Regional Offices > Cody Region > Cody Region News > Evaluating the effectiveness of fish passage structures in Timber Creek

Evaluating the effectiveness of fish passage structures in Timber Creek

June 29, 2018
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Cody -  As part of a three year project to evaluate how well newly installed fish passage structures allow upstream movement of sensitive species of fish, biologists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently electrofished Timber Creek, a tributary of the Greybull River west of Meeteetse, to capture and tag fish.  
 
Fish Passage Biologist Erin Leonetti said passive integrated transponder tags or PIT tags are tiny devices inserted into the abdomen or near the dorsal fin of the fish that allow biologists to track movements of fish past specific locations in streams. “For this project, Yellowstone cutthroat trout and mountain sucker in Timber Creek are captured and PIT tagged to help us determine the effectiveness of a 2014 initiative.  This initiative consolidated four irrigation headgates on Timber Creek into one headgate with a fish screen and constructed fish-friendly structures downstream of the old abandoned concrete diversions.  The 2014 initiative was spearheaded by Trout Unlimited to improve connectivity of fish habitat, allow for upstream movement of fish and prevent fish loss down irrigation canals; Game and Fish is assisting by conducting post-monitoring work,” Leonetti said. 
 
Since post-monitoring work began in 2017, 569 fish have been captured, tagged and released.  When a tagged fish swims through a looped antenna anchored in the water, the unique identifying number from the tag is digitally recorded to a reader, which can be downloaded at a later date.  Biologists will then use this information to assess upstream and downstream movement of fish in Timber Creek.

“Post-monitoring projects like this are important,” Leonetti said.  “They provide necessary information on the effectiveness of these structures which in turn allows Game and Fish and other conservation organizations to better plan for future fish passage and irrigation projects like screening irrigation ditches and constructing fish-friendly diversions.”


A Yellowstone cutthroat trout captured in Timber Creek. 


Game and Fish crews electrofish Timber Creek.


Fisheries Technician Mark Komoroski inserts a PIT tag into the abdomen of a fish.
 

- WGFD -



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