In 2010, TU's Wyoming Water Project put over $3 million toward restoration and reconnect projects on the ground. Here are a few highlights of how we're making a difference:
Dams, ditches and other irrigation diversions can pose a major challenge to healthy stream flows and habitat in the West. After several years of fundraising, planning and organizing partners, TU’s Wyoming Water Project in fall 2010 launched a major dam removal project on Spread Creek, a key tributary of the Snake near Jackson, Wyoming. The dam--13 feet tall by 250 feet long--is a complete barrier to fish migrating upstream. By removing the dam, TU will open up some 50 miles of spawning and rearing habitat to native Snake River cuttthroats. Demolition of the dam went pretty quickl, and the next step will be to build rocks wiers and other stream improvements.
Rock Creek in southwest Wyoming supports an important resident "conservation population" of Bonneville cutthroat trout, and until recently the creek provided critical spawning and juvenile rearing habitat for migratory fish from the Bear River. In addition, Rock Creek harbors a robust population of northern leatherside chub, and several other native minnow and sucker species. Partnering with local ranchers and agencies, TU’s efforts on Rock Creek have included the improvement of 8 diversion structures, the installation of 5 fish screens and a culvert improvement project to encourage fish passage throughout the system.
The historic Pitchfork Ranch near Meteetse has one of the Wyoming's most important Yellowstone cutthroat trout rivers running through it -- the Greybull. Wyoming Water Project staff are partnering with the ranch owners to improve the Greybull's habitat and connect the mainstem with key tributaries. On the Francs Fork, an old double-barrelled culvert that acted as a fish barrier was replaced with a new bridge and stream improvements that opened some 15 miles of habitat. The new bridge is part of a larger, comprehensive plan of improvements that will eventually restore the entire watershed on the Pitchfork ranch.