than 20 years, the BoatU.S. Foundation for
Boating Safety and Clean Water has awarded
grants to nonprofit organizations around the
country to educate boaters on safe and clean
Last year, the Foundation invited boaters to vote on their website and on their
Facebook page for their favorite projects.
In 2012, with more than 11,000 votes
from BoatU.S. members and the general
public, Recycled Fish received a grant to
seed their biggest program to date. Their “ 1
Million Stewards” program gives people a
way to make a meaningful difference, on their
schedule, and at their commitment level —
a multifaceted approach to educate boaters
and anglers to take care of their waterways.
Each person who signs their Stewardship
Pledge receives a Steward kit including a
bag to clean up trash while on the water, a
book that educates on stewardship actions,
and access to a website that gives them a
chance to share what they’re doing, teach
others, and really see the impact they’re
making. Stouffer feels people need a specific
action that helps create the identity of being
OUR LIFESTYLE RUNS DOWNSTREAM
Recycled Fish’s motto is “Our Lifestyle Runs Downstream.” Here are a few tips on how you
can reduce your impact on our waterways while on or off the water.
■ Clean, drain, and dry all boating and fishing equipment to keep invasive species from
spreading to other waterways.
■ Keep a trash bag onboard, and keep your trash out of the water. Also, pick up some trash
and bring it ashore.
■ Catch and release quickly. Take pictures fast and return fish to the water carefully, or
they won’t survive.
■ Reuse: Invest in a reusable water bottle. Leave the expensive bottled water at the store.
■ Turn off lights when you leave a room. Burning fossil fuels leads to air and water pollution.
■ Make sure your engines are in good working condition. Malfunctioning engines can leak
fuel, or use too much of it.
■ Use low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. The majority of water usage comes from
showers, faucets, and toilets.
■ Recycle paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass — at home, at work, and on the water.
■ Introduce new people to boating and fishing. There’s no better way to connect to our
natural resources than by enjoying them firsthand and you can show new boaters how
they can become stewards of their waterways, too.
Stouffer and his staff have attended 12 fishing
tournaments and events, sent e-newsletters
containing stewardship tips to nearly 5,000
people each week, and built a popular
interactive website, all resulting in more
than 14,000 people signing the Stewardship
A “ 1 Million Stewards” cleanup crew event at White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
a steward, and access to resources to take
stewardship behavior from the waterways
and into their homes. Through the 1 Million
Stewards program, people can embrace a
new identity beyond consumer or user of our
natural resources, and become a steward and
protector of those resources.
Since receiving the grant in June of 2012,
Pledge. And they’re doing more than just
signing. The program has tremendous reach
and is building momentum every day. A
study conducted by Recycled Fish of people
who signed the pledge showed that 65 per-
cent will change the way they interact with
their waterways and 90 percent have learned
more about stewardship.
While Recycled Fish has seen great success in building the 1 Million Stewards
program, their work isn’t done. If you’ve ever
spotted Styrofoam bait cups floating in the
water, you know their next challenge. This
year, Recycled Fish partnered with DMF Bait
Co., the largest bait distributor in the U.S., to
tackle this problem. All bait containers from
DMF Bait Co. are now biodegradable and
sport the Recycled Fish logo as well as a link
to stewardship tips.
With his endless enthusiasm for conservation and fishing, Stouffer is now a hero to
many. He kept the letter that Houston wrote
him and now gets to hang out with his hero
at fishing tournaments and events around
the country. Stouffer, his small staff, and their
army of supporters continue to grow the 1
Million Stewards program and several other
key programs, reaching new boaters and
anglers every day with their stewardship messages. For more on Recycled Fish, visit www.
recycledfish.org. For more on the BoatU.S.
Foundation Grassroots Grants program,
and how you can support our efforts, visit
The BoatU.S. Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)( 3)
organization devoted to implementing projects
that keep boaters safer and our waterways clean,
is independently funded by donations from
BoatU.S. members and by grants.
SINCE 1989, THE BOATU.S. FOUNDATION’S GRASSROOTS GRANTS PROGRAM HAS AWARDED MORE THAN
$1 MILLION TO NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS TO EDUCATE BOATERS ON SAFE AND CLEAN BOATING TOPICS.