THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
This weekend, the National Wildlife Federation recognized the Association of Northwest Steelheaders as the Affiliate of the Year.
“The passionate work of this mostly volunteer organization has amassed an impressive list of legislative wins over the past 40 years,” Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We’re particularly impressed with recent efforts to introduce newly returned veterans to the sport of fishing and the importance of conservation. Similarly, the Steelheaders’ Family Fish Camp educates children and their parents’ about fishing and the need for healthy waters for fish.”
The ceremony took place at the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meeting and 80th anniversary celebration, held in Estes Park, Colorado. The Affiliate of the Year award recognizes NWF affiliate organizations for outstanding conservation accomplishments and collaborative efforts with NWF and its supporters.
One of the oldest conservation and fishing advocacy groups in the Pacific Northwest, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders (ANWS) is a regional leader in coalition building and values this as the single most important element in achieving its goals.
Northwest Steelheaders’ programs and services include advocacy for fish, their habitats, and fishing opportunities at local, state and federal levels; environmental education of youth, families, anglers, and veterans; and protecting public access to waterways.
Two highlights of the organization’s education and public outreach efforts include the River Ambassador Program and the Family Fish Camp. ANWS’ River Ambassador Program teaches newly returned veterans to learn about fish lifecycles, the sport of fishing, enjoying the outdoors and becoming advocates for fish and their habitats. Family Fish Camp provides children and their parents’ instruction, understanding of, and appreciation for, fish habitat.
By leveraging shared goals to build working relationships with groups and individuals that are often on opposite sides of an issue, ANWS has amassed an impressive list of legislative wins over the past 40 years. The organization has eliminated gill netting for striped bass in Coos Bay and commercial harvest of steelhead trout, led the eight year effort to prohibit high seas drift net practices in international waters and the blockage of ‘in water ship breaking’ in Yaquina Bay; and finally ensured the passage of the Suction Dredge Mining Prohibition Bill, to name just a few.
The passionate work of this mostly volunteer association is ensuring the state leaves waters and wildlife healthy for future generations. As a key partner with NWF on its national coal campaign, ANWS worked to change hearts and minds on the issue of open-car coal transport from the Powder River Basin to China via the Columbia Gorge and proposed coal port terminals in the Pacific Northwest. Their dedicated work resulted in a huge win for orcas, trout, salmon and other Pacific Northwest wildlife when the Steelheaders worked to convince then-Governor John Kitzhaber to reject a permit for the Port of Morrow coal export terminal.