Eastern Conservation

The birthplace of American flyfishing, the East is replete with angling history and holds a special place in the hearts of many anglers who have fished its storied waters. From mountain streams to large rivers, the eastern U.S. is filled with fishing opportunities. However, many of these places are at risk and face a number of pressures from overdevelopment, agriculture, energy development and other stresses.

From Maine to Georgia, TU is working to improve native brook trout habitat throughout the region. We’re taking on the biggest threats and ensuring that trout streams and rivers are poised to withstand current and future pressures, like increasing development and a myriad of threats to trout habitat.

How We Work

Much of the East Coast was historically home to native brook trout. Over the years, these fish have endured threats to their livelihood and we’re working throughout the region to improve habitat and increase opportunities for these fish to thrive.

We have a range of approaches to our work in the East. Depending on the region, we work to address the specific needs of a place and its fish. Working on the ground and at the legislative levels, we are able to tailor depending on the issue and location where we are working.

Maine has the East's best remaining brook trout. To project these fish, we’re using data and mapping to advocate for better fishery management and working with the state and other partners, we’re helping to identify additional waters throughout the state where brook trout live.

In Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, we’re working to improve stream crossings by removing, replacing or retrofitting culverts and other stream crossings to provide fish the ability to move greater distances within an individual stream, thus providing more habitat. In the Upper Connecticut River in Vermont and New Hampshire, TU is working with timber companies, municipalities and private landowners on large-scale restoration projects to improve brook trout habitat. Also in New Hampshire, TU is restoring habitat for wild brook trout and the eventual return of Atlantic salmon in Nash Stream.

On Connecticut’s Salmon Kill River, an important tributary to the Housatonic, TU is working with local landowners and partners to enhance the creek's native trout populations. Elsewhere on the Housatonic, TU is working to provide refuge and access to high-quality habitat for trout during times of thermal stress.

In New York, TU is working with a diverse group of partners on stream restoration, protection and reconnection projects. Projects range from removing or replacing barriers to fish passage, to improving instream habitat, to enhancing large sections of riparian habitat. TU is working on science-based research projects, as well as organizing community events and engaging students, including thousands in New York City, in the popular Trout in the Classroom program.

In the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale areas of the East, where an unprecedented shale gas drilling boom is underway, TU is making sure that drilling is done responsibly, to protect places that are important to sportsmen and women.

In northcentral Pennsylvania, TU is working to clean up the past legacy of mining and is working on cleaning up the lingering problems from abandoned mines in the region.

In New Jersey, less than 100 miles from New York City, TU is removing obsolete mill dams and working to restore the Musconectcong River and improve habitat for native brook trout there.

In places like the Chesapeake Bay and in the southeast, where brook trout habitat is seriously degraded, we are working to protect nearby land. Working with land trusts and other partners, we’re restoring critical habitat and ensuring that these places will exist for future generations.

In West Virginia, TU is working with local partners in the most upper reaches of the Potomac River. In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, TU is working with local farmers to bring back brook trout to mountain streams and valley spring creeks there.

We’re also helping to restore other species of fish in the East. In Maine, we’re working in partnership with to restore 1,000 miles of habitat on Maine’s largest river for Atlantic salmon and 10 other species of sea-run fish. In coastal Massachusetts and New York, TU is hoping to help bring back significant populations of sea-run brook trout, also known as salters.


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