In recognition of his important contributions to wild steelhead conservation, we are pleased to announce that John McMillan is this year’s recipient of the Wild Steelhead Coalition “Conservation Award.” This prestigious award is presented annually to an individual or group that, through their actions and/or accomplishments, has made significant and noteworthy contributions to the protection and propagation of wild steelhead.
Due to an illness, John was unfortunately unable to accept the award in person. However, Bill McMillan, John’s father and the 2009 Conservation Award recipient, accepted the award on John’s behalf. In his speech, a beaming Bill said, “I challenge each of you tonight to try and cast as far, to try to wade as deep in rivers and stay upright, as John … but more importantly I challenge each of you to try and equal him in the dedication of his life to protecting wild steelhead.”
Following the event, John sent us his prepared statement. In it, the always humble John said, “The award does not mean I have achieved anything. Conservation is a life-long endeavor. I see the award as something to help maintain motivation to continue traveling long distances to meetings, pushing that extra half-mile in a snorkel survey, or spending the necessary long hours preparing data and manuscripts for publication.”
John is an angler’s scientist and has a unique ability to clearly communicate the science of steelhead to any audience – from the novice angler to the seasoned steelheader. John’s tremendous gift for distilling and translating complex science has created countless wild steelhead conservationists and enabled us all to be better advocates for these majestic fish.
Over the years, John has been a great partner and friend to the Wild Steelhead Coalition. Whether it is openly sharing critical information or collaborating on steelhead conservation projects such as working to designate the Skagit River as a Wild Steelhead Gene Bank and helping secure the most recent Olympic Peninsula sportfishing rule changes, John’s collaborative spirit and drive to find a positive solution have made him an invaluable ally.
John has also published and co-published many important scientific steelhead research papers that have enabled stronger recovery policies and programs for wild steelhead that are grounded in sound science. This work includes groundbreaking work to help understand the role of resident rainbow trout in anadramous streams as an important life history component of wild steelhead.
The Wild Steelhead Coalition is proud to present this award to John and greatly appreciates his extraordinary contributions to wild steelhead.