WYOMING — During the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meeting, Taylor Phillips, founder of Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow presented a check for $20,000 to Alan Osterland, Chief of Fisheries for Wyoming Game and Fish, Cory Toye, the Wyoming Water and Habitat Program Director for Trout Unlimited, and Ken Roberts, Wyoming Game and Fish Commissioner District 3.
The money will be granted to Trout Unlimited to support phase two of the Spread Creek Fish Passage Project, a large-scale collaborative 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 Phillips. “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.”
Phillips is also the owner of Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures and a board member for the WYIdlife Fund.
Wildlife Tourism For Tomorrow is an initiative underneath the umbrella of The WYldlife Fund, a partner nonprofit to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department 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 Wyoming Game and Fish Department 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.”
“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.
Partners on the project include Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Trout Unlimited. Altogether, there are more than 20 partners involved in the multi-year project.