Sheep Creek Fence and Stream Protection

UBC is funding the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to construct a fence along a 0.8 mile reach of Sheep Creek, a key spawning stream in the headwaters of the Blackfoot River. The project is part of a long-term partnership with the Bear Lake Grazing Association.


The wildlife-friendly post-and-rail fence along Sheep Creek will protect existing habitat and to provide a buffer for passive and active habitat recovery. Some portions of the project area currently provide fair instream and riparian habitat; however, most of the project area can greatly benefit from passive recovery treatments.

 

A similar restoration effort implemented a few years ago upstream of the Lanes Creek Road contributed to a significant increase in trout spawning.

 

Expected benefits

  • Immediate protections to quality habitat existing in channel and riparian areas.

  • Allowance of passive recover in impaired reaches with project area.

    • Increased ability for lateral channel migration and off-channel microhabitat formation​

    • Enhancement of riparian vegetation community biomass and diversity.

  • Creation of riparian buffer will trap excess fine sediment and nutrient load budgets.

    • Reduced sedimentation of areas with suitable spawning and incubation gravels.​

    • Reduced sedimentation of areas containing substrates providing cover and forage for young-of-year Yellowstone cutthroat trout (YCT).

  • Passive recovery of Sheep Creek will promote more natural stream behavior, this producing improved spawning and early rearing conditions for YCT.

  • Fence exclosure creates opportunity to implement (with protections) active stream habitat treatments in project area.

  • Project is designed to promote traditional land use practices in adjacent uplands with meaningful benefits to YCT.

  • Builds on the existing good working relationship with livestock producers in the basin.

Photo credit: Idaho Fish and Game

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