A fish passage improvement project to boost the steelhead population in Big Meadow Creek near Troy is working.
Idaho Fish and Game wants to increase steelhead numbers in the Potlatch River watershed. Big Meadow Creek has one of the largest steelhead populations in the Lower Clearwater River drainage.
Biologists found that a culvert near the mouth of the creek was blocking steelhead migration. Fish and game installed steel baffles in the culvert to slow flows during high water and to increase depths during low flows. The 2018 project was intended to allow steelhead to swim upstream into valuable spawning habitat in Big Meadow Creek.
The agency reports that the project is working. Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species. Rainbows stay in streams their entire life while steelhead migrate to the ocean. Before the culvert was fixed most of the trout in Big Meadow Creek were rainbows. Genetic testing of the trout population in the creek now shows that most of the fish are steelhead.