Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Update: Nash and Mill Creek Revival

Written by: Jon Bash

Releasing Native Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in Mill Creek, Utah.
Photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

Spring and early summer rains have given new life to dry banks across the country. Nash creek (NH) and Mill Creek (UT) are experiencing their first spring with more free flowing water and fish, thanks to support from Trout Unlimited and Orvis via the 1,000 Miles Campaign. The Nash Stream and Mill Creek projects were completed late in the Fall of 2014 and reconnected near 20 miles of river between them. Each site saw the removal of culverts that prevented fish migration to prime habitat and spawning areas.

Before (left) and after shots of Nash stream show improved flow under the road.
Photos by Jim MacCartney/TU and John Magee/NHFGD

“The new Nash Stream-Columbia Road Bridge is more than 2.8 times bankfull width. The reconstructed channel matches the width, depth, slope, and substrate of undisturbed reaches located up- and downstream. Replacement of the culvert opened 2.6 miles of upstream habitat and reconnected for brook trout and other aquatic organisms 11.25 miles of downstream habitat to the confluence with the Upper Ammonoosuc River.” –Trout Unlimited

The culvert replacement on Utah’s Mill Creek.
Photo courtesy Trout Unlimited

Across the country from the Nash Stream project, the TU Utah state council—in association with the Stonefly Society, and with Orvis support—removed three culvert barriers in the Mill Creek headwaters. The removal of these barriers was part of a cohesive effort to support the revival of the native Bonneville cuttthroat trout.

“In October 2014, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) released 3,000, 2-to-3-inch native cutthroat trout in the upper third of Mill Creek, and for the first time in almost 100 years, indigenous Bonneville cutthroat trout once again swim in Mill Creek. A local TV crew asked a TU volunteer why the Bonneville cutthroat trout was more valuable in this particular creek than other trout. The answer; ‘Because there is something aesthetic and even moral about catching a trout that evolved in and rightfully belongs in this creek.’” –Trout Unlimited

Click here to learn more about the TU/Orvis 1,000 Miles Campaign.

Jon Bash is the new Orvis Conservation intern.

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