Agreement Reached to Help the Yellowstone (and Beyond)
Last Friday, a year to the day that tens of thousands of coldwater fish were killed in the Yellowstone River due to low flows, temperature, and disease, TU signed an agreement with Kinross—a mining company out of Vancouver—that will result in at least 3 billion gallons of water per year remaining instream in critical tributaries of the Yellowstone. It is the first of its kind agreement with a mining company, and one of the largest and most ecologically significant water right donations in history. Notably, it also is one of the first (but not the last!) times that a water conservation will provide tax benefit to a landowner as land conservation has for many years.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of these precedents, and how important the project is to providing thermal refuge and late season flows for Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and other coldwater species.
The Governor, the deputy secretary of Interior, and the entire MT delegation were there to celebrate the good work of Pat Byorth and Laura Ziemer who did all of the heavy lifting to make this project possible. As the African proverb (well before the book) said, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And the credit for initially developing our remarkable relationship with Kinross is a the result of hard work by Steve Kandell, Steve Moyer, Ty Churchwell, and a few others. We would be remiss if I didn’t call out the Hewlett, Lohr, and Wyss foundations for their support, too.
-Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited