Trout Unlimited, Tahoe National Forest reps receive national award | SierraSun.com

Trout Unlimited, Tahoe National Forest reps receive national award

Special to the Sun

From left, Tom Tidwell, David Lass, Deborah Urich, Leslie Weldon and Robert Harper at the recent ceremony in Washington, D.C.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Deborah Urich, a Tahoe National Forest Fisheries and Aquatics Biologist, and David Lass, Field Director for the Truckee branch of Trout Unlimited, recently received the "Rise to the Future Award," a national recognition awarded annually for excellence and leadership in Fisheries, Hydrology, Soil Science, and Air programs.

Urich and Lass are being honored for their key roles in the Little Truckee River Habitat Improvement Project.

Between 2012 and 2015, Deborah and David worked with more than a dozen partners including the Bureau of Reclamation, the Little Truckee Watershed Council, and local Trout Unlimited chapters, to raise $550,000 to improve aquatic habitat on the Little Truckee River.

The project covered a mile of the river between Stampede and Boca reservoirs, a highly popular recreational fishery, especially among fly fishers, for its large rainbow and brown trout.

The team effort, led by Urich and Lass, protected sensitive archaeology sites and rare and threatened plants and fish and created a volunteer agreement to manage unauthorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) use that damages the sensitive riparian area.

The project has also mobilized three volunteer work days so far to add spawning gravels, close illegal OHV routes, and plant riparian vegetation, with more to come in the future.

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Urich and Lass received the awards from U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon during a recent ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

"It is truly a great honor to receive the Rise to the Future Award," said Urich. "We are able to accomplish so many projects on the ground because of great partnerships."

This article was provided by the U.S. Forest Service. Visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe to learn more about Tahoe National Forest, or visit tu.org to learn more about Trout Unlimited.