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Matt Woodard Retires

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

At the end of March, UBC said goodbye to Matt Woodard – Trout Unlimited’s longest-tenured Project Manager in the West, and quite possibly across the organization. Matt started with TU back in 2001 as the South Fork Snake River Project Manager, and in 2010 shifted to become the Upper Blackfoot Project Manager. As such, Matt has been integral to UBC’s efforts to restore habitat and fish passage for Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in the watershed.

Those who have met Matt probably recall that first meeting – he stands out. He looks like Santa Claus. I never understood the term “laughing eyes” until I met Matt.

And somehow, those eyes kept laughing for the past two decades. Project Manager jobs are great, but they are not without their challenges. And Matt has always been up to those. From winning over skeptical landowners to repairing jammed fish screens, Matt has been a steady presence in Southeast Idaho. He is personally responsible for restoring and reconnecting over one hundred miles of habitat for Cutthroat Trout in the South Fork Snake, and more recently in the Upper Blackfoot River. I can’t overstate the outsized impact that Matt has had on native trout in Southeast Idaho.

And so it is with a bit of a heavy heart that I ask you to join me in bidding a fond farewell to our hero. Fortunately, Matt remains heavily involved with TU’s Snake River Cutthroats Chapter. So, he’ll still be around. And I’m sure he is looking forward to spending more time on the oars, and less time filling out permit applications and funding proposals. So, if you find yourself floating the South Fork this summer, be on the lookout for those laughing eyes – it’s a pretty good bet there will be a pod of fish somewhere nearby…

Thanks for all your work, Matt. We will miss you…

Warren Colyer, Trout Unlimited

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