Projects > Private Ranch Fish Habitat Restoration
Through years of excessive grazing and trampling by cattle, the fragile spring creek on this ranch near the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming had become overly wide and covered with fine sediment.Nearly all pools were filled with fine sediment, spawning riffles were smothered, and much of the riparian vegetation providing overhead cover was degraded.As a result, the spring creek fishery was virtually non-existent despite the excellent quality of water supplying the system from numerous springs.
After completing a thorough evaluation of the factors limiting the fishery, Confluence developed a plan to restore the stream including the removal of sediment from the stream bed and the creation of pools and spawning riffles. In addition, grazing was halted within the riparian corridor to allow the soils to stabilize and encourage the growth of shrubs such as willows and dogwood.
Construction was completed in stages over several years until nearly 3 miles of channel were restored. The stream now supports breeding populations of rainbow, brown, and Green River cutthroat trout. The result of these improvements has been the creation of a trophy fishery. A typical day on the spring creek will yield numerous 18- to 22-inch fish with the occasional lunker up to 27 inches!