Priority Waters

Caring for and Recovering America’s Trout and Salmon Waters

Trout and salmon are at a pivotal moment.

The threats are enormous, and so are the opportunities.

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Native trout populations and wild salmon runs are at risk of disappearing. Climate change is upon us. More than 1.5 million miles of America’s trout and salmon waters are degraded.

But by working together—collaboratively, strategically, tirelessly—on watersheds across the country, we can rise to the moment.

This is the promise of Trout Unlimited’s focused approach to conservation.

We are optimists. We see a way forward.

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We are identifying rivers and streams where we can have the greatest impact, and we are throwing our energies into building trout and salmon strongholds for the long term.

It’s not just about fish, of course. The work we do provides healthy water for communities and agriculture, supports ecosystems that are key to biodiversity and climate resilience, helps landscapes adapt to and recover from flooding and wildfire, creates family-wage jobs, and boosts America’s multi-billion-dollar recreation economy.

What are Priority Waters?

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They are the 200+ rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds where TU is directing our energies to care for and recover wild and native trout and salmon watersheds. Rooted in science and developed in collaboration with TU volunteers and trusted partners, these shared Priority Waters are the foundation of an ambitious strategic roadmap.

We’re at our best when we pull together and focus.

Add up the numbers — hundreds of experienced staff working in their local communities, hundreds of thousands of supporters, six decades of history, tens of millions of dollars invested annually — and we are having an impact at a national scale.

Explore the Map

We're Getting to Work.

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Trout Unlimited has deep experience in the entire suite of conservation tactics, and we’re strategically deploying them on our Priority Waters.

Restoring rivers. Shoring up streambanks. Removing dams. Reconnecting habitat. Keeping water in streams at key times of the year. Defending important trout and salmon habitat. Securing protective designations for coldwater strongholds. Pushing for smarter and more effective management of wild and native populations.

We’re pulling out every stop to protect and recover these waters, these fisheries, and the communities and people who depend on them.

How We Work

Here's the Good News: You Can Help.

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We have a vision: Conservationists and communities of people who fish and people who simply love their waters, all hard at work—pulling out dams, reconnecting rivers, changing policy—united behind a vision of healthy fish and clean water. 

That’s the ambitious vision of Priority Waters. 

It will take all of us to get there. We all have a part to play. A tree planted, a stream cleaned up, a letter sent to a decision-maker, a water sample collected, a dollar raised—it all adds up to impact at a national scale.

How You Can Help
Priority Waters