Road Work Benefits Fish Habitat and Public Access


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AFTON/COKEVILLE – Hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts who recreate in the Coal Creek drainage between Afton and Cokeville will be pleased to know that habitat for one of Wyoming’s native cutthroat trout has been improved, as well as access to their public lands and the resources available there.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (Kemmerer Field Office) and other partners, completed a road improvement project this past fall that not only improves access to public land, but also benefits native Bonneville cutthroat trout. The project is located on the Igo Road (also known as the Coal Creek Road) some 26 miles north of Cokeville and 26 miles south of Afton.

A new bridge structure replaced two culverts across Coal Creek, approximately three miles east of Wyoming Highway 89. A similar bridge structure was also installed across Little Muddy Creek, approximately five miles east of Highway 89, where an old, dilapidated wooden bridge had been removed several years ago.

MG_CoalCr1 The old, elevated culverts that were replaced with a new bridge structure.

MG_CoalCr2 The new bridge structure allowing fish passage.

Installation of these new bridge structures was the first phase of a large scale project designed to improve access while reducing the amount of sediment into both Coal Creek and the Thomas Fork (Salt Creek). The reduction in sediment will benefit spawning fish, their insect food sources and overall stream function.

This work will also result in improved connectivity of aquatic habitats. Native Bonneville cutthroat trout, and other native aquatic species, will find it easier to move up and down the stream channel where elevated steel culvert bottoms have been replaced with a natural gravel stream bed. The entire project calls for similar sediment reduction efforts at nine additional sites along this road over the next several years.

For more information about the Coal Creek Sediment Reduction and Stabilization project, please contact Wyoming Game and Fish Pinedale Habitat Biologist Floyd Roadifer at 307-367-4353 or Bureau of Land Management Lands and Realty Specialist Kelly Lamborn at 307-828-4505.