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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 24, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Bellevue-Issaquah Chapter of Trout Unlimited nets grant for project on Bear Creek

Two Washington Chapters of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, will gain funding benefits toward stream restoration.

TU awarded a $2,500 EAS grant to the Bellevue-Issaquah Chapter to fund a project to monitor a new stormwater treatment system, and its impacts on Bear Creek a tributary of the Sammamish River, which is an urban waterway that sustains significant wild salmon runs.

Bear Creek is home to chinook, coho and sockeye salmon, as well as steelhead and rainbow trout. During strong sockeye years, the creek is a major contributor next to the Cedar River in the Lake Washington watershed.

Crystal and Paradise lakes in Snohomish County feed into Bear Creek and moves through the Sammamish Plateau, then flows through a 50-square-mile watershed before reaching the Sammamish River near downtown Redmond.

The Spokane Falls TU chapter was also awarded a $5,300 Embrace-A-Stream grant to help fund the Spokane Area Trout in the Classroom Initiative, an environmental education program that will give area schoolkids hands-on learning experiences about trout and salmon life cycles and habitat needs. TU, in partnership with the Spokane County Conservation District and the Spokane Fly Fishers, has identified four community schools with an interest in participating.

“Through the Embrace-A-Stream grant program, TU volunteers are able to carry out our mission to help protect a America’s rivers and streams, and introduce kids to fishing and conservation,” Bryan Moore, TU’s Vice President for Volunteer Operations and Watershed Programs said in the news release. “TU members have worked on restoring over 10,000 miles of streams in the last 50 years. Each restoration project makes a difference and helps protect these places for future generations.”

Embrace-A-Stream is the flagship grant program for funding TU grassroots conservation efforts. Funding is provided primarily through the support of TU members, with additional support provided by Costa del Mar and the FishAmerica Foundation. An Embrace-A-Stream Committee comprised of TU volunteer representatives and scientific advisors evaluates all proposed projects and makes the awards.

This year, the Embrace-A-Stream program will provide over $126,000 to 24 projects in 15 states.

Projects will address stream habitat restoration, improving fish passage and protecting water quality in rivers across the country. Projects included improving native fish passage in Idaho, Maine and Pennsylvania, as well as Rio Grande cutthroat restoration in New Mexico.

Since the program’s inception in 1976, Embrace-A-Stream has funded more than 980 individual projects totaling approximately $4 million. As a result of this funding from Embrace-A-Stream, the projects have leveraged more than $13 million in additional funding.

Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

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