The following is a news release from the Upper Blackfoot Confluence. The Idaho Conservation League is a member of this partnership.

(Soda Springs) The Upper Blackfoot Confluence (UBC) announced that it will fund four river restoration projects in the headwaters of the Blackfoot River, a historic stronghold for native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The high valleys of the upper Blackfoot River are prized by southeast Idahoans for quality fisheries and scenic beauty. The public announcement of $235,000 in grants for 2019 marks the eighth year in a row that UBC has supported cooperative efforts to improve trout habitat, streamside areas, and water quality.

UBC is a voluntary partnership between two conservation groups, the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) and Trout Unlimited, and three mining companies, J.R. Simplot Company, Bayer US, and Nutrien.  Since UBC’s formation in 2011, the mining companies have worked through the partnership to provide more than $1.7 million for habitat projects in the Upper Blackfoot River.

“Working together to restore cutthroat trout and their habitat in the Blackfoot River has been very rewarding,” said Justin Hayes, program manager and incoming executive director with ICL. “It is exciting to see the difference that we are making in the river and for the fish.”

The 2019 projects build on past successes and launch new efforts:

  • Initiating a major river restoration project at the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area in partnership with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game;
  • Creating a more natural stream channel for Diamond Creek in partnership with landowners;
  • Constructing streambank stabilization and structures that will enhance fish habitat on a 2-mile reach of the Blackfoot River in partnership with private landowners and the Natural Resources Conservation Service;
  • Replacing a bridge over Diamond Creek in partnership with Caribou County and the U.S. Forest Service.

UBC will also continue grants to the Highlands Cooperative Weed Management Area and to fund stream monitoring in the Upper Blackfoot.

Alan Prouty, who represents J.R. Simplot Company on the UBC, said: “Working together, we have taken action that will benefit the river, native trout, and the residents of southeast Idaho for generations to come. We appreciate the many landowners, agencies, and partners who have contributed to and carried out these positive projects.