Trout Unlimited

By USFWS Mountain-Prairie [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paddling down the Green River, Trout Unlimited project manager Nick Walrath has a fish tale for almost every bend of the Green River below the Fontenelle Dam in southwest Wyoming.

“I drive my wife crazy because I’m like, remember that fish you caught by that big tree?” Walrath says, rowing past the spot where he once made a brown trout “rise” from a patch of grass.

As we crossed into Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, we spot two young bald eagles perched on the bank, looking past us to the yellow bluffs.

K Bacon

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order to begin the process of eliminating a 2015 Clean Water Act rule known as the Waters of the United States that gave extra protections to smaller streams and wetlands.

Representative Rosie Berger of Big Horn is sponsoring a bill that would allow water rights holders to temporarily change their use to benefit certain fisheries areas in the state.

Under current law, if a private citizen wants to restore in-stream-flow on his property, he must permanently donate his water rights to the state. Also, holders can lose their water rights if they don’t use them to their full extent. Berger’s bill would allow holders to retain water rights, even if they stop irrigating part-way through the summer… thus leaving more water for the fish.