September 2020 was one of two fall seasons that I have been in Montana since 1997. Coincidentally, the only other September I was in Montana was 2003 as a result of SARS-CoV. All the other autumn seasons in that time period I have been in Mongolia either guiding, pursuing The Taimen Fund’s (TTF) initiatives or collecting scientific data. As wonderful as it has been to spend more time with my family and revisit the incredible Montana autumn, I miss my time in Mongolia and look forward to getting back there in 2021.
Throughout 2020 I received frequent updates from my friends and colleagues in Mongolia. Last spring Mongolia closed its borders with China and Russia and even stranded many citizens outside the country until mid-summer. In addition, there were strict quarantines, domestic travel restrictions and business and school closures. The results have been impressive. At the time of writing this letter the Covid-19 effect on Mongolia has been 473 cases, 329 recoveries and zero deaths. A great result for Mongolia!
Fortunately, TTF’s work continued in Mongolia in 2020. As promised a year ago, resulting from the success and the knowledge gained from our flagship RiverKeeper Program in the Eg River, TTF has been able to follow through with creating the new RiverKeeper Recovery Zones. This program has been designed to create buffer zones adjacent to established strongholds. Early in 2020 TTF identified the upper Eg River in Hovsgol Province as the hub for the program. As usual, Director Pervdorj Shirendev of TCF-Mongolia was the man for the job and established agreements with the Governors of the villages Alag-Erdene, Tunel and Erdenebulgan. Additional certificates for the program were issued by the Department of Nature, Environment and Tourism of Hovsgol province.
Thanks to TTF donors a new project is up and running in Mongolia. Twelve new patrollers have been hired, trained, equipped and are working with environmental inspectors and regional police authorities within the newly established RiverKeeper Recovery Zone. Another TTF success to be proud of.
Years ago I learned that one of the most important tools for conservation in Mongolia is the fly rod. TTF has spent countless hours working with domestic outfitters and clubs to help promote the sport and is excited by the reports from Mongolia in 2020. Both The Fly Shop Mongolia and Hovsgol Travel report that they hosted many domestic fly fishing groups, first timers included, at their respective lodges when Covid-19 openings allowed it. Great work and congratulations to the Mongolia based outfitters for growing the sport and advocating for the protection of Mongolia’s precious watersheds.
After the long strange year of 2020 TTF looks forward to continuing our efforts in 2021. We hope to reinvigorate the work established by Chris Pavlovich and her Watershed Warrior educational curriculum in schools throughout Hovsgol Province, conclude our genetics data gathering in the Shishged River and continue to strengthen both of our RiverKeeper programs in Hovsgol Province.
Thank you one and all for all of your support and please consider a donation towards our important work in Mongolia. TTF is a registered 501c3 and donations are tax deductible. Use the envelope provided to send a check or go to our website and donate online (www.taimenfund.org/donate). All the best in 2021.
Executive Director- The Taimen Fund