Trout Unlimited is proud of its success stories. They’re plastered throughout the conservation group’s website, describing completed restoration projects and habitat preservation efforts across the U.S.
Its next success could come on the silver screen, thanks to a documentary project co-produced by Louisville resident Randy Scholfield, who works for Trout Unlimited’s Western Water Project in Boulder. The short film is one of six finalists in the national Intelligent Use of Water Competition, which awards prizes for films that present solutions to water issues.
Scholfield’s entry, Water Partners — filmed by Kathy Kasic of Metamorph Films of Montana — is just over eight minutes and highlights Trout Unlimited’s efforts across the West to preserve streams and rivers.
“We wanted to make a film about our work restoring streams in the West, partnering with ranchers and farmers to restore these streams,” Scholfield says. “People famously have fought over water in the West. But going forward it’s going to take more cooperation to ensure we have adequate water.”
The film emphasizes partnerships with ranches, which Scholfield says are central to Trout Unlimited’s mission.
“It really sometimes takes multiple partners to get these projects done,” he says. “And one thing we do is help bring together people to make these projects a reality.
“It was fun to get ranchers talking about the enormous potential to do this restoration work in the West,” he says. “There are some very exciting partnerships happening between sportsmen groups and ranchers and farmers to preserve habitat.”
Farmers in the film are also excited to see the streams on their property regaining their vitality.
“We can have trout forever, and people can enjoy them forever,” one rancher says of a project that improved irrigation on his land and reintroduced trout to the stream.
Trout Unlimited’s projects in Colorado include restoration work along the Gunnison River, the Yampa/White River Basin, and Clear Creek, where mining has damaged the health of streams. Scholfield says Boulder Creek is also receiving attention from Trout Unlimited’s member chapters.
Scholfield’s film will be screened with the five other finalists Sept. 20 in Los Angeles, at an event hosted by legendary conservationist Jack Hanna. You can find Scholfield’s film at the bottom of the IUOW website.