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Popo Agie Stream Restoration

Looking upstream at the site of the Popo Agie Stream Restoration project

The Wind River Alliance has been awarded a 2004 Five Star Restoration Grant for a stream restoration and community education project on the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River.

The project involves the restoration of a 1,000 foot reach of the Popo Agie River downstream from Lander, including the removal of over 30 car bodies embedded in the stream bank, reshaping of the stream channel, and installation of rock and log structures. The project will improve fish and wildlife habitat while still providing a stable stream channel.

Wind River Alliance recognizes the need to build diverse coalitions to protect and restore our watershed, and this project is an excellent example of that sort of cooperation. Partners in the Popo Agie project include: Fremont County Schools, the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Popo Agie Anglers, CamWest, and the Popo Agie Conservation District. Wind River Alliance was awarded a $10,000 grant for the project, which will be supplemented by an additional $24,000 in contributions from project partners.

Other elements of the project include replanting of native vegetation in disturbed areas, long-term monitoring of the site by local high school students, and the installation of a short streamside trail with educational signs. As Wind River Alliance board member and local educator Cheryl Williams explains: “It is the educational component of this project that makes it especially valuable. The site is highly visible and easily accessible, and we plan to involve area students in every stage of the project.”

The Popo Agie River Restoration project meshes nicely with other stream restoration work being done on the Popo Agie River says US Fish and Wildlife Service Private Lands Coordinator Mark Hogan. “The Five Star project will complement our ongoing work in the area to replace an irrigation diversion structure to enhance fish passage. When all these projects are completed, you will be able to visit the site and see many of the techniques used in modern stream restoration.”

Of the 50 projects funded this year by the Five Star Program (totaling over $550,000), the Popo Agie River Restoration project is the only project located in Wyoming.

The Five-Star Restoration Program provides financial assistance on a competitive basis to support community-based wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration projects that build diverse partnerships and foster local natural resource stewardship through education, outreach and training activities. The Five-Star program is a joint effort of National Association of Counties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Wildlife Habitat Council, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Community-Based Restoration Program within NOAA Fisheries, and other sponsors (see this website for more information about the Five-Star Restoration Matching Grants Program).