ITD and a coalition of public and private partners committed to saving the Yellowstone cutthroat trout population in Idaho and Montana recently earned one of the highest awards given by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
The Henrys Lake Fish Passages Project Team received an AASHTO President’s Transportation Award for Environment during the organization’s 2007 annual meeting held in Milwaukee, Wis., last month.
Dave Walrath, project development engineer for District 6, accepted the award on behalf of ITD and the project team.
The award was based on the team’s efforts to reverse declining survival rates for Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Henrys Lake, one of the country’s premier Yellowstone cutthroat fisheries.
Erosion-filled culverts under Idaho 87 limited fish passage between two of the largest spawning tributaries and Henry’s Lake. Fish had to be shocked, netted and transported around the blockage to get to the streams. Until recently, the Henrys Lake Foundation, Boy Scouts, Idaho Fish and Game Staff and volunteers helped move the fish to their spawning grounds.
ITD’s District 6 coordinated efforts with environmental and civic organizations and Senator Mike Crapo’s office to develop an accelerated action to build two bridges, one over Tarhgee Creek and one over Howard Creek, restoring a more natural flow. The successful $1.8 million project came in on time and within budget.
“Through the commitment and leadership of the project team, Yellowstone’s cutthroat fisheries will be saved and a national treasure preserved,” said ITD Director Pamela K. Lowe in a nomination letter to AASHTO.
“The project demonstrates how a diverse group of organizations with a common interest in saving a valuable resource can come together and achieve the best solution,” she said.
During the ITD Board’s meeting next week, board members will view a short video that accompanied the award entry and was shown at AASHTO’s award ceremony.
The AASHTO award was another in an impressive line of honors the project generated. It previously received awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies, the Road Builder’s clinic, the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers and the 2007 Project Design Conference in Boise.