Update from the Headwaters of the Blackfoot River Watershed Project

Written by: Matt Woodard, Headwaters Blackfoot River Project Manager

New Diamond Creek Diversion

The new headgate at Diamond Creek is more efficient and will keep sediment from entering the creek.

photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

[Editor's Note: In 2011, Orvis offered financial support for an important project, run by the Trout Unlimited Home Rivers Initiative, to help restore habitat in the mountains of Idaho. Here's a wrap-up of the work from project manager Matt Woodard.]

This recent project is geared toward restoring fish passage and eliminating entrainment (washing of sediment into the water) in the outgoing diversion ditches on both Diamond and Lanes Creeks, which come together to form the Blackfoot River.

This past field season we completely rebuilt both the Diamond and Lanes Creeks diversions using a system of instream rock weirs to elevate the water surface for irrigation purposes, while providing full fish passage. Additionally, we built new head gate control structures that provide more precise control over water that is diverted, combined with new fish screen structures that will keep the fish from entering the outgoing ditch and the creek.

Close up of Old Main Diversion Diamond Creek

The old main diversion on Diamond Creek offered nothing to keep trout from entering the diversion.

photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

The fish screens were built winter 2013 and will be available for installation during spring or summer 2013, when ground and weather conditions permit.

These two projects will open approximately 25 miles of new spawning and rearing habitat that was previously blocked by the old diversion barriers. This will make a significant difference in bolstering and recovering future Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations in the Blackfoot River and its headwaters.

Diamond Creek now where old diversion was taken out

Here’s the stretch where the old diversion was removed. Once the vegetation grows back,
this will offer great trout habitat.

photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

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