Little Bear Flow Restoration Project


TU installed four new pivot irrigation driven by innovative micro-hydro turbines that provide a source of clean and renewable energy. In exchange, the Bess family plans to lease a minimum of 1 cfs of senior water rights to restore flows on a chronically dewatered section of the Little Bear River.  This lease will enhance flows for up to seven miles downstream to benefit a locally important fishery for native Bonneville cutthroat, wild brown trout, and mountain whitefish.


Working with a local rancher to install a more efficient and innovative irrigation system; leasing water to restore stream flows, which will mark the first private water lease in the State of Utah under new legislation passed in 2008 and amended in 2013.


When completed, this project will represent something of a watershed moment in the State’s history—the first lease to protect stream flows and the first lease held by a private entity (TU) rather than the State.

Staff Contact

Jim DeRito, project manager


Author of this Page

Tim Hawkes, director, TU Utah Water Project

Little Bear River
Cache Valley

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat Trout

Climate Change
Risks to Fishing 

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