The Teton River begins quietly as a spring creek west of the Tetons before cutting through the farmlands of eastern Idaho, carving a rugged wilderness canyon of roaring rapids and soaring bluffs. The Teton River is one of the last remaining strongholds for Yellowstone cutthroat trout and it’s an important winter refuge for elk, moose and other wildlife—yet this unique canyon remains one of Idaho’s best-kept secrets. In the early 1970s, Trout Unlimited and other conservation groups fought a proposal to dam this wild river. But despite warnings about the huge environmental and economic costs, the dam was built—and disaster quickly followed. On June 5, 1976, only days away from filling for the first time, Teton Dam ruptured, sending an 8-story wall of water down the canyon toward communities on the Snake River plain. The ensuing flood killed 11 people and caused more than one billion dollars in damage. Three decades later, the former dam site sits as a stark reminder of this disaster. In 2009, Idaho launched a controversial study to rebuild Teton Dam and inundate Teton Canyon again. Local farmers say they need the extra water, but Trout Unlimited and other conservation groups point out that there are better ways to meet the needs of agriculture while protecting this unique natural treasure. Trout Unlimited is committed to preserving this beautiful wild river for future generations.
Better Ways to Meet Idaho's Water Needs
Idaho water officials in 2010 will begin a study to look at options for storing water in the Teton River basin, including a rebuild of Teton Dam. But there are far less costly and environmentally friendly ways to meet the water needs of agriculture, such as aquifer recharge, irrigation efficiency upgrades, and municipal conservation. With smart water planning, Idaho can keep its rivers running free while meeting the needs of agriculture and communities. Learn more.
Over 89 cents from every dollar contributed to TU goes directly into conservation programs.
Help Teton Canyon Become a Wild and Scenic River
Idaho's Teton River Canyon is a spectacular wild river canyon and critical stronghold for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Take action today and help us preserve this priceless fishery for future generations. Take action and support a proposal to give permanent Wild and Scenic River protection to Teton Canyon. » Take Action
In 2008, the Idaho legislature voted unanimously to spend $400,000 to study replacing "Teton Dam storage." Since then, TU has worked consistently to urge the State and Bureau of Reclamation to spend state and federal funds on a more productive study. »Learn More
Idaho Water Project
151 North Ridge Avenue
Idaho Falls, ID 83402