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Diamond Creek & Lanes Creek Diversions Project

Using new diversion structures and fish screens that facilitate upstream fish passage and prevent mortality, UBC, the Bear Lake Grazing Company, and other project partners have successfully opened up 25 miles of spawning habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

The Upper Blackfoot River is formed by the confluence of Diamond Creek and Lanes Creek. Irrigation diversions on each of these tributaries had cut off 25 miles of spawning habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. These diversions impacted both adult Yellowstone cutthroat trout spawning migrations and juvenile out-migrations. During low water years, adults could not get past the instream diversion dams. Both adults and juveniles were trapped and killed in the irrigation canal as they attempted to swim downstream to main stem habitats during the irrigation season. This project successfully recreated access to 25 miles of spawning habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Objectives

  1. Facilitate upstream fish passage for Yellowstone cutthroat trout and other native fish species at the Diamond Creek and Lanes Creek Irrigation Diversion structures.

  2. Install fish screens to prevent entrainment and mortality of native fish in the Diamond Creek irrigation ditch.

  3. Install sealing headgates and flow measurement devices to improve water use efficiency and satisfy Idaho Department of Water Resources requirements.

Project Partners

To complete the Diamond Creek diversion project, UBC partnered with the Bear Lake Grazing Company, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Partners Program, Fish Passage), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (EQUIP Program), and Trout Unlimited. The Bear Lake Grazing Company provided in-kind contributions in the form of construction equipment and materials. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided funding to match the contributions from the mining companies. Trout Unlimited provided funding and in-kind contributions in the form of project development, management, and administration. The Diamond Creek diversion project was a critical first step in the developing working relationship between UBC and the Bear Lake Grazing Company, providing a foundation of mutual trust for tackling other high-priority restoration projects together in the future.

Planning

 

Trout Unlimited met with representatives from the Bear Lake Grazing Company to tour the project site, identify irrigation needs, and outline specific project objectives. A Natural Resources Conservation Service engineer drafted a conceptual design for the project. This included installation of fish screens, construction of instream rock cross vane structures to facilitate upstream fish passage at the diversion, and installation of sealing headgates and flow measurement devices to improve water use efficiencies. We also conducted a thorough topographic survey of the project site to complete detailed final designs.

Old In-Stream Diversion

During low water years, adult Yellowstone cutthroat trout couldn't get past old in-stream diversion dams. These diversions limited access to 25 miles of spawning habitat.

Fish Screen

Fish screens allow water to pass into the irrigation channel while keeping Yellowstone cutthroat trout and other fish out. The water wheel rotates the fish screen to keep it clear of weeds and debris.

New In-Stream Diversion

New diversions have increased access to 25 miles of spawning habitat.

Water Weirs

A completed series of water weirs stair-steps to the new diversion structures in a way that facilitates both water diversion and fish passage during low water.