Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wyoming
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wyoming Project

Evaluating the role of spring-fed streams to Yellowstone and Snake River cutthroat trout

July 2021 - June 2024


Participating Agencies

  • Grand Teton Association
  • Jackson Hole One Fly
  • University of Wyoming - Biodiversity Instit
  • National Park Service - UW
  • Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust

Streams and rivers of the Rocky Mountain region are characterized by conditions that limit the growth and production of fishes such as cutthroat trout (e.g., flooding, drought, and ice formation). However, groundwater input buffers spring-fed streams against seasonal variability in water temperature and discharge such that suitable habitat may persist year-round. We aim to evaluate the role of spring-fed streams to Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the upper Snake River watershed of northwest Wyoming. Specific objects are as follows: 1. Quantify how groundwater input determines the capacity of d to support juvenile cutthroat trout growth and production. 2. Determine how groundwater input to tributaries regulates the demography of the mainstem Snake River metapopulation. This research will highlight how habitat and population diversity act to sustain Yellowstone cutthroat trout, an ecologically and economically valuable species. This research has direct implications for prioritizing costly habitat management strategies as it will highlight streams where habitat work will have the most impact.