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WGFD wildlife project funded by unique ecotourism program in Wyoming

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Riverton – The first grant from a new initiative created to support wildlife projects in the state was presented Nov. 17 during the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting. Taylor Phillips handed a check for $20,000 to Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) Chief of Fisheries Alan Osterland, Wyoming Water and Habitat Program Director for Trout Unlimited Cory Toye and Wyoming Game and Fish District Three Commissioner Ken Roberts. 

The money will be granted to Trout Unlimited to support a large-scale project to prevent future losses of native migratory cutthroat trout and other native fish by installing a fish screen on the Spread Creek irrigation system near Jackson. The work will also stabilize the diversion structure and river channel in the project area which had been damaged by flooding.

            “We are thrilled to present the first grant from Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow to this important fish passage project which will help native population of Snake River cutthroat trout,” said Taylor Phillips, founder of Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow, owner of Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures and a board member for The WYldlife Fund. “We are incredibly grateful for the businesses and individuals who have supported Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow in these early days of the program. We see great opportunity to further engage the billion-dollar tourism industry and, in turn, get more done for Wyoming’s wildlife.”

            Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow is an initiative underneath the umbrella of The WYldlife Fund, a partner nonprofit to the WGFD focused on directing money to advance wildlife projects across the state.

            “Bettering connectivity and quality aquatic habitat for Snake River cutthroat trout is important for Wyoming’s healthy native fish populations,” said WGFD Director Brian Nesvik. “In supporting businesses who are part of Wildlife Tourism Tomorrow, you are contributing to the conservation of wildlife and making a difference.”

            Trout Unlimited uses funds from many sources to complete projects. The $20,000 contribution raised by Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow helps make possible the current work on Phase Two of the Spread Creek Fish Passage Project. Partners on the project include Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, WGFD and Trout Unlimited. Altogether, there are more than 20 partners involved in the multi-year project.

            “We are honored that the Spread Creek Fish Passage Project will be the first project to be funded by Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow. Wildlife tourism and the fishing industry are vital components of the local tourism economy in the Jackson area, and while this project primarily benefits Snake River cutthroat trout and other native fish, healthy watersheds and riparian areas also benefit wildlife species,” said Leslie Steen, northwest Wyoming program manager for Trout Unlimited. “Many times, when I have gone out to visit the Spread Creek project site, I’ve seen wildlife tour trips in the area, and it is really neat to think that those same businesses are now giving back to native fish. We are grateful to all the businesses and individuals that generously made contributions to support this collaborative, multi-agency project and to Taylor Phillips and The WYldlife Fund for their leadership in this effort.”

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