Protecting Waters

Defending the Last Best Places for Trout and Salmon

Protecting Waters

Our mission—caring for and recovering wild and native trout and salmon waters—starts with protecting the best of what we have. One of the reasons we love trout and salmon is that they live in some of America’s most beautiful and wild places, in quiet streams trickling off mountains, in roiling rivers charging to the seas, in lakes and ponds hiding on public lands. 

We know from decades of experience that the best way to conserve healthy waters and fisheries also happens to be the simplest: Don’t ruin them in the first place.  

That’s why we put so much muscle into defending the places where the last best strongholds of trout and salmon give us hope for the future.

Protecting Public Lands

America’s 640 million acres of public lands are home to some of our best publicly accessible fish and wildlife habitat. Responsible management of those lands does not happen by accident. 

Collaborating with our allies in conservation, from volunteer advocates to natural resource agencies to decision-makers across the political spectrum, we work to protect special places using a portfolio of strategic approaches, including roadless protections, mineral withdrawals, and national monuments and refuges.

Pushing for Smart Policy

It’s a fact of geology and geography: America’s very best trout and salmon habitat overlaps with the places where we mine, drill, and log. 

In Washington, D.C., and in state capitals, our policy pros work hand-in-hand with volunteer advocates to push for smart policies around water, mining, energy, and forestry. The goal: speaking up for rivers and fish to ensure a balance between conservation of the nation’s needs for oil and gas, timber, and critical minerals. 

We stand up in support of a strong Clean Water Act and proper enforcement of its protections.

Protecting Instream Flows

Across the drought-prone West, there is not enough water to go around—for people or for fish. Low river and stream flows at critical times of the year cause wild and native fisheries to suffer, especially salmon and steelhead runs.

We develop innovative solutions to managing dwindling water supplies for the benefit of fish and rural communities, such as installing off-stream storage to reduce pressure from irrigation water diversions and helping farmers and ranchers reduce water use during critical times.

Advocating for Smarter Fish Management

Trout Unlimited was founded by a group of anglers advocating for changes to trout stocking policies in Michigan, and today we remain committed to promoting forward-thinking approaches to protecting trout and salmon populations. 

That means advocating for state agencies to end the practice of stocking over healthy wild trout populations, reconsider expensive hatchery programs that do damage to wild salmon and steelhead runs in an effort to prop up failing populations, and put in place the sort of sensible catch restrictions that make for healthy fisheries.

Working with Land Trusts

We can protect rivers and streams by helping to conserve the lands they run through. TU works with land trusts to set aside landscapes that are critical to native and wild trout and salmon populations.

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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