The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a public-private Fish Habitat Partnership that works collaboratively across 12 western states to conserve, protect, restore and recover 21 native trout and char species.
Formed in 2006, WNTI provides a new perspective and impetus to improve the return on investment of the time, money and manpower dedicated to native trout conservation. WNTI is an project of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and also recognized as a National Fish Habitat Partnership by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.
Covering over 1.75 million square miles of public and privately managed lands, WNTI and our partners combine science-based assessments with expert and local knowledge to establish joint priorities for native trout conservation at a landscape scale. For more information, visit westernnativetrout.org.
Since its inception in 2006, the Western Native Trout Initiative has directed almost $7 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with over $57 million public and private matching dollars for 226 priority native trout conservation projects. With the collaboration and coordination of WNTI partners, together we have removed 163 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 2,072 miles of native trout habitat, and placed 41 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout conservation populations. In order to ensure our collaborative investments are directed toward the highest priority projects, WNTI has funded over 1,123 watershed, fish population, and habitat surveys and assessed 2,482 stream miles.
Since its inception in 2006, the Western Native Trout Initiative has directed almost $7 million in federal fish habitat funds leveraged with over $57 million public and private matching dollars for 226 priority native trout conservation projects. By leveraging funding provided to WNTI by the National Fish Habitat Partnership, WNTI and over 350 partners to date, have successfully improved the status of western native trout populations in 12 western states including Alaska. With the collaboration and coordination of WNTI Partners, together we have removed 163 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 2,072 miles of native trout habitat, and placed 41 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout conservation populations. In addition, WNTI has funded 1,123 watershed, fish population and habitat surveys and assessed 2,482 stream miles.
In 2022, WNTI and our partners funded four habitat restoration projects benefiting focal species with a total of $320,000 National Fish Habitat Partnership funds, leveraged with $790,726 in other partner contributions for a total projects value of $1,110,726. More information about each project funded with National Fish Habitat Partnership program funds can be found here. An additional $483,500 in other grants funded an additional 10 projects.Read More
View our 2021 Annual Report (PDF, 583 KB)
View our 2020 Annual Report (PDF, 583 KB)
WAFWA’s Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is making its mark in western watersheds. Partnering with Resources Legacy Fund, WNTI has funded 20 restoration sites along the Bear River watershed that extends through Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The Upper Bear River, home to the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout, was fragmented by dilapidated irrigation diversion structures and other barriers prior to restoration.
This project focuses on moving through “the watershed, literally landowner by landowner, addressing what their issues are,” said Therese Thompson, WNTI Coordinator. By pairing the conservation goals with landowner goals, this effort has opened up over one hundred miles of the river for the native trout’s passage and serves landowners by improving irrigation systems and reducing bank erosion.
The three-minute video highlights the impact that this piece-by-piece effort has had on the Upper Bear Watershed. “Some of these things seem so small, but over time and over the distance they really add up to make a big difference,” said Thompson. Learn more HERE.
Native trout are the embodiment of the Western character— its eternal struggle and triumph of adaptation to a life of water in a dry land. The landscape and lore of the West is that of the trout.
The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of 12 Western states, at their own pace. By attempting to catch 18 of the 21 species throughout 12 states (at the master angler level), participants can enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!
We thank our state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states that are partnering on this program, along with the USDA Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, and Trout Unlimited.
More information and register at: WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org
Check out this short film about the work we do with our partners in the Weber River in Utah. This makes a great outreach tool for these native fish, showcasing the work fish biologists do and the power of partnerships.
If you like this video, please feel free to forward the link to colleagues, friends, or anyone you think would appreciate it and please encourage them to share it too! Read more about the three projects already completed through this partnership, with before and after photos and links to time-lapse video. READ MORE at https://westernnativetrout.org/blueheads-and-bonnevilles/.