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June 13, 2008

    Bruce Collins, 307-328-4329

BLM to Explore Future Actions for Teton Reservoir

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in cooperation with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department will be releasing some fish into the Teton Reservoir, located 13 miles south of Rawlins, Wyo. for the 2008 season. The Rawlins Field Office will be placing "catchables" in the reservoir for the 2008 season rather than smaller fish that need to winter over.

"The Teton Reservoir has evolved throughout the years to serve multiple purposes and now we are reevaluating the use of reservoir to make sure it lines up with current conditions," said Patrick Madigan, BLM Rawlins Field Manager.

The BLM has been reviewing alternatives for Teton Reservoir with representatives from local, state and federal organizations to gather data and discuss options for the reservoir. Additional short- and long-term alternatives are being discussed with representatives from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the City of Rawlins, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and resource specialists from the Rawlins Field Office.

"We’re still studying and reviewing all the information," said Madigan, "but with the cooperation of Wyoming Game and Fish, the City, and other partners we are looking forward to developing some preliminary alternatives soon."

In the 1960’s, the reservoir was originally developed as part of a successful watershed effort to reduce sedimentation into the North Platte River. Although the reservoir continues to contribute to sedimentation control, the primary use of the area has shifted in the last several years to become a popular recreational fishing location.

Due to increasing levels of silt and the high water evaporation rate, the water depth of the reservoir has decreased and created warm waters insufficient for fish habitat. Last month, BLM specialists recommended that the lake not be restocked with trout this season to protect the fish from being introduced into an unhealthy habitat.

The BLM has begun discussing future actions for the Teton Reservoir, including an in-depth analysis of the feasibility to continue the use of the reservoir as a year-round recreational fishing site.

The BLM has junior water rights for the reservoir, with the senior water rights belonging to a local rancher. Therefore, during the decision-making process, the BLM will be coordinating with the senior water rights owner to ensure water needs are met, as well as determining the most appropriate use of the reservoir.

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