Recovering Waters

We Are In It for the Long Haul

Recovering Waters

This is how we make our name: boots in the water, getting our hands dirty, restoring and reconnecting rivers and streams. 

In every part of the wild and native ranges of trout and salmon, we are at work recovering waters where things have gone wrong or where we can be doing it better. 

Places where mining and timber operations left landscapes and rivers degraded. Where road-stream crossings and dams are blocking fish from getting where they need to go. Where streambanks have been eroded, habitat channelized, and waters damaged by pollution. Where diversions translate into low flows. Where native fish have been outcompeted. 

We are in it for the long haul. In many places, we are in the second decade of effort to recover critical watersheds. 

This work is ever more urgent to species that rely on cold, clean water in a warming world growing at a breakneck pace.

Improving Fish Habitat

The bread-and-butter work of Trout Unlimited is shoring up streambanks and rebuilding trout and salmon habitat. To shore up small-stream habitat in the East, we’re adding large wood to streams by strategically placing trees and root wads. To rebuild high-country meadows in the West, we’re installing beaver dam analogues by the thousands. We are working at scale.

Cleaning up Abandoned Mines

Historic coal and hardrock mining left landscapes scarred and continue to send toxic drainage into trout streams across the country. Our teams are mastering the complex, technical, time-consuming work of cleaning up abandoned sites and creating a cleaner future for both fish and the communities that depend on them.

Spearheading Conservation on Farms and Ranches

We work with farmers and private landowners on often simple ways of keeping their streams clean, whether that’s protecting streambanks by fencing out cows and providing other watering sources or improving agricultural infrastructure to keep the fish out of irrigation ditches and keep more water in the rivers. We’re bringing the expertise, project management expertise, and, most importantly, funding to bear on agricultural conservation.

Reconnecting Fragmented Watershed

From behemoths like the Klamath River dams to the malfunctioning culvert on a gravel road blocking fish passage in a little brook, we are working to remove the obsolete obstacles that fragment watersheds, threaten wild trout survival, and prevent salmon and steelhead from moving between headwaters and oceans.

Advocating for Conservation Dollars

All this work costs money—a lot of money. Our work in the field provides case study after case study for how to leverage federal and state dollars with private donations and foundation grants to get big things done. Staff and grassroots advocates help us push for conservation dollars in Congress and in Statehouses across the country, keeping investments flowing to projects on Priority Waters.

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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