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.
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
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.
The Taimen Fund will continue to support anti-poaching patrols along the Eg-Uur this season through our flagship ‘RiverKeepers’ program. Now in it’s 10th year, our RiverKeepers work closely with authorities to fight illegal and non-permitted fishing along 120 kms of this premier taimen habitat. We thank our Mongolian partners at the Taimen Conservation Fund and Hovsgol Travel for their financial and administrative support of the RiverKeepers teams.
This year, TTF is expanding the RiverKeepers program to include patrols and community outreach along an additional 130 kilometers of the upper Eg river through our RiverKeeper Recovery Zone (RRZ.1) Program – more than doubling existing patrol areas. With significant infrastructure development in Mongolia, access to prime taimen strongholds has never been more convenient. The section of the Eg River from Alag-Erden to the soum of Eg-Uur does not currently host guided taimen fishing and so the front-line defenders of wild taimen aren’t present on a piece of water facing a dramatic increase in fishing activity both legal and illicit. TTF will fill this gap with RiverKeeper-trained teams of new RiverKeepers to curb illegal fishing and educate anglers to the regulations for legal taimen and lenok angling in Mongolia. Support our work via an online secure donation.
The Taimen Fund is launching the “$10K RiverKeepers Challenge” during FQ2 of 2020 to raise $10,000 in donations dedicated to the continued growth and impact of our new RiverKeepers Recovery Zone program in Hovsgol Province. This new effort will help increase our reach and range across additional taimen habitat. Please consider donating today. TTF will match $.50 to the dollar raised between March and June that is directed to this challenge.
And, unfortunately, the global spread of the ‘Coronavirus’ has not passed Mongolia by. While there are no reported cases, as recently as the end of February, the government suspended all flights from Japan, China and South Korea – representing the vast majority of transit hubs to the country – and sealed the Chinese border while closing schools and canceling national events such as the recent Lunar New Year.
Will it affect the 2020 taimen season? We certainly hope not, and expect thousands of visitors both domestic and international will travel to Hovsgul Province during Mongolia’s summer and fall. For those lucky few able to chase wild taimen across this landscape please tread lightly, take pictures and best of luck on the river.
Charlie was recently interviewed by Yellowdog’s Jim Klug for their “Waypoints” podcast. It’s some damn fine audio.
the banks of the Yellowstone to taimen strongholds throughout Khuvsgul Province,
TTF has had a busy year. We were proud to introduce a program created by Mrs.
Chris Pavlovich, PhD candidate at Montana State University and teacher at East
Side Elementary School in Livingston, Montana, to elementary educators across
northern Mongolia. The Watershed
Warriors Program (WW) is an award-winning curriculum that provides hands-on, place-based,
real-life applications to science while
bestowing stewardship of and access to a student’s landscape and
to funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and your gracious donations,
our inaugural WW Exchange was nothing short of a resounding success. Mrs.
Uugnaa Purevdorj (of our partner organization, The Taimen Conservation Fund
(TCF)), long-time educator Mrs. Muugi Byambajav, and Mr. Erdene Sainbayar,
specialist in the Department of Education in Khuvsgul Province, visited
Livingston to interact first hand with the WW curriculum. In July, Chris, her colleague Mrs. Jessica
Hanson and TTF Program Manager John Bailey led a multi-day teacher-training
workshop on the headwaters of the Selenge River, hosting 17 educators over three
While in Mongolia in
September, I had the opportunity to meet with the team and education officials
in Moron. Teachers from July’s workshop
are today implementing WW in five school districts throughout Khuvsgul. We’ve translated the entirety of the curriculum,
and established a group Facebook page for students and teachers to share
findings and experiences. While
visiting, I joined a 6th grade science class for macro invertebrate
sampling. I was overwhelmed by how
rewarding the experience was to be with these eager and inquisitive students.
Once again, your donations, and a generous grant from the
Yellow Dog Conservation and Community Foundation (YDCCF), supported TTF’s flagship
RiverKeepers Program. Our anti-poaching
effort, conducted in coordination with local herders and law enforcement
throughout the Eg watershed is now a decade old!
As around the world, the spread of non-biodegradable waste has risen
dramatically over the last few years in the Eg and in 2019 TTF sponsored our
first river cleanup on the watershed.
TTF plans to engage with other conservation organizations and local citizens
to organize river cleanups on the Eg River, spring 2020.
Looking forward, 2020 will be another great year for TTF as
an organization. We will conclude our
genetics data gathering in the Shishged River with Mongolia-based NGO, Save the
Taimen. In addition, we will work
closely in the first quarter of 2020 to identify a watershed or stretch of
river that currently has no outfitting or enhanced protection. It has become apparent that those watersheds
that still have natural populations of fish need protection quickly in order to
build-up buffer zones for established strongholds. This new program will take
what we have learned in the Eg to create the RiverKeeper Recovery Program,
much-needed for the continued conservation of wild taimen in Mongolia.
Season’s Greetings from the TTF team.
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 take a peek at our website and donate online
(www.taimenfund.org). Thank you
one and all for all of your support and all the best in 2020.
Taimen Fund has big plans for 2019, including the expansion of our RiverKeepers
Program to other Mongolian watersheds and a social media campaign to educate
Mongolian anglers and public of national fishing regulations. Our most
ambitious program to date – bringing an award-winning, Livingston, Montana
developed elementary school watershed health and science curriculum to schools
in the Murun area – will launch in 2019.
of these programs need your support. Please consider donating today.
Meet our Research Partners
and Welcome to the Taimen Vault:
Taimen Fund inhabits the confluence of conservation and education and without
each neither alone can save the taimen of Mongolia. We are fortunate to work
with a number of area experts and research partners and we’d like to shine a
light on their participation.
visit the redesigned Taimen Fund website to meet our team of dedicated
scientists, educators and conservation specialists at
also find the start of our Taimen Vault – a repository for what we hope to be
the world’s leading research and reporting on taimen on the web. It’s just a
start but we’ll be adding to it over the coming months so please check back
Slideshow of Peter Fong’s
Lake Baikal Headwaters Expedition:
Taimen Fund supported author and adventurer Peter Fong’s 2018 Lake Baikal
Headwaters Expedition and in return his team surveyed communities along the
Delger Murun watershed for future TTF conservation work in the area.
Baikal Expedition, the first of its kind saw the team summit the largest mountain
in the region and descend down to the first braid of water forming the Delger
Murun. They then proceeded to follow the Delger Murun in its entirety to
the Selenge River and all the way into Russia at Lake Baikal.
As the year comes to an end, please consider a donation towards our important work in Mongolia. TTF is a registered 501c3 and donations are tax deductible. Use the “Donate” button below to pay with a credit card or Paypal.
Thank you one and all for everything that you have done to make 2018 a great year for The Taimen Fund (TTF). We have so many friendships, partnerships, donors and advisors that help throughout their year, truly too many to mention on a one-page note. However, we would be remiss not to mention Ross Purnell and Fly Fisherman Magazine for putting on a fantastic fundraising event in Denver last month. In one evening, we were able to raise over $20,000 to put towards our projects in Mongolia. Thank you and Happy 50th Anniversary Fly Fisherman Magazine.
2018 has been another successful year for TTF. We have continued our efforts in the Eg Watershed with our marquee RiverKeeper program. Working with this group of locals and herders has helped curb poaching and has produced a core of advocates and outreach network throughout the watershed. For fly anglers the Eg watershed is best known for the Hovsgol/Sweetwater Travel Camps and we are proud to help protect that amazing resource. Special thanks to TTF longtime partner Taimen Conservation Fund-Mongolia for their tireless efforts in the watershed and for Yellow Dog Conservation and Community Fund for awarding TTF a grant for continued work with the RiverKeepers.
In 2018 TTF also supported the ambitious effort of author/scientist/adventurer Peter Fong and his Baikal Headwaters Expedition. Peter and his team, including longtime partner, Conservation Geneticist and UNR PhD candidate Lanie Galland, began on August 12 when they summited the largest mountain in the region and descended down to the first drop of water forming the Delger Moron. They then proceeded to follow the Delger Moron in its entirety to the Selenge River and all the way into Russia, where Peter successfully reached Lake Baikal on October 10th.
Throughout the expedition Peter and his team collected water samples, invertebrate samples and fin clips. On behalf of TTF, the expedition conducted surveys in villages throughout the watershed. The surveys covered questions pertaining to watershed health, environmental education and fishing regulations. We are sifting through the results at this time and look forward to using the knowledge gained to better focus our conservation efforts in the region. Congratulations Peter on an amazing endeavor!
It was great to reconnect with long time conservation partner, Dr. Olaf Jensen of Rutgers University. TTF supported the participation of three Mongolian students in a joint Mongolian-American research expedition from June 9 – July 14, 2018. The expedition focused on social and ecological change in the Eg River Valley. Our donors supported a PhD student from Mongolian Education University, a student of geography and GIS at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and a Mongolian MS student in socioeconomic studies at Incheon University in South Korea, to work alongside American students in projects focused on understanding changes in the way Mongolian herders use natural resources, especially fish.
Finally, as promised last year, we have nominated a Mongolian to join the TTF Board of Directors later this month. Mr. Esentsengel (Esee) Sukhee is a Deputy Director at MCS Holding LLC, a partner with the Fly Shop Mongolia, fly angler and conservationist. We look forward to working with Esee for many years to come.
TTF is excited about our upcoming work in 2019. We will continue our work with the RiverKeepersand partner with Bioregions and Mongolia River Outfitters to host the second “Healthy Taimen Festival” and wellness clinic along the Onan River. Additionally, we are excited to work with PhD candidate Mrs. Chris Pavlovich of the East Side School in Livingston, Montana collaborating with teachers in Hovsgol Province to enhance their watershed health curriculum. Her proven program brings hands-on conservation and ecology to the fifth-grade classroom here in Montana and will be an important new program for our work in Mongolia.
Please consider a donation towards our important work in Mongolia. TTF is a registered 501c3 and donations are tax deductible. Donate here on our website. Thank you one and all for all of your support and all the best in 2019.