In early 2006, TU retained Dale Hepworth, a widely respected fish biologist who recently retired from the state, to map dewatered stream reaches around Utah. In January, he produced draft reports that map and describe partially and completely dewatered stream reaches in two Southern Utah watersheds. We plan to combine the analysis of dewatered reaches with important wild and native trout fisheries, and enter the information into a state-wide GIS database. The confluence of these areas will represent the areas in greatest need of TU's restoration work, and will serve as a roadmap for selecting future projects.
Ongoing projects include East Canyon Creek, which flows out of Park City, home to the Sundance Film Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Since 2001, TU has been a member of the East Canyon Creek Coalition, whose mission is to explore ways to restore East Canyon Creek-an historic blue ribbon fishery destroyed by a combination of suburban development and increased water diversions.
TU has also been actively involved in several FERC re-licensing proceedings around the State to help ensure the process protects and recognizes the value of our wild and native trout fisheries. These efforts have resulted in an agreement to decommission a small hydro plant on the American Fork River, removing barriers to fish passage and restoring stream flows; a re-licensing agreement on Boulder Creek in Southern Utah that will restore flows to benefit native Colorado River cutthroat trout; and a pending agreement on the Blacksmith Fork River near Logan that will protect flows for a popular wild trout fishery and improve habitat for native Bonneville cutthroat trout.
Another ambitious project involves the Weber River. Dammed, choked, and channeled for much of its length, the Weber could offer tremendous recreational and environmental benefits if better managed. One of the worst reaches lies below Echo Reservoir, where for several miles the entire volume of the river is reduced to a trickle during the winter. TU has been working with the state and the state's congressional delegation to secure money to protect and restore this river corridor, which provides important habitat for elk and mule deer, osprey, and waterfowl- habitat that, could be substantially improved if we could restore flows and rechannel the river. Improving winter flows would also create a blue-ribbon fishery.