This blog highlights conservation issues we feel are important to fly fishers and others who love outdoor sports, and we cover the latest and most pressing environmental issues affecting wildlife habitat and resource conservation. Orvis believes that, if we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources and environment, we must be willing to act to preserve them. Therefore, the company commits 5% of pre-tax profits to protecting nature.

Reconnecting Habitat on Wyoming’s Salt River

Salt River Diversion Dam

This diversion dam on Wyoming’s Salt River seems pretty low, but it was blocking
access to vital spawning habitat for some trout and other native fish.

photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

Across the West, many rivers and watersheds are fragmented by old diversion dams and other irrigation infrastructure. That’s a big problem for trout, which need access to the full range of river habitat in order to thrive. For Trout Unlimited, upgrading these obsolete or inefficient irrigation systems offers a tremendous opportunity to restore rivers. With the help of Orvis funding, TU recently completed an exciting “reconnection” project on the Salt River in west-central Wyoming that should boost both the fish habitat and the fishing.

The Salt River is home to native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, as well as wild rainbows and browns. But they faced a big obstacle: an aging, solitary diversion dam imposed a two-foot-high vertical barrier to fish movement. While adult fish could likely clear the hurdle most of the year, smaller trout and other native species weren’t able to move upstream.