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Obscure commission produces big results protecting Utah fish, wildlife
Conservation » Federal commission helps protect fish and wildlife from the impacts of major water projects in Utah.

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"They have acquired access on the main stem of the Duchesne River above Hanna, Currant Creek and put a whole lot of money into studies on Strawberry Reservoir. Enough can’t be said about that project. And the Provo River was good for fish and wildlife, not just fishermen. It’s good for the birds, bees and frogs. The state is fortunate to have that funding available not just for fish but for all wildlife."

Styler said that when whirling disease hit Utah’s state fish hatcheries, major renovations were required.

At a glance

What is the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission?

The Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission is an executive branch agency of the federal government with five commissioners appointed by the president. It is responsible for designing, funding and implementing projects to offset the impacts to fish, wildlife and related recreation resources caused by the Central Utah Project and other federal reclamation projects in Utah.

Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission Project List

Great Salt Lake

Bureau of Land Management Salt Wells wetland restoration

Division of Wildlife Resources Locomotive Springs and Timpie Springs wetland restoration

Bear River Refuge wetland development

The Nature Conservancy Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve land acquisition

Utah State University Botanical Center wetland restoration and education

DWR Farmington Bay land acquisition

National Audubon Society South Shore Ecological Reserve land acquisition

Utah Wetlands Interpretive Network education planning

Box Elder County Great Salt Lake wetlands conservation planning

Davis County Great Salt Lake wetlands conservation planning

Salt Lake County Great Salt Lake wetlands conservation planning

Tooele County Great Salt Lake wetlands conservation planning

Jordan River

West Jordan wetland acquisition and restoration

South Jordan wetland acquisition and Willow Creek restoration

Draper wetland acquisition and restoration

Development of Jordan River Natural Areas Conservation Plan

Albion Basin wetland acquisition

Utah Lake/Lower Provo River

Utah Lake fish management plan

Utah Lake Wetland Preserve land acquisition in Goshen Bay and Benjamin Slough

Mona Springs wetland acquisition

Provo River in-stream and high-flow studies

Lower Provo River water rights acquisition for stream-flow restoration

Fort Field diversion dam modification for improved fish passageways

Hobble Creek restoration in Provo Bay

Provo River Delta restoration planning

June sucker recovery implementation program participation

June sucker conservation in Red Butte Reservoir

June sucker selenium uptake studies at Goshen Warm Springs

June sucker thermal criteria and diet studies

Southern leatherside chub conservation

Middle Provo River (Jordanelle Dam to Deer Creek Reservoir)

Wasatch County Water Efficiency Project — Daniels Replacement Pipeline

Provo River restoration project land acquisition and ecosystem restoration

Heber City to Midway Trail easement contribution

Upper Provo River

Upper Provo River Reservoir stabilization of 12 lakes

Washington Lake Campground construction

Diamond Fork (Spanish Fork Drainage)

Forest Service area assessment

Construction of two campgrounds

Mitigation land acquisition

Stream and wetland restoration

Water quality monitoring in Diamond Fork and Sixth Water Creek

Installation of stream gages

Biological and monitoring surveys of plants and aquatic organisms

Strawberry-Duchesne River Basins

Completion of reclamation angler access along the Strawberry and Duchesne rivers

Wildlife habitat land acquisition for the CUP Bonneville Unit

Small dam removal assistance

Strawberry Valley area assessment

Currant Creek canal erosion mitigation

Strawberry Valley fisheries post-treatment studies

Upper Strawberry River restoration studies

Sage grouse conservation and recovery in Strawberry Valley

Strawberry and Duchesne River reduced flow studies

Stream gaging on streams impacted by the Strawberry Aqueduct and Collection System

Lower Duchesne River Wetland Mitigation Project with the Ute Tribe

Stabilization of 13 high mountain lakes in the High Uintas Wilderness Area

Modification of Moon Lake Dam outlet works to provide year-round minimum flows

Big Sand Wash Reservoir enlargement wetland mitigation at DWR Montes Creek WMA

Rehabilitation and replacement of irrigation diversion structures

Fish Hatchery Projects

Development of fish hatchery production plan with DWR and U.S. Forest Service

Kamas state fish hatchery construction

Fountain Green state fish hatchery construction

Whiterocks state fish hatchery construction

Big Springs tribal fish hatchery construction

Least and leatherside chub culture research

Springville state fish hatchery warm water fish culture planning

DWR Fisheries Experiment Station Logan improvements

Statewide Projects

DWR sensitive species inventory and database of wildlife and plants

Native cutthroat trout restoration and conservation

Native cutthroat trout habitat improvement in Deep Creek drainage

Beaver Dam and Fish Creek lake reconstruction

USFWS Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act compliance

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"We didn’t have the money," said the DNR director. "Their assistance helped us to get that done. They have been quiet, steady partners with a nice source of funding that the state didn’t have."

Indeed, the commission is quiet and, in most cases, not controversial. But since its inception, the projects it has funded have proved important to wildlife and popular with humans.

wharton@sltrib.comTwitter @tribtomwharton

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