The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is awarding more than $200,000 in grant funding for eight projects that benefit native trout species across the western United States. The community-based projects are funded through the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The projects were selected because of their emphasis on collaborative action to address some of the biggest challenges facing the restoration and recovery of western native trout.
“The main objective of the Western Native Trout Initiative is to leverage and catalyze strategic, local efforts that stabilize, recover and improve populations of western native trout,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “In addition to the grant funding we’re providing through the National Fish Habitat Partnership, local partners have secured additional matching funds totaling $2.186 million dollars for these projects.”
The following native trout habitat projects in New Mexico and Colorado have been approved for funding by WNTI for 2019:
NEW MEXICO: Santa Clara Creek – Headwaters Restoration
The project objective is to maximize ecosystem potential for sustaining a prime, cold-water native trout fishery that is resilient to variable flow rates from drought and flood events. This project restores habitat to benefit Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout on the Santa Clara Pueblo tribal lands, impacted by the catastrophic Las Conchas wildfire in 2011. The lead partner is the Santa Clara Pueblo Department of Forestry.
This project will reclaim high quality stream and lake habitat to provide a resilient watershed for the reintroduction of native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout within its historic range within Great Sand Dunes National Park. Completion of the project will add 12 miles and two lakes of habitat for Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. The lead partner is the National Park Service.
WNTI is an initiative of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that seeks to cooperatively restore and recover 21 western native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed $35 million in federal, public and private funds to support 147 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 96 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,199 miles of native trout habitat and put in place 35 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.
For more information about these projects, visit https://westernnativetrout.org/2019-funded-projects/