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National Fish Habitat
The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) would like to thank everyone who applied for 2015 Small Grants funding in another very competitive funding cycle. We received 18 proposals and had the unenviable task of having to choose just the top four for funding amongst many outstanding and deserving proposals. We would like to thank all applicants for their ongoing efforts to conserve western native trout! Congratulations to the following successful applicants:

Kenai Watershed Forum (Alaska) - Stream Watch Volunteers: Making a Difference for Trout on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
The proposed activities will empower thousands of river users through an on-the-ground, volunteer driven cold water fish habitat conservation and education program. Stream Watch volunteers provide a presence on the river, which leverages state and federal agency endeavors by collecting daily site observations, educating river users on river stewardship and completing hands-on conservation projects that would otherwise not occur due to agency funding limitations. The following will be completed through this agreement:

Educate 4,000 members of the general public on river protection, fishing regulations and fish habitat needs
Conserve and protect 3 miles of trout habitat through riparian plant protection fence installation and maintenance
Remove 600 pounds of riverside debris including fishing tackle to protect trout and other wildlife
Install 50 linear feet of erosion control to improve water quality and trout habitat

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (Washington) - Forest and Fins Education Program for underserved youth
The proposed activities will serve to educate 200 underserved youth in grades 4 - 12 and 50 parents/teachers about trout species native to the Puget Sound region of Washington State, their biology, habitats, habitat restoration techniques, threats they face and challenges for long-term survival. Each student will receive approximately 8 hours of inquiry-based education including 2-3 hours dedicated to hands-on habitat restoration totaling approximately 1,600 hours of high-quality conservation education.
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (Washington) - Nooksack River Stewards program expansion
Through the Nooksack River Stewards Program, NSEA will educate residents and visitors to the North Fork of Nooksack River in stewardship ethics that support native fish populations. NSEA will recruit, train, and supervise 4-5 volunteer community member representatives - River Stewards - to engage visitors and locals throughout the summer recreation months about local bull trout and coastal cutthroat species and what they can do to support fish populations. Volunteer River Stewards will engage over 1,500 community members and recreational users of all ages including rafters, campers, fishers, and naturalists at over 40 presentations and events. NSEA will target audiences for presentations and tours include commercial rafting groups, campers at National Forest and County campgrounds, school and summer camp groups, and the general public to raise awareness about the presence of these fish and to share stewardship practices. River Stewards will also lead interpretive river walks and staff an informational booth at the Forest Service's Glacier Public Service Center in Glacier, WA, the local hub for visitors to the area.

Trout Unlimited Western Water and Habitat Program (Colorado and New Mexico) - Get to Know Your Native
This is a coordinated education and outreach effort focusing on raising awareness for the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout (RGCT) by promoting responsible angling for RGCT in both Colorado and New Mexico. TU and their partners have developed a sign/poster that educates the public about RGCT biology, evolutionary history, habitat needs, threats and current status, and how to fish for them responsibly. WNTI funds for this project will be spent on materials to produce 6 vinyl on metal trailhead signs and approximately 1,000 posters. Posters will be distributed by the agencies and partners at their discretion. The goal is to reach diverse groups and communities and simply spread the word.