Building Partnerships

All Hands on Deck to Recover America’s Waters

Building Partnerships

We can’t do it alone. To have a real, lasting impact, collaborative stewardship is the name of the game. 

Trout Unlimited has more than 300 staff and 300,000 volunteers and supporters, but everywhere that we make change, it is by working together with partners. With federal agencies—the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and more. With state partners from Maine and West Virginia to Colorado and California. With tribes, including the Nez Perce, the Yurok, the Red Cliff Band, the Klamath, and the White Mountain Apache. With farmers, ranchers, and private landowners who are stewards to so much trout and salmon habitat. With conservation partners and with the communities where we work.  

There is no such thing as light work in conservation, but with many hands, we have a better chance of matching our efforts with the scope of the problems facing our Priority Waters.

Forest Service

In 2022, the Forest Service announced a $40 million, five-year agreement with TU to increase the pace and scale of watershed restoration on national forests and grasslands—home to many of America’s most important trout and salmon species. Made possible by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act and building on a long-standing partnership between the Forest Service and TU, projects include cleaning up of abandoned mines, removing barriers to improve fish passage, and improving stream habitat.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

For more than two decades and in virtually every corner of the TU universe, we have been working with the National Fish Passage Program to produce incredible results for trout and salmon. Often catalyzed by TU field staff, landowners, and state agency partners, this program helped fund the Penobscot River Restoration Project in Maine, which opened 2,000 miles of habitat for Atlantic salmon. It opened 50 miles of habitat for cutthroat trout on Spread Creek near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. From a modest start, this Fish & Wildlife program received $200 million under the 2021 infrastructure law.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA’s long-running fish passage program has long supported TU as we work to restore trout, salmon, and steelhead populations, most especially in coastal California, Washington, and Oregon watersheds. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded the scope and reach of the program. “This work is improving fish passage, but also helping rural communities by providing family-wage jobs, improving water quality, and helping prevent road failures and flood damage,” Trout Unlimited president and CEO Chris Wood said in heralding $20 million in NOAA funding to Trout Unlimited in 2022.


In the Klamath River Basin, Trout Unlimited worked closely with the tribes—notably the Yurok Tribe—on a two-decade-long campaign to remove four dams blocking passage on one of the great salmon and steelhead rivers in the West. That effort was inspired by a successful partnership in Maine, where we worked with the Penobscot Nation to remove dams and improve passage for Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish on the Penobscot River, Maine’s second-largest watershed. Across the country, we’re working with tribal partners to recover fisheries that have sustained their people for millennia.

Private Landowners

We work at landscape scale, and that means working not just with public land management agencies, but private landowners as well. Notably, we’re working with agricultural producers and ranchers to improve conservation practices and irrigation infrastructure in ways that keep their streams and fisheries healthy.

Corporate Partners

With corporate allies like Intel and Facebook, we are working on innovative water management projects that help them meet their long-term water conservation goals while also improving prospects for trout and salmon.

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Rise to the Moment

We believe the most complex and seemingly insurmountable challenges can be solved when people come together and get to work. Help us do the good work of fixing America’s rivers and streams for the benefit of anglers, families, and local communities.

How You Can Help
Priority Waters