Chalk Creek Irrigation Modernization
Chalk Creek is an important tributary to Utah’s Weber River. This river drains the Wasatch Mountains directly west of Salt Lake City and eventually flows through Ogden, Utah, before joining the Ogden River and emptying into the Great Salt Lake.
Chalk Creek represents one of the largest networks of intact habitat for the at-risk Bonneville Cutthroat trout and many other native fish and wildlife species. However, an irrigation diversion dam in the South Fork of Chalk Creek diverts most of the water out of the stream during summer months and blocks fish migrations for trout and other native fish, preventing them from accessing important spawning habitat and coldwater refuge areas in the intact upper reaches of the stream.
This project, in partnership with Trout Unlimited, restores water to a critically dewatered reach of the Chalk Creek watershed. The project was developed by Trout Unlimited in close collaboration with a local rancher to completely retrofit the ranch’s approach to using water. Project partners will first install efficient, center pivot sprinkler systems that use much less water than the ranch’s historical irrigation methods that at one time included flooding the land with water diverted from the stream. Second, the project relocates the point at which water is diverted from the stream.
During dry summer periods, this project will restore over one cubic foot per second of stream flow to a critically dewatered stream reach—60 million gallons per year.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit