The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a public-private Fish Habitat Partnership that works collaboratively across 12 western states to conserve, protect, restore and recover 21 native trout and char species. Formed in 2006, WNTI provides a new perspective and impetus to improve the return on investment of the time, money and manpower dedicated to native trout conservation. WNTI is an project of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and also recognized as a National Fish Habitat Partnership by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.
Covering over 1.75 million square miles of public and privately managed lands, WNTI and our partners combine science-based assessments with expert and local knowledge to establish joint priorities for native trout conservation at a landscape scale. Since its inception in 2006, the Western Native Trout Initiative has directed over $4 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged to $14 million public and private matching dollars for 113 priority native trout conservation projects.
For more information, click here.
The Western Native Trout Initiative is excited to announce our new 12-state Western Native Trout Challenge! Native trout are the embodiment of the Western character— its eternal struggle and triumph of adaptation to a life of water in a dry land. The landscape and lore of the West is that of the trout.
The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of 12 Western states, at their own pace. By attempting to catch 18 of the 21 species throughout 12 states (at the master angler level), participants can enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!We thank our state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states that are partnering on this program, along with the USDA Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, and Trout Unlimited.
More information and register at westernnativetroutchallenge.org
WNTI has created a beautiful story map highlighting our work and featuring a projects map and stories on Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, interior Redband Trout, Gila Trout, Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, and Bonneville Cutthroat Trout. Click on the Photo to the left to check it out!
Blueheads and Bonnevilles and the Weber River Partnership New Film!
Be sure to check out this short film about the work we do with our partners in the Weber River in Utah. This makes a great outreach tool for these native fish, showcasing the work fish biologists do and the power of partnerships. This film is dedicated to the 10 year National Fish Habitat Partnership anniversary. If you like this video, please feel free to forward the link to colleagues, friends, or anyone you think would appreciate it and please encourage them to share it too!
To watch the film, click here
Chasing Native Trout
Have you ever caught a native Western trout? Well, do you want to? Thanks to our fish friends at the Western Native Trout Initiative, it’s now easier for all you DIY’ers to take a road trip next summer and catch the fish of your dreams.
Check out the NEW blog post that was on Feild and Stream!
Want to Catch 12 Truley Native Western Trout Species? Here's How.
What they look like and where to find them.
And don't miss out last blog post on Field and Stream
Native trout live in some of the last wild places in North America. Getting there can be an adventure in and of itself.....your adventure awaits.
2019 Annual Report Executive Summary
Since its inception in 2006, the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) has directed almost $5.5 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged to $38 million public and private matching dollars for 187 priority native trout conservation projects. By leveraging funding provided to WNTI by the National Fish Habitat Partnership, WNTI and its many partners have successfully improved the status of western native trout populations in 12 western states including Alaska. With the collaboration and coordination of WNTI Partners, together we have removed 116 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,398 miles of native trout habitat, and placed 38 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout conservation populations. In order to ensure our collaborative investments are directed toward the highest priority projects, WNTI has funded over 744 watershed, fish population, and habitat surveys.
In 2019, the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) and our partners funded eight habitat restoration projects benefiting our focal species with a total of $206,864 National Fish Habitat Partnership funds leveraged to partner matches of $2,126,647 for a total projects value of $2,233,511.
An ongoing partnership with the Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) through their Open Rivers Fund, funded nine projects in the Upper Bear River in Utah and Wyoming to benefit Bonneville Cutthroat Trout, recreational fishing, and local communities and ranchers who divert water for irrigation. Open Rivers 2019 funding of $432,000 was matched by $2,268,005 in other private and public funding, for a total projects value of $2,700,005.
A new partnership began between WNTI and RLF to execute an ambitious watershed-scale restoration effort in the Warner Lakes Basin in southeast Oregon. This partnership will benefit Warner Lakes Redband Trout (State Sensitive and Federal Species of Concern), and the Warner sucker ( listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act), recreational fishing, ranchers and landowners. The partnership will ultimately fund ten restoration projects to open 38 stream miles in the Warner Basin by 2025. This year’s grant of $190,000 supported engineering and design plans for the first four projects in the portfolio and was matched by $101,500 from other partners.
WNTI awarded $19,750 out of its small grant program for five projects in six states, which were matched by $115,800 in other public and private funding. The community-based projects were selected because of their emphasis on citizen science and outreach to help address challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout. WNTI gratefully thanks our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Running Rivers (Rocky Mountain Flyathlon), RepYourWater, Basin+Bend, California Fly Fishers Unlimited, Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers, and all our individual donors for supporting our 2019 Small Grants Program.
Collectively, projects funded in 2019 will remove or bypass 20 barriers to restore access to 199 miles of stream for fish passage, restore 120 miles of riparian habitat, complete 30 habitat assessments, and assess 155 stream miles. Barriers will be constructed in three separate projects to protect 3 miles of high priority habitat for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in Utah, and 56 miles of high priority habitat for Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Montana.
Read the full 2019 WNTI Annual Report here.
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