After several years of monitoring, planning, and fundraising, a screen was recently installed on the headgate of an irrigation ditch at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

Fisheries managers have become increasingly aware that some irrigation ditches may be trapping fish in them. Fish that enter the irrigation system may not be able to return to the river and will die as water temperatures increase in the summer and when the ditches are drawn down for the winter.

To determine how many fish were being trapped in the ditch system on Seedskadee NWR and to return the fish to the River, volunteers from the local Trout Unlimited Chapter , Seedskadee Trout Unlimited (STU), Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) staff, and Seedskadee NWR staff electroshocked a small section of the largest ditch on the refuge, the Hamp II ditch, for one day in the fall of 2012.

“The first year we saved over 700 trout in a short amount of time with a small crew,” Said Pete Hallberg, STU volunteer. “That first year really opened our eyes to the problem.”

Upon completion of the survey, design, and fund raising, the project was underway. On November 10th, installation began.