Archived Outdoors

Forest Service gives Trout Unlimited $40 million for projects

In a five-year agreement to improve watersheds on national forests and grasslands, the U.S. Forest Service will give Trout Unlimited up to $40 million for projects including cleanup of abandoned mines, removing barriers to improve fish passage and stream habitat improvements. 

Made possible by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this five-year National Watershed and Aquatic Restoration Initiative aims to increase the pace and scale of watershed restoration on national forests and grasslands, with priority given to projects that use local employees and contractors to improve water quality in underserved communities and on tribal lands. 

Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, said the agreement builds on a “long and productive partnership” with the Forest Service. Over the years, the two organizations have restored more than 400 miles of fish habitat, reconnected more than 700 miles of habitat by removing barriers to fish migration and improved hundreds of thousands of acres of national forest lands. 

“We are excited to continue and expand on this work over the coming years,” he said. 

More than 40% of trout streams in the U.S. flow through the 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. In recent years, Trout Unlimited leveraged $20 million in Forest Service funding to carry out $62 million worth of projects, improving forest health, water quality and building key partnerships while supporting hundreds of family-wage jobs in rural communities. 

Wild and native trout and salmon face countless challenges, including warming fueled by climate change. Trout Unlimited is identifying a national network of priority waters based on the best fisheries science and guided by its strategic plan. Over the coming years, Trout Unlimited will use the funding from this agreement to work alongside partners to protect and restore these waters to improve fish population diversity, resilience and productivity.

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.