For Andrew Dutterer, fishing was the common thread that wove together his past, present, and future.
Fishing was a connection to his grandparents and the memories of exploring the forest on their West Virginia farm; a link to his great-grandfather, “a grizzled fisherman with a soft heart”; and a way to know his grandfather, a charismatic outdoorsman and direct descendant of the Choctaw Nation who passed away when Andrew’s mom was a child.
“Fishing and wading in rivers were ways that he connected with those ancestral spirits and felt more alive himself,” says Caitlin Dutterer, his wife.
Andrew fly-fished on the rippling rivers of rural Vermont during college, spent months exploring New Zealand’s rivers, and ultimately made his home among the majestic rivers of the Northwest. While managing the Deschutes Angler fly shop in Maupin, Oregon, he witnessed the enormous ecological and social impacts that river and fishery management decisions had on his community. He knew he could create positive change for fish and people by influencing those decisions.
Andrew earned dual graduate degrees focused on water science and water policy from the University of Oregon, then landed at the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), where he coordinated state grants for collaborative watershed restoration efforts.
“Andrew really embodied the spirit of OWEB’s work and our passion for fish and wildlife habitat,” says Meta Loftsgaarden, former Executive Director. “He knew these fish inside and out.”
After Andrew’s tragic passing in September 2021, family members asked Wild Salmon Center to direct gifts in his memory to our restoration efforts in Oregon.
“Andrew’s work at OWEB ran parallel to WSC’s stronghold approach,” says Meta. “Protecting the best, strongest rivers that have the potential to carry on—not only for the resilience of the fish, but the landscapes around them.”
Donations to Andrew’s memorial fund were instrumental in building a new, watershed-scale restoration plan for Oregon’s Nehalem River, which recently helped leverage significant public grants for projects (see more about our Coastal Restoration campaign).
“Supporting this restoration work honors Andrew,” says Caitlin. “He cared strongly about fish conservation for future generations. I hope this work inspires people to explore their local rivers and watersheds, wherever they may live. They will find Andrew there, too.”
“I hope this work inspires people to explore their local rivers and watersheds, wherever they may live. They will find Andrew there, too.”Caitlin Dutterer