Greetings to all,
First, I want to thank our membership who donated over 3,000 volunteer hours in 2017 as part of our efforts to conserve the cold-water fisheries in the Upstate of South Carolina. Trout Unlimited and Mountain Bridge TU would not exist without your efforts.
As we begin 2018, here is a run down of our efforts in 2017.
Conservation: Led by Gary Davis, and our board members.
1. Matthews Creek Dam Removal Project - project initiated to remove earthen dam and
pond at headwaters of Matthews Creek on Natureland Trust property, immediately adjacent to Watson-Cooper Heritage Area in Greenville County. This project aims to protect one of the most robust populations of native Southern Appalachian brook Trout in South Carolina. This stream also supplies two-thirds of the flow to the South River, a DNR supported Trout stream.
MBTU working with SNDNR performed dye test on pond and killed off the non-Trout fish in preparation for draining the pond and removing the dam in 2018 at a cost of approximately $72,000. Currently, $36,000 will be donated by contractor, the USFWS. The remaining $36.000 is being covered by cash donations of $11,000 received in 2017 ($4000.00 from MBTU) with commitments for another $11,000 in cash partners - Salmon and Trout Foundation, other partners and SCCTU chapters and council. The remainder being in-kind labor and expenses from MBTU, SCDNR, Natureland Trust, American Rivers and others.
2. U.S. Forest Service Culvert Removal Surveys - MBTU members donated over 160 hours to surveying forest road culverts so that proposals for bids can proceed to replace old round culverts with modern open-bottom culverts to aid the migration of fish and aquatics in the national forests of S.C. to improve the survival of Brook Trout and other Trout species.
3. U.S. Forest Service Temperature Monitoring on the Chauga River-MBTU donated a dozen temperature data collectors to monitor the water on sections of the Chauga River. In 2018, MBTU and the Chattooga River Chapter expect to be actively involved in monitoring and data collection.
4. SCDNR Trout Stockings - Approximately a dozen MBTU members assisted SCDNR at six different stockings of trout on supported streams in the Spring and Fall of 2017.
5. Chattooga River - MBTU members participated in the annual meeting of the Chattooga River Coalition, a multi-state and federal agency along with private stakeholders for the protection of recreational and fishing associated with the Chattooga River. MBTU members also participated in the annual fish sampling of the Chattooga River.
6. Became a Stakeholder Partner with the Save Our Saluda. Whose mission is to assist in the removal of sediment from Saluda Lake and the Saluda River.
7. Participated in the SE Water Flow Workshop in Greenville South Carolina
Trout in the Classroom Highlights for 2017
1. Ten schools in Greenville County participated in the Trout in the Classroom Program ending in May 2017. Over 412 students were directly involved in the program releasing over 200 Rainbow Trout fingerlings and 65 Brook Trout fingerlings at Table Rock State Park. Gary Davis, Tom Buto and Mike Blair administer the program for MBTU supported by a grant from the Fluor Foundation.
2. The 2017-2018 school year started in September of 2017 with nine schools participating with over 500 students directly involved. Fluor Foundation had granted $3500 for this school year to support the on- going program and replacement of old chillers and filters.
Youth Conservation/Fly Fishing Clubs
1. Green Charter School- initiated a fly fishing club with twelve members. Monthly meetings were held. Gary Davis lead the program with support from MBTU members during the outings. Outings were held at Table Rock State Park for casting and at Eastatoe Creek for fishing.
2. Sevier Middle School - For the 2017-2018 school year the school is supporting their “Coldwater Conservation Club aka Fly Fishing Club” involving twelve student members. A grant of $2600.00 provided the funds for purchase of waders, fly rod kits and equipment for all students. Students have been learning how to cast, tie knots and been fishing on Eastatoe Creek with many students catching trout on the fly for first time.
MBTU Veterans Partnership
Chuck Rouse, the program lead, has done an outstanding job of making 2017 a good year for the MBTU Veterans Partnership Program, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PHWFF) Greenville and the Upstate. He added several new volunteers, both veterans and non-veterans to our team. This year, Mountain Bridge has increased the number of participating disabled veterans participating in the program. We continue our fly tying programs, rod building competition, fly casting skills, fly fishing education sessions and fly fishing outings. We look to 2018 to be an even better year and some great outings are planned for our wonderful veterans.
Everette Workman, our communications chairman, has greatly improved communications and outreach as the Chapter has increased its presence online through social media and making better use of our website and email communications. We try to post weekly or more often to Instagram, Facebook, as well as updating our chapter website. We have reworked our website to make it more user friendly and attractive to view. Our facebook following as grown over the past year and serves as a quick means to notify members and followers of meetings, conservation efforts, and special events like the Fly Fishing Film Tour showing. These measures have helped to grow our membership.
Helmuth Johnstone, our membership chairman, has done an outstanding job of growing our membership. At the end of 2016, Mountain Bridge had 580 members by the end of 2017 we had 599 members. All new members receive a handwritten thank you card for joining and all soon to expire members receive a handwritten note thanking them for being members and to please renew.
1. I want to thank Mike Harvell for the many years he has overseen our 4 annual DOT road side cleanups on HWY 276 near the Rock Vanes.
2. Ed Watanabe, became the fishing and kayak Outings chairman and has done an outstanding job of organizing wonderful fishing and kayak outings during the year. Look for his announcements and posts on our website.
Many thanks to our other board members who do so much behind the scene: Dan Mahoney, Bob Bishop, David Armstrong, and our Treasurer Jon Wright. Also, thanks to Jason Long our immediate past president, for his help and guidance with the job of being MBTU’s president. A special thanks to Mark White who’s been a wonderful VP and his help in getting so many fine donations and support from Orvis in Greenville. Additionally, thank you to all our members who attended the Fly Fishing Film Tour, our monthly meetings, and our outings, you guys and gals are the reason Mountain Bridge TU exists.
Goals for 2018:
1. Complete the Mathews Creek Project and other projects that are in progress.
2. To continue to improve and move forward on all the areas mentioned above.
3. Embark on a major fund-raising campaign to supplement our Matthews Creek financial needs and other projects by implementing a three step plan:
a. Initiate a membership fund raising drive.
b. applying for grants to continue our mission to conserve the cold water fisheries in the Upstate of SC.
c. 3rd Annual Fly Fishing Film Tour hosted by MBTU.
Thanks to all,
President, Mountain Bridge Trout Unlimited
Greenville, South Carolina
Trout Unlimited is a natural resources conservation organization of volunteers dedicated to conserve, protect and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
In 1959, sixteen dedicated anglers gathered on the banks of Michigan’s Au Sable River. United by a love of fishing and a desire to help wild trout survive, they launched Trout Unlimited with successful campaigns championing catch-and-release fishing and the use of barbless hooks. Today TU has over 155,000 members working out of 380 chapters and 36 state councils nationwide to conserve, protect and restore coldwater fisheries. We donate well over 650,000 volunteer hours and significant funds every year to clean up polluted streams, repair and restore stream riparian and watershed areas, restore water to damaged and dried-up rivers, and teach young people about responsible stewardship of our coldwater resources and good fishing habits. We have won major victories in court and in Congress, using a nonpartisan, action-oriented approach that has earned the support of state and federal agencies, universities, non-profits, landowners and thousands of partners. The scale of our work continues to expand, but our focus remains the protection of wild and native fish, and our greatest resource is still the energy and enthusiasm of America’s anglers.
Together, we are working to ensure that our favorite streams and rivers will still be there—cold, clean and fishable—for the next generation. (TU is a tax exempt Section 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.)
Mountain Bridge Chapter
The MISSION of the Mountain Bridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited (MBTU) parallels the Trout Unlimited mission but is focused on upstate South Carolina, specifically: "To conserve, protect, and restore South Carolina’s trout fisheries and their watersheds (and on a selective basis, those of western North Carolina) through chapter and member activities, advocacies and common goals."
In addition, our VISION reflects our mission, which is: "To ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish continue to thrive within their original South Carolina range, so that our descendants can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters." All our efforts and activities are ultimately directed toward our belief in these tenets. More about our goals and objectives and the operation of our chapter can be found under the tabs at the top of each page.
The Mountain Bridge Chapter is the original South Carolina chapter of Trout Unlimited founded and headquartered in Greenville in 1974. It was founded by Bob Martin, Jerry Alexander, Larry Vickery and others with the initial effort to facilitate the transfer of private property of Jones Gap to the State of South Carolina - now Jones Gap State Park. A few years later, MBTU members helped to start the Saluda River Chapter in Columbia, SC, and later, the Chattooga River Chapter in Clemson, SC. These three chapters, along with at-large members in the lower and coastal regions, make up the South Carolina Trout Unlimited State Council and comprise over 1,600 members.
Our MBTU chapter currently has over 540 members primarily from upstate South Carolina’s greater Greenville-Spartanburg area and extending over to the Rock Hill area. Our members cover all adult ages, are both male and female, and come from all walks of life, socio-economic status, and interests. We all share the same passion to preserve, protect and restore cold water fisheries and to spend time together fly fishing for trout in those cold rivers and streams of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and beyond. We meet monthly featuring a speaker with specific expertise and experience on various areas of our interests in trout and trout fishing, conservation, and community service. Additionally, we have chapter outings at popular regional fishing streams during the spring and fall, along with other scheduled social and conservation activities. There is much more information about us and our activities on this web site.