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Restoring Life History Diversity to Bonneville Cutthroat Trout and Bluehead Sucker in the Weber River Paul Burnett – Trout Unlimited Ben Nadolski – Utah.

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Presentation on theme: "Restoring Life History Diversity to Bonneville Cutthroat Trout and Bluehead Sucker in the Weber River Paul Burnett – Trout Unlimited Ben Nadolski – Utah."— Presentation transcript:

1 Restoring Life History Diversity to Bonneville Cutthroat Trout and Bluehead Sucker in the Weber River Paul Burnett – Trout Unlimited Ben Nadolski – Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Paul Thompson – Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Sam McKay – Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

2 2 Introduction Background on the Weber River and its native fish Cooperative research between the USU Fish Ecology Lab and the UDWR Conservation Actions Strategies for the Future?

3 3 Weber River Watershed

4 4 Weber River

5 5 High Productivity

6 6 Past Habitat Impacts Over 2 Miles of habitat lost from Henefer Valley in the 1960’s

7 7 Water Management and Fragmentation

8 8 Imperiled Native Fish in the Weber River Bluehead Sucker Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Focus: Middle Weber River In Morgan Valley

9 9 Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in the Weber River Great Salt Lake

10 10 Bluehead Sucker Distribution in the Weber River Major sampling efforts from inventories We know: Occur mainly in mainstem Long lived We don’t know: Habitat and movement requirements Importance of tributary habitats Strongest remaining population

11 11 Population estimate obtained in 2012 was half of 2009 estimate Weber River Section 02 Bluehead Sucker Monitoring

12 12 Weber River Home Rivers Initiative Collaborative multi-year effort Applied research On-the-ground restoration Community outreach/Grassroots Engagement Long-term conservation and management strategies and tools

13 13 Research Objectives 1.Characterize the contemporary lower Weber River BCT metapopulation 2.Determine if fluvial life-history expression is still present 3.Investigate potential limitations to movement and migration BCT Research on Weber River

14 14 Focus on comparing population size, structure, and movement between mainstem and tributary habitats Methods – Electrofishing – Mark-Recapture (PIT-tags) – Passive In-stream Antenna network – Otolith microchemistry

15 15 Summary: Understanding the Metapopulation = Tributary Barrier = Mainstem Barrier = 2011 Fluvial Individual = BCT AbundanceFlow Important Populations and Barriers Cottonwood Creek Gordon Creek Jacobs Creek Peterson Creek Strawberry Creek

16 Passive Instream Antenna Network

17 PIA Monitoring Origin Antenna Location Cottonwood Creek Gordon Creek Jacobs Creek Peterson Creek Strawberry Creek Weber 03 Weber 04??? Grand Total Lower Cottonwood2158 Upper Cottonwood3148 Lower Gordon325 Upper Gordon358 Lower Jacobs Upper Jacobs Lower Peterson Upper Peterson Strawberry Grand Total

18 18 Now what? We know fish are moving between habitats Some habitats are threatened Many habitats are fragmented

19 19 Moving the Conservation Needle Protect habitats in strongholds Reconnect habitats to increase population resiliency Restore populations and habitat Sustain projects and programs

20 20 Prioritize Actions in Strongholds = Tributary Barrier = Mainstem Barrier = 2011 Fluvial Individual = BCT AbundanceFlow Important Population and Barriers

21 21 Gordon Creek = Tributary Barrier = Mainstem Barrier = Fluvial Individual = BCT AbundanceFlow Bridge constructed in 1970’s Concrete poured in 1980’s 4 ½ ft vertical drop Large fluvial BCT disappeared Strong local support for reconnection

22 22 Preliminary Design for Gordon Creek

23 23 Strawberry Creek = Tributary Barrier = Mainstem Barrier = Fluvial Individual = BCT AbundanceFlow 370 ft Box Culvert under I % Slope Blocks access to entire watershed UDOT has provided assistance with design.

24 24 Strawberry Creek Concept

25 25 “Lower Weber Diversion” = Tributary Barrier = Mainstem Barrier = Fluvial Individual = BCT AbundanceFlow

26 Fisheries crew checking the fish trap in the passage channel Fish screens in north side irrigation diversion Fish screens in the south side irrigation diversion

27 27 Lower Weber Diversion Still need high flow upstream passage – Dependent on Funds – General Design Criteria Screen Cleaning Mechanism

28 Peterson Creek Upper Gordon CreekMainstem Weber River Jacobs Creek

29 29 Continued Threats = Tributary Barrier = Mainstem Barrier = Fluvial Individual = BCT AbundanceFlow

30 30 Moving Forward Strategically Collaborative effort for develop a strategic action plan Improved knowledge allows us to continue refining our conservation strategies in the watershed. Limited resources continue to exist. We need to use those resources the most effectively. We will need to rely upon the plan and revise it to continue moving the conservation needle.

31 31 Thank You South Weber Irrigation Company Uintah Central Irrigation Company


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