Wednesday, November 27, 2019



Leslie Steen, Snake River Headwaters Project Manager, Trout Unlimited, 307-699-1022, lsteen@tu.org

Lee Mabey, Forest Fisheries Biologist, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, 208-557-5784, lmabey@fs.fed.us


Tincup Project Partners Receive Conservation Award


Trout Unlimited, Caribou-Targhee National Forest and permittees recognized for large-scale project as part of the Snake River Headwaters Home Rivers Initiative


JACKSON, Wyoming – The Intermountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service recently presented the Partnerships and Volunteerism award to Trout Unlimited (TU), the Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF) and grazing permittees Ken and Kip O’Brien of OW Ranch at the Regional Forester’s Awards ceremony in Ogden, Utah.

“Working together, this team has harnessed the financial and labor support of several organizations which have contributed almost $800,000 for completion of the project,” said Intermountain Region Deputy Director David Rosenkrance. “Trout Unlimited has played a key role in garnering support for this endeavor and sponsored several volunteer days. Thank you for your efforts to improve our environment.”


The Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project is a large-scale, multi-phased effort initiated in 2017 to improve ecosystem function and habitat for cutthroat trout and other native fish species on 5 miles of degraded stream on CTNF lands. The final year of implementation is planned for 2020.


“We are thrilled to receive this award on behalf of all the partners and volunteers that have made the Tincup project possible. More than 15 partners have come together to pull in the same direction out of recognition of the project’s importance for native cutthroat trout and other native species. Many of the funding partners doubled and tripled down for multiple years of support,” said Leslie Steen, Snake River Headwaters Project Manager for Trout Unlimited.


Partnerships have been a critical component of the project. The Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project has received technical support and funding to date from the U.S. Forest Service, Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Jackson Hole One Fly, Jackson Hole TU chapter, National Forest Foundation, Snake River Cutthroats TU chapter, Southeast Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Fund / Itafos, Star Valley TU Chapter, TU and Orvis Embrace-a-Stream Grant Program and Challenge, US Fish and Wildlife Service – Idaho, and the Western Native Trout Initiative. Additional in-kind support has been provided by Agrium (now Itafos), Bear Lakes Grazing Association, Caribou County,  Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Transportation Department, and OW Ranch.


The Tincup Creek project area is located above the junction of Highway 34 (Tincup Highway) and USFS Road #117 (Tincup/Bridge Creek Road), between Wayan, Idaho, and Freedom, Wyoming, in southeast Idaho. Tincup Creek within the project area has been impaired and degraded for more than 60 years, with the primary cause of the degradation linked to aerial spraying of willows in 1956. The loss of willows precipitated the destabilization of the stream and led to the loss of meander bends and stream length, steepened gradients, channel downcutting, and an unhealthy, disconnected floodplain and riparian zone.


The overall goals of the are to restore stream channel and floodplain processes and function to allow for all parts of the aquatic system to interact with each other. Restoration techniques include building floodplain benches, transplanting whole willows, reconnecting historic meanders, adding large woody debris, elevating riffles for floodplain reconnection, and reinforcing naturally-occurring beaver dams.


“It’s been an amazing journey from idea to fruition, with great partners like Trout Unlimited and all of our funding partners,” said Lee Mabey, Forest Fisheries Biologist with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. “Together, great things get done for our aquatic species.”


Together: Rebuilding Tincup, a project video highlighting its partnerships by Tight Line Media, is available to view on Vimeo.


Volunteers from local TU chapters based in Idaho Falls, Star Valley, and Jackson Hole have assisted each year with the restoration effort in 2019 as they did previously in 2017 and 2018. All three TU chapters have contributed funding towards the project and two chapters (Star Valley and Jackson) have raised additional grassroots funding and prize money through the TU Orvis Embrace A Stream Challenge program, a week-long online competition and fundraising platform.


The Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project is a project of TU’s Snake River Headwaters Home Rivers Initiative, an ambitious initiative to restore and protect the headwaters of the Snake River and its fishery, together with a diverse group of community, landowner, and agency partners. 

About Trout Unlimited
Today, Trout Unlimited is a national organization with more than 155,000 volunteers organized into 400 chapters nationwide. These dedicated volunteers are paired with a respected staff of organizers, lawyers, policy experts and scientists, who work out of more than 30 offices. Our mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America's cold-water fisheries and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.

About the Caribou-Targhee National Forest

One of the original purposes of theForest Service was to provide healthy watersheds and clean water.  Forest Service lands are to be managed to provide the greatest good to the greatest numbers as we care for the land and serve the people.