Blackfoot River Project by Matt Woodard Blackfoot Home Rivers Initiative Project Manager
Two irrigation diversions were completely rebuilt to improve fish passage. One diversion on Diamond Creek, another on Lanes Creek now utilize instream rock weirs for elevating water to the correct level for irrigation while providing excellent fish passage. New diversions will now incorporate fish screens as part of each improvement. This work has opened up approximately 25-30 miles of new fish spawning and rearing habitat that was previously blocked!
The next fish habitat improvement is to rebuild 5-6 miles of Upper Lanes Creek. This aspect will completely fence off the stream project area, build new off-site water installations and incorporate rebuilding quality fish habitat that removes in-stream sediments and stabilizes the banks. These improvements will have big implications for downstream landowners.
Efforts continue in working with the Bear Lake Grazing Company to re-meander a section of Sheep Creek, a tributary to lower Lanes Creek. This project could be another big win for Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. Sheep Creek historically produce large numbers of native fish in the Upper Blackfoot. Sheep Creek was straighten out over time and subsequently lost its ability to dissipate energy. Rebuilding Sheep Creek is another big step in restoring Yellowstone Cutthroat trout populations within the Blackfoot watershed.
The Blackfoot HRI is working with IDFG on the Pelican issue. One goal is an attempt to restore some sort of balance to the pelican population on the Blackfoot Reservoir.