Trout Unlimited National Office HQ

aka TU   |   Arlington, VA   |


To conserve, protect, and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Ruling year info


President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Chris Wood

Main address

1777 North Kent Street Suite 100

Arlington, VA 22209 USA

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NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Pollution Abatement and Control Services (C20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Overview of program activity

Trout Unlimited's major operating programs involve supporting its chapters across North America through Embrace-a-Stream (EAS), funding scientific and economic research through the Coldwater Conservation Fund (CCF), and raising the awareness level among its members and the public on issues that affect trout and salmon. EAS is a one-to-one matching grant program that awards $270,000 of funds to TU chapters and councils for three types of fisheries conservation projects: resource, research, and education. Projects must advance TU's mission and must meet specific criteria. The CCF seeks to link scientific and economic analysis to practical applications in sound watershed management. Started in 1993, the CCF has raised almost $3 million with 100% of the proceeds going to projects, which address issues like Whirling Disease, acid rain, agricultural run-off, fisheries management, mining, and watershed restoration. TU employs national staff who testify before Congress, publish a quarterly magazine, produce a television series, manage a website, intervene in federal legal proceedings, and work with TU's grassroots volunteers to keep them active and involved in conservation issues.

Population(s) Served

Finite water supplies, gas drilling, development pressures, and global climate change are among the factors that underscore the great and increasing need for TU to be as involved in water management in the East as it is in the West. And we are: across the region, TU staff and volunteers work to reform state water policy and to engage in water management processes at the state and local levels. The overarching goal is to create a framework of checks and balances through which significant water withdrawals will not have a negative impact on stream health and aquatic life.

Population(s) Served

Healthy coldwater fisheries are not possible unless there is enough clean water in our rivers and streams. TU works to reform state water law and policy, create new financial and policy incentives, lease and acquire water and implement on-the-ground restoration projects to protect and restore instream flow in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Our Sportsmen's Conservation Project works to protect intact landscapes from threats that would tarnish quality habitat and put in jeopardy our irreplaceable hunting and fishing heritage.

Population(s) Served

Some call Bristol Bay the most important salmon ecosystem on earth.  It is the most prolific sockeye salmon-producing system in the world, and is also home to large runs of Chinook and Coho salmon, as well as world-famous rainbow trout. TU is leading the fight to prevent the development of the proposed Pebble Mine, an enormous gold and copper mine that would be located in the middle of salmon spawning grounds in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. If developed, Pebble Mine could decimate this irreplaceable ecosystem and the $445 million dollar fishing-based economy it supports.

Population(s) Served

There are literally hundreds of thousands of faulty culverts all across America that block or limit trout and salmon migration, reduce habitable waters and impair angling opportunity. By addressing these relatively simple challenges and removing or repairing problem culverts, each year TU and Orvis can open up miles and miles of new habitat that benefit trout and salmon populations, as well as the anglers who pursue them.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

TU's current strategic plan framework builds off of 50 years of TU experience and success in working to protect and restore wild and native trout habitat. The framework defines the biological imperative of our work as protecting the highest quality habitat for wild and native fish, and reconnecting that and other habitat to other areas through restoration. The framework’s social imperative is to ensure that our efforts endure, and are sustained over time. TU's overall intent is to conserve important lands and waters so that we realize our generational vision of wild and native fish conservation. We will accomplish this by:

• Building a high level of awareness for the TU brand—a brand that stands for TU members and other anglers working to protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries for anglers to use and enjoy;

• Working in collaboration with members and other conservationists; and

• Raising sufficient funds to protect, reconnect, and restore important lands and to sustain those efforts over time.

The elements of TU's current strategic plan are focused on Conservation, Engagement, Communications, and Funding. The goals for each are defined below.

• Protect high quality habitat for native and wild coldwater fish.
• Reconnect fragmented fish populations and habitats by maintaining river flows and free flowing rivers.
• Restore watersheds by working in collaboration with others.
• Use the Conservation success Index to help develop conservation priorities.

• Build volunteer capacity to execute projects that support the PRRS conservation plan.
• Increase member participation and fundraising to help achieve TU’s vision.
• Invest in youth to create a sustaining constituency to ensure the durability of TU’s mission and work through future generations.

• Reorient TU communications to build a web-based community that attracts and engages members and anglers and helps achieve our conservation goals.
• Continue to refine TU brand among target audiences identified in the conservation, funding and member engagement plans.
• Effectively communicate new strategy to appropriate audiences.

The funding plan sets out strategies and goals for securing unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted funding to meet the Conservation, Communications, and Engagement plan goals.
• Unrestricted: Increase unrestricted revenue from $8.6 million (2008) to $13.6 million (2012).
• Temporarily Restricted: Increase temporarily restricted funding from $12 million (2008) to $27.7 million (2012)
• Permanently Restricted: Grow endowment from $6 million (2008) to $15 million (2012), build general TU/CCF and project-specific endowments, and grow Stewardship Fund from $2 million (2008) to $4 million+ (2012)

CONSERVATION STRATEGIES: Protect, Reconnect, Restore, Sustain
• Work with sportsmen-conservationists to protect important public lands. Work with land trust community & others to protect important private land.
• Protect key watersheds from unwise development.
• Work with state & federal agencies & others to protect the genetic integrity of native fish (hatchery reform, invasive species).
• Promote “trout friendly” development practices.
• Engage in important national & international efforts to protect imperiled native salmonids.
• Lead state-based campaigns to promote new options for water conservation & healthy river flows.
• Use existing rules to maximize instream flows, water conservation & wise groundwater use.
• Remove, re-operate, or re-tool dams & culverts to recover coldwater fisheries.
• Implement watershed restoration in strategically important areas.
• Promote legal, regulatory, & financial incentives for restoration of trout & salmon habitat.
• Increase funding & build capacity for restoration throughout the organization.
• Address regional & trans-boundary problems that impact watershed health.
• Rebuild resiliency into aquatic systems to counter the effects of climate change.
• Improve hatchery management so that hatcheries do no harm to wild & native coldwater stocks.

ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES: Capacity, Participation, Youth
• Develop & integrate a “social contract” that defines national, council, & chapter responsibilities to implement conservation plan.
• Facilitate development of state council & local chapter strategic PRRS plans.
• Help build the capacity of chapters & councils to successfully implement conservation projects.
• Significantly increase funding for grassroots conservation projects through Embrace-A-Stream, agency partners, & private sources.
• Increase chapter & council volunteer engagement in projects & programs by >10% per capita annually over current levels.
• Implement a voluntary access program to help secure & create additional angling opportunities & to engage more anglers in conservation activities.
• Increase number of members that donate money more than once per year by >15%.
• Provide fundraising training & support to chapters and councils to increase the quality & quantity of PRRS projects. Increase opportunities for members to get engaged in conservation in straightforward ways such as contacting a legislator, signing a petition, or donating to a specific project or campaigns.
• Build the capacity of chapters, councils, & staff to successfully implement youth education projects with conservation content.
• Expand & consolidate youth education programs.

Due to limited space, the following strategies have been condensed:

COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIES: Further develop/refine systems, brand, and delivery

FUNDING STRATEGIES: Increase Unrestricted, Temporarily Restricted, Permanently Restricted funding.

TU currently has approximately 210 staff working in 36 offices from Alaska to North Carolina. The vast majority of TU’s employees are professional conservationists that oversee watershed restoration projects, organize hunters and anglers to advocate for improved public lands management, work to systematically improve state water policy to benefit rivers and fish, or promote youth education programs.

TU has approximately 150,000 grassroots members organized in more than 400 local chapters. TU’s members are community leaders, professionals, and business owners, and are among the most effective and articulate grassroots advocates for protecting our important watersheds and landscapes. In 2013, TU members volunteered more than 670,000 hours ($14.8 million value), organizing restoration projects on their local rivers and streams, educating youth in environmental stewardship, and engaging local decision makers in proactive planning. These same members generated almost $10 million in revenue. This all equates to a total contribution of $24.7 million from our grassroots members towards TU's mission.

TU is known for building effective partnerships with a variety of constituencies, including federal and state agencies, foundations, corporations, anglers, landowners, and sportsmen and women. TU's partnerships and on-the-ground project work that showcase conservation benefits and build trust, strengthen our political voice and increase the likelihood that favorable policies will be adopted and funds appropriated.

As one of the nation’s foremost aquatic conservation organizations, TU works hard to ensure that its efforts are guided by the best available science. The TU Science Team works primarily in four areas: conservation planning, restoration design and monitoring, conservation research, and science interpretation and technology transfer. The Science Team's work helps guide where and how TU conducts its conservation efforts.

TU has a strong 55-year track record of conservation achievements. Perhaps TU's greatest strength is that it works at multiple levels of society and government to achieve its mission. From the landowner on the stream bank, to the state fisheries agency, to the Halls of Congress, TU is working to achieve its vision.

TU maintains a database of project activities that help track on-the-ground outcomes, policy outcomes, and the ultimate long-term outcome. This database is updated frequently as projects progress along their respective timeframes.

TU's mission of conserving, protecting and restoring North American's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds has always remained the ultimate goal. Our varied projects are developed and completed at the same time when new challenges and legislative actions are taking place. And some of our project work requires continued monitoring -- many for 10 years or more. Below is a brief overview of some of TU's major progress toward our mission:

Bristol Bay, Alaska: Our Bristol Bay Protection Campaign remains one of our largest conservation priorities, and the EPA's watershed assessment of the region and 404c determination have remained our primary focus in this campaign. During the summer of 2013, in a stunning announcement, international mining giant and the majority stakeholder in the Pebble Partnership , Anglo-American, announced its abandonment of the Pebble Project and focus on developments elsewhere in the world that they feel offer less environmental risk and promise higher potential for profit in the near term. It’s likely that the steadfast opposition to this project from TU and our sporting volunteers resulted in the pullout of the proposed mine’s major partner.

Veazie Dam Removal: In Maine, TU joined its partners in conservation and removed the Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River, the second dam removed from the river in the last two years. The removal of the two dams and the retrofitting of a third in 2014 will open up 1,000 river miles in the Penobscot drainage for Atlantic salmon, as well as striped bass, shad, herring and other ocean-going fish. This river represents the last, best chance for Atlantic salmon recovery in the United States.

Orvis-TU 1,000 Miles Campaign: TU and Orvis have partnered to reconnect 1,000 miles of fishable water by repairing or replacing poorly constructed culverts throughout the United States. These poorly engineered culverts create a huge impediment to fish passage, spawning and survival. Visit for more information.

And all throughout the United States, TU’s volunteers logged 675,000 hours worth a contribution of $25 million to the organization. TU recruited 2,500 new members and, across the country chapters and councils raised more than $10 million for work on the ground.


Trout Unlimited National Office

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Trout Unlimited National Office

Board of directors
as of 08/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Bernard Bailey

Chris Wood

Trout Unlimited, Inc.

Harris Hyman

Flexpoint Ford

Nancy MacKinnon

Bernard Bailey

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/23/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation