Although there may be legislation in place regarding an issue, such as the conservation of freshwater waterways, the government and responsible bodies cannot always be relied upon to enforce said legislation, particularly when it comes to environmental issues. This is where external parties, usually a group of individuals who come together due to a shared interest in an issue, are important in facilitating necessary changes in an effort to save the planet. One such group is Trout Unlimited, a US based not-for-profit organization that has made it their mission to do whatever they can in order to promote and facilitate the conservation of freshwater streams and waterways within the United States. Here, we look at the goals and achievements of TU, and provide information regarding how you can help their cause.
The TU Mission
Established in 1959 in Michigan, the aim of TU has always been to protect freshwater waterways for the fish, the plants, other aquatic life and of course also people. From day one, the TU belief was that if people took care of the fish, then the fishing would take care of itself. This is a concept that still holds true today, and more and more scientific evidence offers support that the conservation efforts of TU and other groups are profoundly important. One aspect of TU that makes it so successful is just how grounded in science the group is – each and every one of their aims and objectives has been developed based on the best possible evidence and data available.
As well as using scientific data to develop opinions and proposals, the group are highly effective in how they approach an issue or situation. By incorporating the community, greater society, other environmental bodies as well as the government, TU reaches out to people on all levels in order to achieve its mission. This ensures that the message is heard loud and clear by everybody and anybody, making this group particularly effective when it comes to raising awareness or generating a solution to a problem.
Achievements and Outcomes
The achievements and outcomes of TU have been vast to date. One of the major early outcomes of the group was to persuade the Michigan government in the early 1960s to move away from a system where lakes and streams are stocked, fished out, then stocked again, and to move towards from a system promoting the survival and generation of wild populations of trout in these areas. This is a message that TU have pushed in a number of different places, in order to promote the importance of wild fish populations and the advantages that these hold for the ecosystem as a whole.
TU has also played a fundamental role in government lobbying for national issues such as the removal of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine, as well as strengthening of the Clean Water Act. As well as government issues, it could be said that among the most important achievements of TU is the impact that the group is able to have at a grassroots level. By raising community awareness about important, often local issues, TU can change the mindset of the very people who are using these waterways themselves. This is particularly important when it comes to teaching younger people the importance of these streams and waterways, and passing down the conservation legacy to the next generation.
How You Can Help
Although the achievements of TU are vast, their work is far from over. At a time when society is rapidly becoming focused on industrial development rather than seeking environmentally friendly alternatives, and logging, damming and mining are all still highly prevalent, there is plenty still to be done when it comes to freshwater conservation. If you are interested in becoming a part of the work that TU do, or contributing to their cause, visit the website at http://www.tu.org/get-involved to see how you can help your local chapter of Trout Unlimited.