wait until we have the perfect solution to start addressing this pending natural disaster. If we wait, it may be too late!

Though we all get excited about the next cheatgrass-killing bacteria or biocontrol, we have a number of tools in our toolbox right now to fight this invasive spread. One small tool came out this spring when the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released a report assessing the fire and invasive management options for sagebrush conservation. The “Wildfire and Invasive Plant Species in the Sagebrush Biome: Challenges that Hinder Current and Future Management and Protection – A Gap Report Update” builds on previously published work to summarize the policy, fiscal, and science challenges that land managers encounter in conserving sagebrush, especially regards to the invasive annual grass/fire cycle.

The goal of this Gap Analysis Report Update is to provide a roadmap, for the decision-makers responsible for managing the sagebrush sea, to the challenges and the tools available to address this crisis.  This report points out what the problems are, what successes we are having, and the gaps we need to address, with suggestions on what needs to be done.. This report is being embraced throughout the conservation community, however we need to continue to elevate this to the decisions makers.

The top five gaps are organized in term of priority and severity. The first and most pressing gap can be summarized as the lack of capacity, common conservation priorities and consistent long-term dedicated (line-item) funding for invasive plant management programs. In other words, the cost of managing these infestations increases exponentially as invasives spread. The funding appropriated each year to government programs is often barely enough to cover base salaries.

Reading of the seemingly insurmountable challenges sagebrush country faces can be depressing, especially as we breathe this smoky August air. Yet, the development of this multiagency report has been one of the most productive collaborations I’ve been involved with in my career. We know the problems and we have tools to work on them. Invasives are going to win if we hesitate. We do not have time to wait. Now we just have to have the fortitude and shared vision to get it done.

By Ken Mayer

ken.e.mayer@gmail.com

As part of the 2018 People of the Sage: Fire & Invasives series, this article is telling the stories of the people combating the twin threats of wildfire and invasive species by showcasing their work in sagebrush country using innovative, successful conservation practices that are both proactive and reactive. To see more posts from this series search for #SagebrushCountry and #fireANDinvasives on social media.

 

 

Posted by WAFWA at 8/27/2018 9:51:00 PM
Monday, August 13, 2018

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is awarding $232,640 in grant funding for eight projects that benefit native trout species across the western United States. The community-based projects are funded through the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The projects were selected because of their emphasis on collaborative action to address some of the biggest challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.

"Our main objectives are to leverage and support strategic, local efforts that stabilize, recover and improve populations of western native trout,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “In addition to the grant funding we’re providing through the National Fish Habitat Partnership, local partners have secured additional matching funds totaling $2.33 million dollars for these projects.”

The following native trout habitat projects have been approved for funding by WNTI for 2018:

COLORADO: Rock Creek Recovery Program Phases 3 and 4
This project will create a connected population of Greenback Cutthroat Trout across Rock Creek and its tributary Black Canyon, eliminate whirling disease from a portion of the drainage where it is established, and provide seven stream miles for native trout on a combination of private land and National Forest. The project includes an innovative approach to intermediate barriers, featuring two temporary barriers that can be removed and replaced as needed, along with one permanent barrier at the downstream end of the project reach. The lead partner is Colorado Trout Unlimited.

IDAHO: Kootenai River GMU Redband Assessment
This project seeks to improve the current level of knowledge regarding Interior Redband Trout distribution and abundance in the Kootenai River Basin and provide information critical for the protection and or restoration of Redband Trout populations and their habitat in the basin. The lead partner is Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

IDAHO: Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project, Phase 2
This is the second phase of a project to improve riparian conditions and habitat for Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, northern leatherside chub, boreal toad, western pearl shell mussels and bluehead suckers. The lead partner is Trout Unlimited.

NEW MEXICO: Leandro Creek Restoration Project
The project will isolate and extend 2.5 miles of current habitat for a core Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout population with an additional 5.25 miles of habitat on Leandro Creek through construction of a new barrier to replace an aging wooden barrier and control of non-native salmonids. The lead partner is Turner Enterprises, Inc.

OREGON: Deep Creek Town Diversion Fish Passage
Restoring fish passage for Warner Lakes Redband Trout and Warner Sucker is the focus of this project, which will complete a fish passage solution for a diversion dam that has been an upstream fish passage barrier for over 100 years. The lead partner is Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council.

OREGON: Wood River Ditch Fish Screen
This project will eliminate entrainment of native fishes while ensuring water delivery to private landowners and water users by installing a functioning fish screen and energy efficient irrigation pumps, representing an important step in protecting Redband Trout populations in the upper Klamath basin. The lead partner is Trout Unlimited.

WYOMING: Coal Creek Bank Stabilization and Sediment Reduction
This project benefits an important Bonneville Cutthroat Trout stream in western Wyoming by improving riparian and aquatic habitat condition and function, reducing sediment loading, enhancing stream habitat connectivity, and improving road function. The lead partner is Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

WYOMING: West Pass Creek Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Restoration
This multi-phased project involves removing nonnative trout and establishing a temporary fish barrier to protect a pure population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. Completion of subsequent phases will expand native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout to a 6-mile stream network, and will boost recruitment and the resiliency of the species in the West Pass Creek drainage. The lead partner is Wyoming Game and Fish Department.


WNTI is an initiative of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that seeks to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed almost $5 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with an additional $19 million public and private matching dollars for 123 priority native trout conservation projects. 

For more information about these projects, visit https://westernnativetrout.org/2018-funded-projects/

Media Contact:
Therese Thompson (303) 236-4402
tthompson@westernnativetrout.org

Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Posted by WAFWA at 8/14/2018 4:50:00 AM
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Partnership will benefit trout in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming

Resources Legacy Fund is partnering with the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) through the Open Rivers Fund to reconnect parts of the Upper Bear River in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The partnership will benefit Bonneville cutthroat trout, recreational fishing, and ranchers who divert water for irrigation. The partnership will ultimately fund eight restoration projects that will remove five diversion dams, three additional barriers and restore stream and riparian habitat.                                   

The projects funded through the Open Rivers Fund are expected to be completed by early next summer. The Open Rivers Fund is a 10-year, $50 million program of Resources Legacy Fund, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It supports local community efforts to remove obsolete dams, modernize infrastructure, and restore rivers across the West. Resources Legacy Fund works with donors to create significant outcomes for the environment and for people.

Resources Legacy Fund granted $278,000 this summer to WNTI to remove three agricultural diversion dams on the Upper Bear River in Wyoming, and replace them with fish passable structures that also maintain the ranchers’ points of diversion. Two more diversion dam removal and replacement projects in Idaho are in the planning stages. Three additional projects in Wyoming and Utah are contemplated next year following completion of the initial projects.

“Our partnership with Western Native Trout Initiative will demonstrate ways to both upgrade irrigation infrastructure and reconnect rivers for fish,” said Kathy Viatella, Program Officer for the Open Rivers Fund. “We hope these initial projects show ranchers across the West that there are ways to reduce irrigation diversion maintenance and costs while freeing native species to reclaim lost habitat.”

Multiple irrigation diversion structures and other barriers fragment the Upper Bear River drainage, which spans Northern Utah, Southeast Idaho, and Southwest Wyoming.  WNTI is working with many partners to remove and replace aging infrastructure in order to protect Bonneville cutthroat trout strongholds, restore habitat connectivity, and open up access to high-quality upstream habitats and cold, clean water on both public and private lands.

“We are thrilled about this new collaboration between WNTI and Resources Legacy Fund that will benefit native fish, landowners, and recreationists in the Upper Bear River drainage,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “Successfully addressing native trout recovery is a landscape-scale problem that requires collaboration from all interested parties in both the public and private sectors.”

WNTI is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a recognized National Fish Habitat Partnership that works to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species and sub-species across their historic range. The program funds efforts that raise awareness of the importance of native trout and focus limited financial and human resources toward the highest-impact, locally-led, on-the-ground projects.  Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed over $5 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with an additional $23 million public and private matching dollars for 139 priority native trout conservation projects.  With the collaboration and coordination of WNTI Partners, 87 barriers to fish passage have been removed, 1,130 miles of native trout habitat have been reconnected or improved, and 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout conservation populations have been put in place.

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/

Media Contact:
Therese Thompson
303.236.4402
tthompson@westernnativetrout.org

Photo Credit: Jason Jaacks – Resources Legacy Fund

 

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

 

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Posted by WAFWA at 8/8/2018 3:43:00 AM
Monday, July 16, 2018

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has honored conservation professionals from several western states with awards commending their work to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The awards were announced July 16 at WAFWA's annual conference, held this year in Eugene, Oregon.

John D. Groendyke from Oklahoma was honored with WAFWA’s most prestigious award, the Phillip W. Schneider Lifetime Achievement Award.  Groendyke was honored for his more than four decades of leadership on the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. Since his first appointment to the Commission in 1976, Groendyke has demonstrated an incredible commitment to fish and wildlife resources and has participated in nearly every major conservation decision or initiative in the state of Oklahoma during that timeframe. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin reappointed Groendyke to the Commission for a historic fifth term in 2012, and stated how remarkable it is that he has continuously served under seven governors for both the Republican and Democratic parties. The award Groendyke received is named for Phillip W. Schneider of Oregon, whose legendary commitment to fish and wildlife resources spanned more than 40 years in a career in which he served as director of the state’s game and fish agency, and later as a commissioner and commissioner emeritus of Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Wyoming Game Warden Dustin Shorma was honored with WAFWA’s Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award for his dedication to duty. He’s been a game warden for more than 18 years and is widely recognized as being one of the hardest-working, effective and most dedicated wildlife officers in Wyoming. He’s known for his attention to detail in building cases that can be successfully prosecuted. He uses technology to help crack complex cases and shares that knowledge. His leadership and mentoring have had a profound impact on wildlife law enforcement in Wyoming. Shorma’s work ethic and personable, friendly demeanor have gained him the respect and appreciation of landowners and sportsmen and women throughout his district. He serves as a model for landowner relations, law enforcement, and responsible wildlife management which together garner public support for the conservation work of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The Pogue-Elms Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award memorializes Idaho Fish and Game officers Bill Pogue and Conley Elms, who were killed in January 1981 while trying to arrest a poacher in a remote region of southwestern Idaho.

There were two honorees for WAFWA’s 2018 Professional of the Year Award. Doug Howie was recognized for his consistent professionalism and resourcefulness in administering North Dakota’s Private Lands Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program.  PLOTS is one of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s highest profile programs, and Howie is a critical player in its success. PLOTS is widely recognized as one of the most successful access programs in the country, and Howie’s dedication has impacted thousands of sportsmen and women.

Jason Schooley was honored with WAFWA’s 2018 Professional of the Year Award for his contributions in managing Oklahoma paddlefish stocks based on sound scientific data, population modeling, and angler input. He’s been widely published, and shares information with anglers across the world via websites. He regularly speaks to angling groups to share his knowledge of paddlefish and general fisheries biology and ecology. Because of his efforts, the Oklahoma Paddlefish Research Center is known to anglers and scientists world-wide as a valuable asset to science-based paddlefish stock management.

WAFWA honors the conservation efforts of federal partners with the Federal Conservation Partner of the Year Award. This year’s recipient was the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma, which was honored for its commitment to natural resource conservation. The facility covers 45,000 acres, encompassing timberland, grasslands, brush land and aquatic habitat and wetlands. While meeting its military mission, the ammunition plant does an exemplary job of stewarding the natural resources within the facility boundaries. Quality deer management, agricultural outlease, invasive species control and pest management, threatened and endangered species, wetlands rehabilitation, and public outreach are the major components of the program.

Other awards conferred included the President's Award, which went to the Intermountain West Joint Venture. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission was honored with the Commission of the Year Award. Julie Meka Carter, Jon Sjöberg and Therese Thompson were recognized for their work with the Western Native Trout Initiative with the WAFWA Contributor of the Year Award. Tony Rodgers and Matt Skogg received a Special Achievement Award for their work to implement a new streams management program in Oklahoma. Jeff Tibbits (OK) and Tom Mackin (AZ) were each honored with WAFWA’s 2018 Special Recognition Award. WAFWA recognized the Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor by honoring Joshua Coursey and Joey Faigl from Wyoming.  WAFWA also conferred lifetime membership awards to four individuals for their career accomplishments and service to the organization: Kevin Hunting (CA), Edward (Pat) Madden (AZ), Ross Melinchuk (TX) and Jim Unsworth (WA).

 

WAFWA news releases available at http://www.wafwa.org/news/
 

 

Contact: Larry Kruckenberg 307.631.4536
larry.kruckenberg@wafwa.org

Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 24 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Posted by WAFWA at 7/16/2018 9:51:00 PM
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