Snake River Headwaters Initiative Projects


The local chapter’s commitment of $100,000 for the first two years of Snake River Headwaters Initiative Project Manager has allowed for significantly more local efforts to flourish. Below are brief descriptions of the many projects completed, about to begin, or underway. For more in-depth project descriptions and photos, please visit TU's project microsite for the Snake River Headwaters Initiative.


2017 Projects


  • Upper Gros Ventre River Ranch Tributary Restoration Project  

This project will restore 4 tributary streams in the headwaters of the Gros Ventre on Trust for Public Land property slated to become part of the Bridger Teton National Forest. We are working with partners to reverse the effects of a long-abandoned irrigation system, so that after 100 years of impairment, these streams can once again provide habitat for juvenile cutthroat. Your Old Bill’s Funds went to support the design work for this endeavor. Partners: BTNF, CFJH, JHOF, TCD, TPL, USFWS, WGFD, private donors. PDF icon08/17/16 article in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.


  • Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project Phase 1

This project is a large-scale, multi-phased project to improve ecosystem function and habitat for cutthroat trout and other native species by restoring channel and floodplain function and processes on 4 miles of degraded stream on Caribou-Targhee National Forest lands. Tincup Creek is a tributary of the Salt River. Partners: Agrium, CTNF, IDFG, JHOF, SRCTU, WNTI.


  • Teal Trace Spring Creek 2 Restoration Project | this project did not receive funding from JHTU but received project management assistance from the Snake River Headwaters Initiative

The Teal Trace Spring Creek 2 Restoration Project is a project to restore stream function and spawning habitat on the spring creek that runs through the Teal Trace conserved open space. Entirely self-funded by the Teal Trace homeowners, we hope that it will serve as a model for other private landowners in the valley to steward their spring creek habitat for the benefit of the watershed and fishery. Partners: Teal Trace HOA.


  • Snake River Ranch / State Lands Irrigation Improvement Project

We provided funding support for this project on WY State lands leased by the Snake River Ranch to improve irrigation infrastructure and thereby decrease sediment and nutrient inputs into the headwaters of Fish Creek. This project complements our ongoing participation in the Fish Creek Stakeholders group, which seeks to collaboratively address nutrient loading issues in the Fish Creek drainage. Partners: FOFC, SRR, TCD, WWDC.


Active Projects


  • Spread Creek Fish Passage Project Phase 2 Design 

This is Phase 2 of the Spread Creek Dam Removal project. Since the dam was removed, GTNP, USGS, BTNF and WGFD biologists have documented fish entrained in the Spread Creek irrigation system. Phase 2 seeks to ensure unimpeded migration between the Snake River and Spread Creek by installing a fish screen that prevents losses of native fish and by stabilizing the diversion structure. Partners: BTNF, GTNP, JHOF/NFWF, Knobloch Foundation, Marine Ventures Foundation, Moosehead Ranch, Orvis, SRF, TCD, Triangle X Ranch, USFWS, USGS, WGFD, WWNRT.


  • Game Creek Reconnection Project Design

With the expansion of South Highway 89 to 5 lanes, WYDOT plans to replace 2 outdated culverts with a single culvert that would open up the system to spawning cutthroat for the first time in decades. We have been focusing on the fish passage component of the project, including working with WGFD on a fish passage and irrigation efficiency project that will remove a diversion that is a seasonal barrier to migrating cutthroat and will allow better control of water withdrawals. Partners: BTNF, GYC, TCD, WYDOT, WGFD. PDF icon07/06/16 article in the Jackson Hole News and Guide, P1 PDF icon P2.


  • River Bend/McNeel Restoration and Irrigation Improvement Project Design

This Bondurant-area property is a working cattle ranch and WGFD elk feedground that is under a Jackson Hole Land Trust conservation easement. The Hoback River runs through the property and has been impacted by irrigation practices as well as riparian vegetation loss from grazing and browsing. The project seeks to restore aquatic and riparian habitats and stream channel function while also improving irrigation efficiency to concurrently benefit fish habitat and agriculture operations. Partners: WGFD, JHLT, BTNF, landowners.


  • Swift Creek Stream Restoration and Stabilization Project Design

The Lower Swift Creek Stream Restoration and Stabilization Project focuses on a mile of lower Swift Creek near its confluence with the Salt River. Swift Creek experiences significant impairments from top to bottom, including a hydropower dam, dewatering, and channelization in upstream areas, and sediment transport issues and bank and channel instability in lower reaches. The goal of the project is to protect and improve spawning cutthroat trout habitat in lower Swift Creek, reduce sediment contributions to the Salt River, and reduce landowner flood risk and maintenance requirements in Lower Swift Creek is an important trout spawning tributary. Partners: WGFD, NRCS, USFWS, private landowners


  • Tincup Creek Stream Restoration Project Phase 1

See description above.


  • Jackson Adopt-a-Trout Program

Through a study of the Hoback River system with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other partners and volunteers, 200 Jackson Hole Middle School students have “adopted” and followed radio-tagged fish throughout the 2016-2017 school year and learned about the watershed in the field and classroom.  The 2017-2018 school year study will be based in the Fish Creek drainage. The AaT program also provides valuable data regarding habitat conditions and trout migratory patterns, which in turn helps identify new stream restoration and reconnection projects. Partners: WGFD, TCSD, TCD, FOFC, MBRWF, volunteers.