Boots on the Ground and in the Water

Screen_Shot_2019-09-26_at_3.03.30_PM.jpgUtah BHA recently participated in a beaver dam analog habitat (BDAs) project for coldwater trout fisheries in a tributary of the Weber river today called Chalk Creek. This collaborative conservation effort was spearheaded by Trout Unlimited, Gillmor Livestock Company, Utah Division of Wildlife, and Wild Utah Project. With numerous local volunteers including many from the local Utah Backcountry Hunters & Anglers chapter, we were able to improve water quality and riparian habitat for trout and other wildlife. 

BDAs mimic natural beaver dams and help to filter out sediment and erosion from streamflows, thus eventually building up the water channels and restoring habitat along the banks.  The deeper, slower flowing waters also provide deeper pockets for trout to inhabit during the hot summer months when cold water stream temperatures are most critical for trout survival.  Volunteers built 18 BDA by hand over the course of two weekends, using all natural materials to establish these incrementally in the stream. Volunteers use rocks and mud to tamp down the vegetation woven in the structures. 

Collaboration among private and public partnerships is CRUCIAL to land stewardship, wildlife habitat, and rural livelihoods! In the wise Screen_Shot_2019-09-26_at_3.03.42_PM.jpgwords of agrarian scholar Wendell Berry, “you cannot save the land without the people or the people without the land.” I’m proud to be a Board Member of Utah Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and to dedicate my time to projects that make a real difference on the landscape!

Interested in volunteering with Utah BHA? Email us at utah@backcountryhunters.org

About Melissa Early

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