On Friday, Aug. 2, the Upper Blackfoot Confluence (UBC) hosted a tour of habitat restoration projects in Idaho’s Blackfoot River, including one that markedly increased Yellowstone cutthroat trout numbers. 

ICL’s Executive Director Justin Hayes and Conservation Associate Josh Johnson – along with about 50 people, representing local nonprofits, mining companies, congressional offices, natural resource agencies, landowners, ranchers and county offices – visited five restoration sites, ranging from the headwaters of Lanes Creek to the Blackfoot River mainstem. 

During the tour, Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists said they detected a more than three-fold increase in Yellowstone cutthroat spawning in Sheep Creek following a restoration project.

The UBC is a voluntary partnership between ICL, Trout Unlimited and three mining companies – J.R. Simplot Company, Bayer U.S., and Nutrien. The UBC is dedicated to improving the streams and trout populations of Idaho’s Blackfoot River. The high valleys of the river are prized for quality fisheries and scenic beauty.

In 2019, the UBC announced $235,000 in grants to support cooperative efforts to improve trout habitat, streamside areas and water quality. Since 2011, UBC has invested $1.7 million in habitat restoration in one of Idaho’s premier waterways for Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

The Idaho Conservation League works to build bridges with local communities and businesses, other conservation groups and partners in state and federal agencies. We work with others through partnerships and by participating in several forest restoration collaboratives across Idaho.