The Duchesne River is a major tributary to the Green River in northeastern Utah with a history of significant water diversions. Major infrastructure was built in this drainage to transfer water from the stream to fields and stock tanks. These physical structures (i.e., dams and diversions) inhibit movement of migratory species by blocking access to habitats and also decreasing instream flows. A project was recently completed to rehabilitate the Myton Townsite Diversion Dam to allow for bypass of flows and provide gauging and automation for the diversion canal. Increased instream flows downstream of the Myton Diversion will improve usage of the lower river by all fishes native to this system. However, species’ upstream migration is currently limited by the Myton Diversion, located approximately 43 river miles upstream from the Green River. Members of the Lower Duchesne Workgroup have initiated a project, funded with a grant from Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, Fish Passage funds, and Ute Tribe funds to provide fish passage around the diversion structure to restore access to additional habitats above the Myton Diversion.
Members of the project group, which consists of representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the Ute Tribe, have identified the best fish passage design for the system. We have chosen a fishway on river right to take advantage of higher flows on that side of the stream. We have also identified the need for selective passage to allow for removal of invasive white sucker. Total cost of the fish passage modification is $320,000.
Fish information below the Myton Diversion is quite complete as the area has been sampled most years over the last decade (through the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program). Surveys above the Myton Diversion were completed in 2010. We are also currently compiling historical fish information from the area.
We have completed the Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) for Colorado pikeminnow and a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for state sensitive species. Water users have signed the agreements, which took over two years of negotiations. We have also completed and entered into an MOU with the Ute Tribe to allow access to the Myton Diversion, that occurs on tribal property. The final hurdle, that has been very difficult to complete, is the approval from Bureau of Indian Affairs, to allow access to the property to construct the diversion. Finally, all the needed agreements have been approved, signed, thus we are ready to construct. It has been a long grueling process. We plan construction during 2014 with completion by December 2014.
The Myton Diversion Fish Passage project is expected to restore connectivity to populations of flannelmouth sucker, Catostomus latipinnis, bluehead sucker,Catostomus discobolus, and roundtail chub, Gila robusta, existing above and below the diversion and to allow movement upstream of Colorado pikeminnow,Ptychocheilus lucius. The Myton Diversion Fish Passage project was completed in 2015.
Desert Fish Habitat Partnership
Ute Indian Tribe
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
To read more about the Myton Diversion click here to be taken to the Myton Diversion News Section
If you would like to read the Final Report that can be found here