Program in Coldwater Conservation


Our trout streams and rivers have never been under greater threat.  Dams, pollution, land use change, invasive species, and a rapidly changing climate are degrading the coldwater resources on which healthy trout populations depend.  There has never been a more important time to invest in the future of coldwater conservation, through research and education of tomorrow’s fisheries conservationists.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, is seeking donations to establish a program for coldwater conservation, in part to honor the legacy of Dr. Robert J. Behnke.

Bob Behnke (1929-2013) was one of the world’s most renowned experts on trout and trout conservation.  He is best known for his About Trout columns in Trout magazine, and for his monographs and books on native trout and salmon in North America.  His writings have inspired countless professional fisheries biologists and lay persons to support wise conservation of trout and salmon and the coldwater habitats they need.  In addition, for more than 30 years, he helped educate generations of fisheries professionals at Colorado State University.


Your gift is needed to continue Dr. Behnke’s legacy of conserving and enhancing trout populations and their habitat for future generations. The Coldwater Conservation program will support research on trout and coldwater conservation, with the intent to establish an endowed chair for a new professorship. An endowed chair is a prestigious position at any university, but the Coldwater Conservation chair will be especially coveted by trout experts worldwide.  Because of the state’s iconic coldwater resources, and CSU’s international reputation in coldwater science, the Coldwater Conservation chair will attract world class talent.

  • Research on critical conservation needs for native and wild trout and their habitats
  • Provide outreach and leadership about coldwater conservation and related policy
  • Teach key courses in conservation of coldwater resources
  • Support and mentor students to create the human capital needed for effective future conservation
  • Attract the best and brightest expert to conduct cutting-edge research on conservation of coldwater fish and their habitats
  • Extend Colorado State University’s reputation as a premier program in coldwater conservation
  • Attract and create partnerships with state and federal agencies, industry, non-governmental organizations, and anglers to identify and study the most pressing coldwater conservation issues
  • Promote interdisciplinary alliances among water scientists across the university
  • Continue CSU’s excellence in attracting and producing the best-trained undergraduates and graduate students to work in the science and policy of coldwater conservation
  • Research to protect, conserve and restore wild and native trout


Please consider a gift to help establish the Coldwater Conservation program. Our goal of $3 million will fund a full-time professor, but all contributions will be put to use for coldwater conservation. Please visit

For information about how to contribute, please contact Jonathan Clifton, Warner College of Natural Resources, at (970) 491-3745 or
Kevin Bestgen, Larval Fish Laboratory, CSU
Kurt Fausch, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, CSU
Brett Johnson, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, CSU
Jeremy Monroe and David Herasimtschuk,
Douglas Silver, Private Contributor
Joseph Tomelleri,