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Native Trout

Native Trout Working Group

The Native Trout Working Group (NTWG) is one of several standing committees created by TU’s National Leadership Council (NLC) to monitor and report on key issues that are regular topics at TU’s national meeting.

The NTWG’s initial goal was to conduct a nationwide survey of native trout, but at the time, there just wasn’t enough available and reliable data to do it successfully.

At the same time, TU CEO Charles Gauvin, TU Senior Scientist Jack Williams, and members of the National Leadership Council were discussing the creation of a “Conservation Success Index” (CSI) – a scientific tool that could be used to assess the health of watersheds and fish populations, identify current and future threats, make recommendations for targeted conservation work, and measure changes over time. Over the course of several years, the CSI was developed and refined, and has completed analyses for nearly every native trout species in the U.S.

As past chair of the NTWG, Kevin Reilly of New Mexico – now a grassroots member of the TU Board of Trustees – has worked in partnership with Jack Williams and his CSI associate, Amy Haak, as well as TU staff member Joe McGuirrin. Joe is the TU staff liaison to the Native Trout Workgroup.

The NTWG’s work has also included reviewing drafts of the CSI User Guide and making suggestions to make it a bit less technical and understandable to us non-scientists.

The NTWG also continued to address specific native trout issues as raised by members and the NLC, including the decline of Yellowstone Lake’s cutthroat population, the restoration of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout in New Mexico and the Guadalupe River in Texas.

Recently, the NTWG began to focus on the threats posed by aquatic invasive species (AIS), Similar to the CSI strategy, the NTWG is partnering with staff and the NLC on the development of an agenda to work on AIS issues.