In October, MTU welcomed Clayton Elliott on board as the organization’s new Government Affairs Coordinator. After growing up rambling the hills and rivers of the eastern edges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Clayton attended the University of Wyoming majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies. Following the completion of his graduate degree in Natural Resource Policy at the University of Michigan, he moved back to his native home in the American West. During his professional career in Montana, he has worked for a number of conservation and non-profit organizations in Montana focusing on public lands and clean water advocacy in the state and federal government. In his free time, Clayton is an avid fly fisherman and bird hunter across western Montana.

Elliott’s start this month coincided with saying goodbye to Brian Ohs who left MTU to join the legislative staff at the Montana Stockgrowers Association based in Helena. We greatly appreciate the commitment that Brian brought to MTU and look forward to continuing to work with him during the session!

Looking ahead to the upcoming session, MTU anticipates heavy lifting to safeguard the laws, programs, and funding that protect our coldwater fisheries and the outdoor heritage they sustain. At the top of the list, we will once again double down to ensure adequate funding for mitigating the potentially catastrophic implications of aquatic invasive species infestations in our waterways. While the last legislature created specific policy structures to address these concerns, the funding terminates at the end of the biennium, meaning lawmakers will have to explore solutions for maintaining millions of dollars in funding. Additionally, we once again anticipate robust discussions over investments in important fisheries and habitat conservation programs at the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks like the Future Fisheries Improvement Program and Habitat Montana. And, last but not least, we know that the mining companies and their foreign backers will once again be committed to weakening protections for our streams and rivers by gutting our water quality and mine permitting laws in the name of profit. We look forward to keeping you engaged and informed throughout the session so you can be sure to ask your legislators to stand up for our coldwater fisheries.

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