The New Fork River is one of the most popular river fisheries in western Wyoming, emerging from the Wind River Mountains and flowing generally south for approximately 70 miles before reaching its confluence with the Green River. The river supports several sport fisheries and an increasing number of anglers. What’s more, moose, waterfowl, sage grouse, and other wildlife rely on the river’s floodplain corridor in what is an otherwise arid landscape.
Downstream of Pinedale, the river loses its pristine, intact corridor and transitions to shallow, over-widened channels with significantly reduced trout (typically brown and rainbow trout) populations. As a result, the upstream trout population faces heavy fishing pressure. Furthermore, this downstream section of the river lacks wood or rock cover, and the highly erosive stream banks contribute hundreds of tons of sediment to the river annually.
Habitat enhancements have been shown to improve stream function and provide both holding cover for adult fish and rearing habitats for juveniles. Work on the lower river will increase the river’s productivity and help disperse angling pressure. Enhancements to existing access points will also provide river users opportunities to use the river for a variety of activities including recreational floating, wildlife viewing, and waterfowl hunting.
The work will narrow and deepen cross-sections of the river channel, stabilize riverbanks, and revegetate riparian areas. Additionally, a vault toilet will be constructed at the New Fork Gas Wells parking area.
WYldife for Tomorrow is proud to donate $25,000 towards the $1,100,000 project budget. This project would not be possible without the partnerships of Trout Unlimited, USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife, BLM – Pinedale Field Office, private landowners, Sublette County Historical Society, Wyoming DEQ 319 Task Force, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, WGFD Trust Fund, Jonah Interagency Office, Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative, Central Utah Project Completion Act Office, and Wallop-Breaux Boating Access Funds.