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Over 1200 Fish Rescued from Irrigation Ditches on Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge


GREEN RIVER - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff and volunteers from the Seedskadee, Upper Bear River, and Popo Agie Chapters of Trout Unlimited, numerous volunteers, and personnel from Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge combined efforts to complete a fish rescue operation on Saturday, Oct. 26.

“More than 40 adults and youth were present to help conduct electroshocking and fish capture operations, as ditches used to irrigate wetlands on Seedskadee are drawn down for the winter,” said Green River Fisheries Biologist Anna Senecal. “After the fish were captured, they were taken by buckets to an aerated tank and then placed back in to the Green River where they will have a better chance of surviving the winter. More than 1,200 trout were returned to the main stem of the river during salvage efforts.”

“While the Green River boasts a phenomenal trophy trout fishery, maintained by natural brown trout reproduction and the annual stocking of 70,000 rainbow and cutthroat trout, the river fishery is limited by the amount of available habitat for juvenile fish,” Senecal said. “Typically, smaller fish would seek safety from predation and competition in side channels or other lateral habitat. However, due to regulated flow releases from Fontenelle Dam, much of the side channel habitat on the Green River below Fontenelle has been lost.”

Senecal said fish seeking these types of habitats can easily become entrained in artificial ditch networks that dead-end in wetlands, where they are susceptible to predation and winterkill. To remedy this, Game and Fish is both working to increase available side channel habitat and partnering with Seedskadee Refuge and Trout Unlimited to install self-cleaning fish screens at ditch intake structures. In addition to directly benefiting from salvaging and transporting entrained fish, the collected information (fish numbers, sizes, species, and location) will be used to justify and prioritize future fish screening projects.”

Seedskadee Refuge manager Tom Koerner expressed his thanks to all of the participants for giving of their time and energy for this worthwhile project.

“The refuge and the sportsmen and women who fish in the Green River will benefit from this project,” Koerner said. “With our small staff, lack of electroshocking equipment, and expertise to conduct this operation, we would not have been able to complete this without help. This is a true partnership with many coming together for a common goal, to improve the fisheries on the Green River. It was great to see so many people come together to help a resource that many value.”

(Contact: Lucy Diggins (307) 875-3223)



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