What is the NC TU State Council?

by | Jan 31, 2023 | Uncategorized




Brian Esque the NCTU Council Chair recently sat down to help elaborate on what the North Carolina Trout Unlimited Council’s role was and develop a clearer understanding of what their role and responsibilities are within Trout Unlimited and how they support our local chapter.

Here is the complete article by Brian.

North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited 

As a few of you may know, I have been elected as the NC TU Council Chair for the 2022-2024 term. For my term as Council Chair, I am very hopeful that we can continue the great progress of the previous Council Leadership. 

We will strive to collect input and ensure we have consensus when furthering the mission of the North Carolina Chapters and Council. From a national perspective, the Council will work closely with Mike Mihalas, the National Leadership Council Chair, to ensure NCTU is aligned to the TU strategy. Chapters will continue awakening from our “great hibernation” of the last two years, and I hope to see many of you as we work on local conservation efforts and statewide initiatives.

Before becoming a board member in my Chapter, I had little knowledge of the NC TU Council. As a Chapter President, I started to understand the impact of the Council on North Carolina TU and fisheries management. As you read further, you will realize that the Council is built from Chapter volunteers and guided by principles that align the Council with the good of the Chapters and our natural resources. 

I imagine many of you may be unaware of the Council, and this article is for you. I hope you come away informed about the Council and inspired to be involved!

So, What is “the Council?” The Council is a group of NCTU volunteers serving as the connector between Trout Unlimited National Staff, Fisheries and Wildlife Management, partners, State and Local Government, and North Carolina Chapters. 

The Council mission is “To conserve, protect and restore North Carolina’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds while supporting Trout Unlimited’s efforts nationwide.”

What does the Council do? The Council represents Trout Unlimited members and Chapters statewide. The Council connects Chapters and partners to accomplish large scale projects or programs and to provide a contact for agencies which may interact with Chapters across the state. The Council aligns the Chapters with the national Trout Unlimited Conservation strategy.

Some examples:

  • Provide matching funds to Chapter Conservation Projects
  • Administers and operates RiverCourse
  • Connects Chapters on large projects like the Davidson River Project with PCTU, RRTU & USFS
  • Lobbies the Legislature with our partners for improved water quality
  • Provides Input to Hatchery Operations in the Pisgah Forest
  • Coordinates egg delivery with TIC programs across the state
  • Helps coordinate with TU on the Regional Rendezvous (March 10-12th, have you registered?)
  • Coordinated the Development of NC Priority Waters 
  • Developed Diversity Initiative toolkits for Chapters
  • Enables the NC Trout Unlimited License Plate

In general, the Council provides the following services in support of Trout Unlimited in North Carolina:

    • Assist and counsel chapters in matters involving membership recruitment, fundraising, projects, programs, communications, water quality, and special projects; as well as other areas the Chair has designated. 
    • If requested, assist chapters in resolving internal organizational disputes or disputes with other chapters in the Council area. 
    • Provide guidance to chapters in carrying out the policies and objectives of Trout Unlimited. 
    • Develop new chapters and increase Trout Unlimited membership. 
    • Give input and direction on state and regional fisheries management matters. 
    • Conduct fundraising activities. 
    • Develop and support youth education programs. 
  • Annually review the effectiveness of the Chapters within the Council and assist in the re-chartering of Chapters.

Finally, who is the North Carolina Council of Trout Unlimited? In many ways, you are the Council. The Council is comprised of TU Members from chapters across the state. There are no special interests or groups on the Council, which is formed entirely from Chapter representatives.

The Council structure includes an Executive Committee, Regular Committees and Chapter Leaders or Delegates. At a minimum, all Chapters are represented on the Council by attending the regularly scheduled Council Meetings. 

The Council elects an Executive Committee:

  • Secretary – Joshua Livesey (RRTU)
  • Treasurer – Greg Norman (RRTU)
  • Vice Chair – Open
  • RiverCourse Administrative Director – Chris Marok (Unaka)
  • National Leadership Council Chair – Mike Mihalas (PCTU)
  • Council Chair – Brian Esque (RRTU)

Various Committees conduct the business of the council:

  • Nominating – Council Chair
  • Budget and Finance – Treasurer
  • Youth Education – Chris Marok (Unaka)
  • Conservation – Jimm Barbery (BRTU)
  • Chapter Development – Sam Ogburn (BRTU)
  • Special Projects – Rusty Berrier (BRTU)
  • Legislative Affairs – John Rich (PCTU)
  • Diversity and Inclusion – Robert Allen (Unaka) Stephanie Adams (PCTU)
  • Communications – Open – Council Chair
  • Trout in the Classroom – Tom Adams (RRTU)
  • Veterans Services – Open

As with all growing organizations, we have a few open positions. If you are interested in any committee positions or leadership, please reach out to me or one of the committee chairs.

Going forward, I recommend that each Chapter designate a Council Representative to attend Council meetings. The more membership we have involved in the Council, the more projects we can tackle together. 

If you have any questions about the Council or Trout Unlimited in North Carolina, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Thank you for all that you do for TU.


Brian Esque

NCTU Council Chair


704 998 7666