Dam Removals

 

Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited is thrilled to have supported two projects led by TU's Wyoming Water Project to restore connectivity for fish passage in the Upper Snake River watershed: dam removals on Spread Creek and the Gros Ventre River.

 

In 2010, the Spread Creek dam, an obsolete, crumbling diversion dam for irrigation located just outside of Grand Teton National Park on Bridger-Teton National Forest lands (just north of the Triangle X Ranch), was removed by a partnership effort led by TU's Wyoming Water Project and Grand Teton National Park. TU’s Wyoming Water Project secured the funding to remove the outdated dam structure, construct a new water delivery system, and restore the natural stream channel, with additional support from the Jackson Hole One Fly Foundation/National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department,  and the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust. Now, 50 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for native Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout upstream of the dam site has been once again reconnected for migrating fish. JHTU has continued to work with the Wyoming Water Project to monitor changes to the system following the dam removal, including telemetry studies and education and outreach efforts associated with tracking long-term project success. The new water delivery infrastructure is working well and fish continue to move up and down and through the project site. View the video above for more information about the Spread Creek dam removal.

 

In fall 2013, the Newbold Dam on the lower Gros Ventre River near Kelly, another priority project for fish passage in the area, was removed through a Wyoming Water Project partnership with Grand Teton National Park. Additional project partners and funders included Jackson Hole One Fly Foundation / National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited, the National Elk Refuge, Orvis, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The dam was a lowhead dam no longer needed for irrigation purposes that posed a significant barrier to fish passage in the Gros Ventre River, and was also a safety risk to local residents and visitors recreating on the river at this location. More than 100 miles of spawning and rearing habitat have been reconnected through this historic effort. Through the Adopt-a-Trout program, local Jackson middle school students are helping to document fish movement following the removal of the dam.