Tribasin Watershed Flow Restoration
The “Tribasin” project area lies at the headwaters of three basins in Lincoln County, WY. The area encompasses three native cutthroat trout species distributions (Snake River, Bonneville, and Colorado River cutthroat). Miles of trout habitat have been degraded by sedimentation and segmented by culverts that are too small for fish to easily pass through. This project will leverage a unique collaboration between BTNF, TU and local TU chapters, and other state, federal, nonprofit, and foundation partners to reconnect over 21 stream miles for native cutthroat trout and restore natural hydrology in these headwaters streams.
As part of planning for an upcoming timber sale, which is anticipated to improve forest health and resilience while reducing wildfire risk, the BTNF has partnered with TU to dovetail watershed restoration and stream reconnection efforts with the preparation of access roads. The project’s goals are to 1) reconnect and restore streams within the project area for the benefit of Snake River cutthroat trout and stream hydrology by replacing undersized and damaged culverts; 2) improve watershed conditions and water quality by reducing sedimentation and erosion from roads into waterways for the benefit of Snake River, Bonneville, and Colorado cutthroat trout; and 3) reduce maintenance needs for Forest roads by replacing undersized culverts with structures that have a larger flow and sediment transport capacity and by improving drainage and low water crossings. Goals 1 and 3 will be accomplished by installing a bridge at one location, and larger culverts with natural substrate bottoms at 3 locations, that have been engineered to restore natural hydrologic function based of the 100-year flow event.
Together, these actions will measurably improve fish passage, water quality, stream function, natural hydrology, and aquatic habitat in the Tribasin area.
* Project removes artificial barriers that restrict passage and/or natural flow of water for some period of the year