Jackson Hole One Fly Foundation and Patagonia World Trout Initiative have demonstrated their commitment to the long-term conservation of native Snake River cutthroat trout by generously supporting habitat restoration in Grand Teton National Park. Both organizations recently awarded Grand Teton National Park Foundation grants totaling $25,000 to help restore stream flow and fish passage between the Snake River and the upper reaches of one of its main tributaries—Ditch Creek.
Fish habitat in the lower five miles of Ditch Creek has been fragmented for more than 50 years due to human-caused changes on the landscape, including road culverts that prevented fish passage. In addition, when natural sediment transport processes cause Ditch Creek to periodically leave its main channel, instead of finding a new naturally meandering path, the creek usually finds its way into relic irrigation ditches built by early settlers. This results in stream flow rates that also prevent fish passage.
Work during the last three years has made significant progress on restoring connectivity of the Snake River and upper Ditch Creek. Road culverts have been updated to be fish-friendly. Recurring channeling of the stream in old irrigation ditches is the last significant obstacle to reconnecting these two waterways. Foundation funding will help restore Ditch Creek to its historical alignment, allowing fish passage during key spawning and migratory periods, and maintain and enhance fish movement studies. Data collection will help assess restoration project success, reveal preferred spawning habitats, and facilitate the shaping of a practical, long-term management plan for Ditch Creek.
Thanks to Jackson Hole One Fly Foundation and Patagonia World Trout Initiative—this project would not be possible without your generous support! We look forward to sharing updates as work progresses on Ditch Creek this summer.