New conservation projects by Utah Cutthroat Slam to benefit native trout

SALT LAKE CITY — Two new conservation projects geared toward helping Utah’s native cutthroat trout were announced during an annual Utah Cutthroat Slam meeting. The projects were selected by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Trout Unlimited, the organizations that started the Utah Cutthroat Slam.

Launched in April 2016, the slam is a fishing challenge that requires participants to catch Utah’s four native cutthroat trout subspecies in their native ranges. Roughly $19 of each $20 registration fee goes toward conservation projects for the native species.

The two projects being funded this year are:

  • Improving Fish Creek: Fish Creek was impacted by flooding after the 2010 Twitchell Canyon Fire, which caused extensive erosion and damage to the stream channels and habitat along the creek. Work was done in 2014 and 2015 to help stabilize the stream banks. This new project will include planting various plants along the river to help further restore the vegetation in the area, which will benefit the fish there. The project will receive $10,000 in funding.

  • Utah Wildlife Walls mural project: Spearheaded by the Utah Wildlife Federation and local artist Chris Peterson, this project aims to educate the public about Utah’s native wildlife species and conservation efforts by creating a prominent wildlife mural in each county of Utah. The Utah Wildlife Walls project was launched in the fall of 2022 with a 120-foot mural of a Bonneville cutthroat trout on a building in Sugar House. This upcoming project will create a mural of a Colorado River cutthroat trout in a community along its native range. A mural unveiling event will be held to celebrate this species and educate the public about this fish at the mural’s completion. The project will receive $6,000 in funding.

“Roughly 50 years ago, there were very few cutthroat trout populations in the state,” DWR Sportfish Coordinator Randy Oplinger said. “We have done a ton of restoration work to bring cutthroat back, and they are now a true conservation success story in Utah. The Utah Cutthroat Slam helps fund projects that continue our cutthroat trout restoration. Anglers should consider participating in this fun challenge because their registration fee goes directly toward conserving cutthroat trout and helps us create better angling opportunities for this important species throughout Utah.”

To date, 4,385 people have registered for the slam, and the program has generated more than $81,000 for cutthroat trout restoration in Utah. There have been 1,061 completions of the slam, with 167 in 2022. More than 75 people have completed the slam more than once. Participants who complete the slam receive a certificate and commemorative medallion. Four new cutthroat medallions will be released in the coming years to highlight each native cutthroat trout species. A new medallion featuring a Colorado River cutthroat trout was released when the number of completions reached 1,000 last fall.

“The success of the Utah Cutthroat Slam is truly a testament to the partnership between our organizations,” Trout Unlimited Southwest Communications Director Nick Gann said. “The money generated through this program helps fund important conservation projects that directly benefit native cutthroat trout and promote fishing and conservation.”

Anyone interested in participating in the Utah Cutthroat Slam can register on the website and visit their booth at the Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo from April 14-15 at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy.

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