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Upper Lanes Creek Project

Through the installation of livestock exclusion fencing, off-channel watering facilities, and extensive stream channel restoration, UBC, the Caribou Cattle Company, and other project partners are restoring and protecting nearly 10 miles of the furthest upstream reaches of Lanes Creek.

UBC’s most significant restoration work to date has occurred and is occurring on Upper Lanes Creek. As one of the two tributaries that form the Upper Blackfoot River, Lanes Creek is critical Yellowstone cutthroat trout habitat. At the upstream end of Lanes Creek, historic grazing and agricultural use has reduced riparian vegetation and altered the stream channel, creating excessive erosion and down-cutting of the stream bed. The resulting sediment inputs into the stream and increased width to depth ratio have impaired water quality (temperature, sediment, nutrients) and reduced aquatic habitat. Through this Upper Lanes Creek restoration project, UBC, the Caribou Cattle Company, and other project partners have and will continue to restore and protect nearly 10 miles of the furthest upstream reaches of Lanes Creek on privately owned land.

Objectives

  1. Restore and protect riparian habitat along 10 miles of Upper Lanes Creek that abuts the Caribou Targhee National Forest

    1. Construction of 25,000 ft of livestock exclusion fence to protect 62 acres of riparian habitat.

    2. Development of 6 off-channel watering facilities to better dispute livestock across the landscape.

  2. Improve water quality in Upper Lanes Creek by reducing erosion and associated sediment and nutrient inputs into the stream.

    1. Stream habitat improvement along more than 2 miles of stream channel.

    2. Restoration of native woody vegetation along 12,800 ft of channel.

    3. Stream bank bio-engineering stabilization on 6,750 ft of channel.

    4. Noxious weed control on 200 acres.

  3. Improve instream habitat by installing grade control and habitat structures to restore hydrologic function.

  4. Facilitate fish passage, restore stream function, and reduce erosion at two road-stream crossings (culverts) on Upper Lanes Creek.

Project Partners

UBC and the Caribou Cattle Company are working with multiple partners on the Upper Lanes Creek restoration project. Prior to UBC involvement, the Caribou Cattle Company paid a private contractor to design the restoration project. Ranked as the top priority for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) three years ago, the project remains a priority and the local NRCS District Conservationist has applied for Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program funding. The Caribou Cattle Company is contributing in-kind assistance for construction including personnel, equipment, materials, and supplies. In addition to this in-kind contribution, the Caribou Cattle Company is willing to reduce the number of livestock on the land. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is also contributing funds and Trout Unlimited is contributing in-kind assistance with project management, administration, and monitoring. With the Upper Lanes Creek restoration project proceeding successfully, agency and landowner partners are impressed with our progress and supportive of our efforts.

Off Channel Watering Facility

Off channel watering facilities protect the stream and better distribute livestock across the landscape. Fall 2013 field trip participants check out one of the installed facilities.

Remeandering Work

Remeandering work restores stream quality by reversing the effects of erosion and the down-cutting of the stream bed. Fall 2013 field trip participants inspect ongoing remeandering work.