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Utah Fishery Devastated by Wildfire Being Restored

Popular North Creek fishery in Southern Utah being restored. Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Popular North Creek fishery in Southern Utah being restored. Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
August 3, 2015

BEAVER, Utah - An area in Southern Utah once known for trout fishing, then all but destroyed by wildfire, is being restored with hopes of recapturing some of that fishing glory.

Lynn Chamberlain, outreach manager for the southern region with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says crews are using heavy equipment to add large dead trees to the stream-bed of North Creek, near Beaver. He says the trees will help contain flood waters that come down from the mountains and were previously held back by the trees lost in the wildfire a few years ago.

"When you don't hold that back then those waters have the tendency to come down and scour out the stream and get rid of all of the potential areas for fish to live, really destructive on the habitat," says Chamberlain. "It takes away a lot of the vegetation that would normally be in the stream because the water is just running unchecked and so fast."

Chamberlain says ash from the wildfire was also flushed into the stream, causing a massive fish kill last summer.

He says the restoration efforts should lead to anglers pursuing cutthroat and rainbow trout, sooner rather than later.

"There's no reason to think that within a couple of years we shouldn't be, as far as the fish are concerned, right back to where we were before the fire," he says.

Chamberlain says the same wildfire caused even more devastation to the fishery at Fish Creek where restoration efforts are also underway.

Deborah Courson Smith/Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT