July 2015 News from the Western Native Trout Initiative, a project of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the National Fish Habitat Partnership.  
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WNTI Announces Successful 2015 Grant Applicants 

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) would like to thank all applicants who applied for 2015 funding in another very competitive funding cycle.  We appreciate your efforts to conserve western native trout!  WNTI also thanks our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regions 1 and 6 who provided additional funding to support these projects.  Congratulations to the following successful projects:


French Creek Fish Barrier (MT)

The overarching goal of this project is to restore the native fish assemblage and habitat in French Creek, a tributary to Deep Creek and the Big Hole River. Once restored, the French Creek population would represent one of the largest interconnected populations of westslope cutthroat trout in the upper Missouri River drainage and the only population of fluvial Arctic grayling that would exist in the absence of non-native species. The French Creek drainage lies on lands owned and managed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area), U.S. Forest Service and BLM. The task that will be accomplished is the construction of a fish migration barrier near the mouth of the creek on Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area to prevent upstream fish passage. There are approximately 38 miles of habitat upstream of the proposed fish barrier site that are currently occupied by trout and two tributary streams with native populations of westslope cutthroat trout.  Once the fish barrier is in place, non-native brook trout and rainbow trout will be removed from the stream and native westslope cutthroat trout and Arctic grayling will be restored. Construction of a fish barrier is one of the tasks in the larger scale restoration of the watershed, which includes significant habitat restoration. Read more

Bear Creek Coastal Cutthroat Trout Habitat Connectivity and Enhancement (OR)
The objective of this project is to improve the viability of coastal cutthroat trout populations in the Coyote Creek watershed by increasing habitat complexity and enhancing habitat connectivity by removing passage barriers. The project will reconnect 5.5 miles of high-quality headwater spawning habitat and cold water refugia and enhance a one mile stretch of in-stream habitat for coastal cutthroat trout and western brook lamprey in western Oregon. As part of the project, four human-made fish passage barriers will be remedied on Bear Creek, an Oregon Coast Range tributary to Coyote Creek about nine miles southwest of Eugene that provides spawning habitat and cold  water refugia for coastal cutthroat trout.  Additional project objectives are to place 60 conifer logs in a 0.5 mile stretch of Bear Creek to increase pool depth and frequency and improve in-stream habitat complexity.  Effects of the project will be assessed on the physical habitat and fish community in Bear Creek by conducting pre- and post-project rapid bio-assessment snorkel surveys and large woody debris surveys. Finally, an educational tour for neighbors and the public will be organized about the status and habitat needs of coastal cutthroat trout and the impact of the project. Both coastal cutthroat trout and western brook lamprey are Oregon Conservation Strategy Species, coastal cutthroat trout are a USFWS species of concern, and brook lamprey are an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife species of concern.   Read more

Horse Heaven Creek Instream Restoration (OR) for redband trout
he Horse Heaven Creek In-stream Restoration project will implement fish passage and screening at two diversion sites on Horse Heaven Creek, opening up ~3.5 miles of fish habitat. This is the first step toward fish passage throughout the watershed, which includes approximately 25 miles of habitat for redband trout. In addition, the project will improve 3000 feet of in-stream and riparian habitat through full channel restoration, LWD structures, and riparian planting. The project will restore habitat previously degraded by unsustainable livestock grazing, channel straightening and armoring, and poorly managed, unscreened diversions. Project activities include in-stream channel restoration, fish passage and screening improvements, bank stabilization treatments, seeding and planting, weed control, and monitoring post-project responses. Finally,  project proponents will conduct a landowner tour after project completion to illustrate the success of fish screens, fish passage, and channel restoration. The project will also be incorporated into collaborative educational field visits from Crook County High School, involving students from their Natural Resources Management Program (Forestry Management, Wilderness Management, and Wildland Fire Management) in restoration projects.  Read more 

WNTI's Sun Creek Project Recognized as a 2015
"10 Waters to Watch" by the
National Fish Habitat Partnership 

WNTI, the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, and the Oregon Department of  Fish and Wildlife are excited to announce that Sun Creek  (OR) Historic Channel Reconnection to Improve Bull Trout and Redband Trout Habitat was named by the National Fish Habitat Partnership as a 2015 Water to Watch!  

The Waters to Watch program highlights planned projects that will improve habitat and connectivity for native fish and wildlife species. We're honored to have the Sun Creek project chosen and look forward to working with our partners to complete the project!

Project Fact Sheet

WNTI Hosting Symposium and Film Festival at the American Fisheries Society Annual Conference, August 2015

"What's New with Western Native Trout?"

WNTI is hosting a 1.5 day symposium featuring 31 speakers covering a range of western native trout species and research and management subjects at the 145th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Portland, Oregon, August 2015. Come join us!  
Wednesday, August 19, 2015: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Thursday, August 20  8:00 AM - 4:20 PM 
For a full list of speakers for this symposium, click here and here

America’s Fish and Fisheries – Shared through the Camera Lens – A 2015 AFS Film Festival 

WNTI, along with our partners at the Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership, Sitka Conservation Society, Southeast Sustainable Partnership, and The Salmon Project are hosting a film festival during the American Fisheries Society annual conference.  Over 60 short films will be featured during the first ever AFS Fish Film Festival.  America’s Fish and Fisheries – Shared through the Camera Lens – A 2015 AFS Film Festival showcases films that focus on the connections between people, fish and fisheries, the unique life cycles and habitat needs of different species, and how resource practitioners and ordinary people are helping conserve fish and their habitats across the nation. The films are from a variety of perspectives—including commercial and sport fishermen, subsistence users, researchers and managers, volunteers, landowners, and even fish themselves. Films will be grouped into themes covering general conservation topics, habitat protection and restoration, fisheries enhancement, sport fishing, fisheries management, and fisheries research and education. These film will prvoide a unique vantage point to view successes and challenges in fisheries conservation. These will also enhance awareness of our nation’s fisheries and the many ways in which we’re connected to fish and all the goods and services they provide.  
Tuesday, August 18, 2015: 8:00 AM-5:20 PM
Wednesday, August 19, 2015: 8:00 AM-4:00 PM
Thursday, August 20, 2015: 8:00 AM - 5:20 PM

For a list of films, click here, here, and here
For full conference information, click here.

Great Basin Redband Trout Genetic Assessment for Priority Setting


In 2012, WNTI contributed toward the funding of a six year study by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to assess the abundance and distribution of redband trout in the northern drainages of the Great Basin in Oregon. As part of that study, genetic samples were collected from 23 redband trout populations in order to gain a better understanding of the level of genetic variation within and among redband trout populations. In the recently released final report, analyses of genetic variation showed that Great Basin redband trout formed three distinct genetic groups and that despite historic and contemporary isolation among many populations, there has also been recent gene flow among some populations of redband trout. Redband trout in the northern Great Basin represent a unique genetic legacy and data presented in this study will be useful for helping to design conservation plans for redband trout in this unique environment.  You can read the final report at



Check out the Spring issue of the Coastal Fish Habitat Partnerships newsletter here.

The Kern River Valley Historical Society announced the publication of its most recent book, "The Golden Trout Wilderness: The Forty Year Struggle to Preserve the Ancient Territory of the California Golden Trout".  Click here for more information.

The National Fish Habitat Partnership is hosting a Symposium at the American Fisheries Society annual conference in August called: Implementation of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan: Progress in Protecting, Restoring and Enhancing Fish Habitats, Fish and Fisheries in the United States.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015: 1:20 PM-4:00 PM Click here for more information
Thursday, August 20, 2015: 8:00 AM-5:20 PM  Click here for more information

WNTI has a very active Facebook page.  If you are on Facebook, like us and enjoy all sorts of western native trout related news and photos!
 There is a new Coastal cutthroat trout page on the CalFish website.  Click here!


A special thank you to Orvis and Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers for continuing cash support!

Thank you to those individuals who supported WNTI by making donations, attending events or purchasing t-shirts and stickers!

Operating under the guidance of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Native Trout Initiative is governed by a Steering Committee that represents 12 western states, 5 federal resource management agencies, tribes, and nonprofit fisheries conservation organizations. 

Julie Meka-Carter, Chair, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Roger Wilson, Vice Chair, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Bruce McIntosh, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Roger Harding, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Lee Nelson, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Jon Sjoberg, Nevada Department of Wildlife
Jeff Dillon, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Craig Burley, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Melissa Dickard, Bureau of Land Management
Scott Spaulding, U.S. Forest Service
Robert Clarke, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Warren Colyer, Trout Unlimited
Mike Stone, Western Assoc. of Fish and Wildlife Agencies


Therese Thompson, Project Coordinator

Copyright © 2015 Western Native Trout Initiative. All rights reserved.

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