AMERICAN FORK, Utah (News4Utah) – Wildlife biologists are diving into research on our fish population in the north arm of the American Fork River. Biologists were thrilled to see small trout in the river, a sign of a recovering ecosystem after the Tibble Fork Reservoir sediment slide back in 2016.
“Back in the summer of 2016, with some of the reclamation work being done on Tibble Fork Reservoir, a lot of sediment was released and we lost all the fish in the North Fork of American Fork Canyon,” Matt Slater of the Division of Wildlife Resources said.
Biologists have been monitoring the area since the draining of the reservoir and collect trout to check on the health of fish.
“We are not here to kill fish, we just want to get our hands on fish, weigh them, measure them, see how they are doing, so we use electricity,” said Slater.
A jolt of electricity to the water will temporarily stun a fish, allow it to bubble to the surface and is then netted by wildlife crews. The fish are weighed and measured and then released. DWR employees also gather habitat samples and note changes in the flow of the river.
“I can safely say, We are moving in the right direction. We are seeing young fish, we haven’t seen that since 2016, so that’s a real positive thing,” said Slater.
The balance of our canyon and river ecosystems is important and surveys like this provide critical information for wildlife managers.
“It’s important to make sure we aren’t having any negative impacts. Things are going okay, we are doing what we can, us as an agency, are we putting enough fish in are we providing that kind of opportunity?”