Press Release of Senator Crapo
CRAPO SAYS COLLABORATIVE EFFORT WILL BOOST YELLOWSTONE CUTTHROAT TROUT
News conference to announce Targhee, Howard Creek culvert project
Contact: Susan Wheeler
Island Park, Idaho – Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will join with a partnership of nearly a dozen work group members on Wednesday to announce plans to restore access to pristine Yellowstone cutthroat trout spawning habitat above Henry’s Lake. Crapo and the work group, which includes local Boy Scouts, the Henry’s Lake Foundation and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, will announce a construction project to replace culverts that have blocked Yellowstone cutthroats from moving into spawning beds for several years.
For interested media, video and digital pictures of the event will be available; please contact Lindsay Nothern at (208)870-1800 for details.
The flow of water into Henry’s Lake through the culverts on Targhee and Howard Creeks has eroded the streambed below the culverts and blocked fish movement, making it necessary to net and transport fish around the blockage. Board members of the Henry’s Lake Foundation, local Boy Scouts, Fish and Game staff, and many volunteers annually make repeated efforts to move the fish into spawning habitat. Notably, Targhee Creek alone accounts for about 70 percent of the naturally-spawned cutthroat trout in Henry’s Lake.
“These Yellowstone cutthroats are the same fish that fed members of the Lewis and Clark expedition,” Crapo said. “Some groups have expressed concern about Yellowstone cutthroat trout with regard to the Endangered Species Act. We all well know that water and endangered species issues can become extremely difficult and divisive. It is appropriate that we would celebrate the Corps of Discovery’s 200th anniversary with a project that will go a long ways toward preventing such problems for these important fish.”
“It is also important to note the considerable effort led by the Idaho Transportation Department, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Henry’s Lake Foundation to successfully adapt to this situation,” Crapo concluded. “In crunching what could have been seven-year construction plan into an expedited one-year project, they have been adaptable to a changing need and that will contribute greatly to the success that will come once the culverts are replaced with a bridge. I am encouraged that government agencies with plans and programs already in place were able to collaborate with interested groups and come up with a flexible solution to a problem.”
Crapo and the group have worked to replace the culverts with a new bridge span over Targhee Creek. The bridge will restore a natural free-flowing streambed, allowing the fish to migrate normally. The plan has the backing of work group members including the Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho Fish and Game, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resource and Conservation Service, Henry’s Fork Foundation, and the High Country Resource Conservation & Development. Construction on the bridge will start after Labor Day with a planned finish later this year.