North Fork Tincup Creek Process Based Restoration Project

|||| |||| ||||


The Forest Sevice, Trout Unlimited, and other partners from 2017-2020 restored 5 stream miles of Tincup Creek from Highway 34 to the North Fork Bridge. The Soda Springs Ranger District of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest proposes this new project located one mile upstream of the North Fork Bridge within the Idaho Inventoried Roadless Area where road construction or reconstruction is allowed.  The agency claims that fisheries and wildlife habitat will also be improved as habitat will be more stable and diverse as the system can dissipate stream energy over a floodplain, but we have some concerns.  Primarily the lack of proposed elimination of livestock grazing in the project area or the use of exclosures to eliminate livestock access to the stream is missing from the proposal which would increase the likelihood of the project’s success regarding stream and riparian habitat health and ecological function.  We see no justification for this project until and unless livestock grazing is excluded from the project area.  Continued Forest Service authorization of livestock access to the stream will continue to damage willows and stream cover, damage stream banks, and add sedimentation and E. coli contamination to the stream.   Our work on Paris Creek and other streams clearly demonstrates that when livestock, particularly cattle, have access to the stream, the problems outlined in the Purpose and Need section of the scoping letter for this project will continue.  Idaho's own Agricultural Pollution Abatement Plan notes that livestock exclusion is the method that will relieve E. coli pollution.  The best available science shows the livestock exclusion is the only way to restore and maintain a healthy stream ecosystem.  The project has been proposed by the Forest Service under Categorical Exclusion (CE) of the NEPA process.  Y2U, along with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystem Council submitted comments on the project on February 18th, 2020.  The full set of comments can be found below

Work Plan

As the project was proposed as a CE, Y2U likely will not be involved any further in this project. 

Expected Outcome

Unknown at this time.