Due to anthropogenic activities and large stochastic events within the drainage, Gooseberry Creek no longer has a population of CRC above a man made Gabion structure. Gooseberry Creek is a small tributary and cannot support a large population of CRC to persist without connectivity to Trout Creek and Sage Creek. When passage is provided through the structures, approximately 1.5 miles of Gooseberry Creek will be available for CRC and other native fish for spawning, rearing and other life history needs. This project is part of an ongoing effort to improve aquatic and riparian habitat within the Greater Little Mountain area to increase the range of the native Colorado River cutthroat (CRC) trout.
The Gooseberry Fish Passage Project will construct two fish ladders on Gooseberry Creek to create fish passage. The first site is a deteriorating manmade gabion structure that creates a 6.6 foot drop. This structure is an immediate threat to the county road if the structure fails and the head-cut is mobilized. This structure is 1/4 mile downstream of the county road 34 crossing. Reconstruction of this structure will stabilize the head-cut and provide upstream fish passage. The second project site is a rock out-cropping 1/4 mile upstream of the county road 34 crossing. This rock out-cropping has stopped multiple head-cuts that have moved through the system and is a 6 foot drop. A structure similar to the one designed for the gabion structure will be used at this site. Both projects will be within an exclosure.
Within the Sage Creek watershed there are many projects on the table to improve this area on a drainage wide scale. TU is currently partnering with NRCS, WGFD, BLM, and a private land owner on Trout Creek to improve irrigation efficiency, decrease sedimentation and ensure fish passage. This project is set to break ground in the summer of 2012. The project includes a fish friendly diversion structure with fish screens. Each ditch will be piped to decrease water delivery loss. The irrigation system will be upgraded to a sprinkler system to increase efficiency and decrease sedimentation in Trout Creek.
TU partnered with the BLM in 2010 to assess all stream crossings and instream structures in the High Desert Field office area for fish passage. The assessment identified two culverts within the Upper Sage Creek Drainage that pose fish passage issues. The first, a culvert on Gooseberry Creek, is an issue for fish passage and poses a threat to the county road. TU and project partners, including the BLM and Sweetwater County, will replace the crossing with a bottomless culvert in the fall of 2011. The second, a culvert on Sage Creek is perched and impassable by most trout. This project will be addressed in 2012.
Other potential projects with in the Sage Creek drainage include: A hatching box at the head waters of Gooseberry Creek to be used as an educational tool and hands on learning experience for local school kids, the planting of woody plants on Gooseberry Creek, beaver re-introduction to Gooseberry Creek, Camp Creek irrigation improvements and Sage Creek water quality improvement.
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