Home > Uncategorized > St. Charles Creek in Idaho Named “Water to Watch” For 2011

St. Charles Creek in Idaho Named “Water to Watch” For 2011

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The National Fish Habitat Action Plan (www.fishhabitat.org) has unveiled the 2011 10 “Waters to Watch” list, a collection of rivers, streams, estuaries , watershed systems and shores that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition.

These waters represent a snapshot of this year’s larger voluntary habitat conservation efforts in progress. These and other locally driven conservation projects are prioritized and implemented by regional Fish Habitat Partnerships that have formed throughout the country to implement the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. The objective of the Action Plan is to conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats essential to the many fish and wildlife species that call these areas home. In Idaho, St. Charles Creek has been selected as one of the 10 “Waters to Watch” for 2011.
The 10 “Waters to Watch” are representative of freshwater to marine habitats across the country including rivers, lakes, reservoirs and estuaries that benefit through the conservation efforts of these Fish Habitat Partnerships formed under the Action Plan—a bold initiative implemented in 2006 to avoid and reverse persistent declines in our nation’s aquatic habitats.
The initial Action Plan’s 10 “Waters to Watch” list was unveiled in 2007 and in 2011 will feature its 50th project. Since 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided $12 million to support 257 on-the-ground Action Plan projects in 43 states, leveraging $30 million in partner match, to address the priorities of Action Plan Fish Habitat Partnerships. Additional funds have been provided by several other State and Federal agencies and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and industry partners.
“Our approach—teaming local, state, tribal, and federal agencies with private partners and stakeholders—is helping to bring these waters back to life in most cases…in a faster more strategic way,” said Kelly Hepler, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “By watching these 10 models of our nation’s aquatic conservation efforts underway, we can see real progress, in both avoidance and treatment of causes of fish habitat decline. Too often we have focused on treatment of symptoms with limited success. Through sound science and on-the-ground locally driven partnerships, these select Action Plan projects can be held high as a vision of what quality habitat should and can be, and how it benefits all people throughout the United States.”
(Western Native Trout Initiative)

Partners for this project include the Western Native Trout Initiative, Trout Unlimited, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and St. Charles Creek Irrigators

Conservation Actions:
St. Charles Creek is one of a few tributaries to Bear Lake that provide spawning and rearing habitat for adfluvial Bonneville cutthroat trout (BCT). There are few natural spawning runs to support that population which is also enhanced through hatchery populations. Adfluvial BCT must navigate several irrigation diversions as they move upstream to spawn, and downstream migrating fish often get entrained into irrigation diversion screens.

This project is designed to install a rotary drum fish screen at a diversion upstream from a previously installed fish ladder, and stabilize adjacent stream banks through sloping, armoring with rock and willow planting to improve fish passage past the diversion structure for both upstream and downstream migrating fish. This particular project is the second NFHAP funded project implemented at St. Charles Creek.
In 2008 TU and project partners installed the aforementioned fish ladder funded by NFHAP through the Western Native Trout Initiative at the lowest irrigation diversion on St. Charles Creek so that migrating Bonneville cutthroat trout could reach upstream spawning and rearing areas. This project is the next upstream barrier that the fish encounter. The overall plan is to systematically work upstream and remove barriers and entrainment risks to restore a natural spawning run. It is expected that this project will be completed in 2011 following run-off in St. Charles Creek.

The rest of the 10 “Waters to Watch” for 2011 include:

  • · Alewife Brook/Scoy Pond, New York –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership)

  • · Au Sable River, Michigan –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership)

  • · Barrataria Bay, Louisiana –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership)

  • · Batten Kill River, New York –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture)

  • · Manistee River, Michigan –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership)

  • · Waipa Stream, Hawaii –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership)
  • Cottonwood Creek, Alaska –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership)

  • Duchesne River, Utah –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Desert Fish Habitat Partnership)
  • Llano River, Texas –
    (National Fish Habitat Partnership – Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership)

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is built on a framework of National Fish Habitat Partnerships. These regional-scale efforts include, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, the Western Native Trout Initiative, the Driftless Area Restoration Effort, the Matanuska-Susitna Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, the Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership, the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership, the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, the Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership, the Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership, the Fishers and Farmers Partnership, the Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership, the Great Plains Fish Habitat Partnership, the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership, the California Fish Passage Forum, the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership. There are also four “Candidate” Fish Habitat Partnerships that have stated their intent to apply for full NFHAP Board recognition.

The Action Plan has met its objective of establishing at least 12 Fish Habitat Partnerships by 2010 to help identify the causes of habitat declines and implement corrective initiatives for aquatic conservation and restoration, with 17 Fish Habitat Partnership currently working on the ground in aquatic conservation.

Since its launch six years ago, the Action Plan has received wide public support. To date nearly 1,700 partners have pledged their support including a range of organizations and individuals interested in the health of the nation’s fisheries such as fishing clubs, international conservation organizations, federal agencies, angling industries and academia.

These ten habitat conservation efforts highlighted in 2011 are a small sample of the many habitat conservation projects implemented under the Action Plan. The 2011, as well as past 10 “Waters to Watch” lists can be viewed at www.fishabitat.org along with complete information on the scope of the Action Plan.

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