Grant Keeps Farmers, Fishers Working Together on the Upper Bear River
Fishers and farmers have been working together more than a decade to make life better for Bonneville cutthroat trout on the upper Bear River. Funding from the Farm Bill passed by Congress last year will help that collaboration continue.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is pumping another $1.2 million into improving irrigation structures and fish safety.
Warren Colyer works for Trout Unlimited, the conservation group that has led this multi-organization effort.
“It’s a good partnership,” he says, “because we come to them with ideas about how we can improve the streams for the fish and simultaneously make things easy on them.”
The project will help farmers by replacing some old irrigation canals and diversions with new ones. Colyer says more fish will survive thanks to screens, updated diversions and stronger instream flows.
“We always say the farmers and ranchers are kind of the first environmentalists,” he says. “They’re stewards of the land. So we really think we have a common vision and common goals.”
The partnership already has paid for more than $3 million worth of improvements along 30 miles of the Bear.
Trout Unlimited is working on similar projects in Colorado, Idaho and Washington state.