Idaho Town Bands Together To Help Steelhead Trout

Jul 16, 2013

Credit Matt Corsi / Idaho Fish and Game

Farmers, town leaders and biologists in Idaho are banding together to demolish a roughly 10-foot-high barrier and restore a creek to a more-natural state to give steelhead a better shot at producing the state's next generation of oceangoing rainbow trout.

To spawn in the west fork of Idaho's Little Bear Creek, federally protected wild steelhead trout must swim 500 miles from the Pacific Ocean. But once they arrive in Troy, the 93-year-old concrete dam blocks all but the strongest from reaching the stream's headwaters.

The Dutch Flat Dam was originally a city drinking water source and hasn't been used since 1926, when silt choked the creek.

It's the latest U.S. dam removal project undertaken to give fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act a fighting chance at recovery.