By Kyle Smith

Since 1975, TU’s Embrace-a-Stream program has awarded more than $4.5 million in competitive grants to chapters across the country. The local chapters and councils raise additional funds – leveraging donations to the Embrace-a-Stream grant program by as much as 20-to-1 – and have contributed a staggering $13 million to EAS projects.

The Embrace-a-Stream program is funded entirely by donations from our members, chapters and partners and continues to be our marquee grassroots funding program.

This year, I took over as TU’s staff lead for the Embrace-a-Stream program, working with a committee of dedicated volunteers who review, rank and determine the grant winners from dozens of applications from across the country. From start to finish, EAS is truly a grassroots program. I can only begin to tell you how impressed I was with the projects planned and executed by TU chapters and councils and the passion our volunteers bring to their work.

In 2016, Embrace-a-Stream grants will benefit 26 projects across the country. From Hangman Creek near Spokane, Wash., where native redband trout will enjoy improved streamside plants and canopy, to Belleville, Wisc., where stream banks will be stabilized to benefit native brook trout populations, to the White River in Vermont where TU members will help remove a dam and open over 90 miles of spawning habitat, EAS dollars are making a positive impact for our nation’s trout and the communities that enjoy them. View a full list of the 2016 Embrace-a-Stream funded projects.

Embrace-a-Stream does more than improve rivers, it also strengthens TU chapters by providing hands-on projects and experiences chapters use to increase visibility in their community, engage new members through meaningful volunteer work, and build partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as other nonprofit groups.

This year, TU partnered with RepYourWater to design a custom Embrace-a-Stream hat for those who give $40 or more to the program. Along with the RYW hat, you’ll also receive a TU logo pocketknife, perfect for your fishing bag or for everyday carry. I couldn’t be more excited about this partnership, as there is no better way to RepYourWater than to support Embrace-a-Stream and enable local TU chapters to make fishing better in their own backyards. Even better, find your local chapter and get involved with TU today.

Kyle Smith is the volunteer operations membership engagement manager at Trout Unlimited. 

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