Teton River Restoration on HD Dunn & Son Ranch

Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) partnered with the Dunn family of the HD Dunn & Son Ranch to complete a Teton River bank restoration project in late December.  The project benefits a variety of wildlife species including the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, Bald Eagle, Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse.

The Land Trust worked within the same reach a couple years ago and determined more aggressive restoration techniques were needed to stabilize the riverbank.  TRLT’s Stewardship Specialist, Anthony Gunnell led the effort utilizing techniques such as placing logs, large root wads, and transplanting willows to stabilize the bank.  This project contributes to the health of the river by stabilizing the banks to reduce sediment. As the willows grow, they will also shade the river providing both cover from predators and cooler temperatures for the fish. Historic ranching practices contributed to streambank degradation and restoration projects have been a large focus for the Teton Regional Land Trust.

Teton Regional Land Trust (TRLT) and the Dunn family have been lasting partners over the years.  Back in 2004, the family placed portions of their working Angus beef ranch under a conservation easement held by Teton Regional Land Trust.  The Dunn’s conservation easement, along with Idaho Department of Fish and Game land and other adjacent conservation easements, makes up the longest stretch of protected river banks on the Teton River.  Over the years, the Dunn family also partnered with the Land Trust and public agencies to utilize programs through the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS).  These efforts furthered sustainable ranching management practices and have kept cattle off the river to benefit water quality.  “The Land Trust’s partnership with the HD Dunn & Son Ranch is a great example of demonstrating how ranching and conservation can go hand-in-hand,” said Joselin Matkins, Teton Regional Land Trust Executive Director.

Ken Dunn commented, “Our ranch has long-been an operating cattle ranch, and we have continually strived to be good stewards of the land and the waterways that traverse our property. The recent stream bank restoration project is one of many steps we are making to improve the fish and wildlife habitat on our ranch and the place we call home. We value the health of the Teton River and recognize its importance to our operation, local fishery and the community.  We hope the management techniques we employ and stream bank improvements we have made will lead to a healthier fishery that we can all enjoy.”

This restoration project was funded by Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation, US Fish & Wildlife Service-Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and Grand Targhee Protect Our Winters Foundation.