Spearheaded by Trout Unlimited, the Driftless Area Restoration Effort is a locally driven effort to protect, restore, and enhance rivers and streams for fish and other aquatic life throughout the four-state Driftless Area.
TU’s Driftless Area Restoration Effort, (TUDARE) is an initiative Duke Welter helped found back in 2003. As TUDARE’s Outreach Coordinator, Duke travels the four-state region regularly, getting the word out about the great trout waters in the unglaciated area. He fishes with reporters, with policy makers, with students, with teachers, with project volunteers, and on his days off he fishes where projects might help, and where they already have helped produce healthy fisheries.
Duke Welter has been active in conservation advocacy and watershed restoration for two decades, working on groundwater protection, protecting rivers from mining impacts and harmful small dams, wetland and river restoration and regional watershed issues. Before he went to work for TU in 2010, he served as vice-chair of its National Board of Trustees and as chair of its National Leadership Council, the grassroots leadership body of TU. Duke has worked for over 30 years on Wisconsin and national resource issues including mining, small dam removals, watershed restoration, groundwater and wetland protection, access, public lands and funding for natural resource management. For his conservation work he was recognized by the River Alliance of Wisconsin as a “River Champion of the Decade” in 2003, by Trout Unlimited as its “National Conservation Volunteer of the Year” in 2002, and with TU’s highest award for volunteer leadership in 2011.