Game and Fish Addressing Erosion | Big Horn Basin Media

Game and Fish Addressing Erosion on Sunlight Creek

Written by on June 27, 2018

A section of Sunlight Creek on the Sunlight Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) is getting some much-needed improvements to ensure public access, address eroding banks and improve trout habitat.
Aquatic Habitat Biologist Laura Burckhardt says Sunlight Creek has experienced unnatural stream channel movement and severe bank erosion for the last 40 years. Last year, one of the stream banks eroded up to 150 feet, dumping over 31,000 tons of sediment into Sunlight Creek – that is the equivalent of 1,855 dump truck loads.
The rate of movement in this area is overly high and represents some of the highest rates and most severe bank erosion occurring on Sunlight Creek, according to Burkhardt. She says the unnatural rate of change on this section of the creek threatens public access roads to Trail Creek and Painter Creek, threatens infrastructure, degrades fish habitat and reduces brook trout populations.
Construction is expected to occur from August through October of 2018. Active construction is anticipated to take about 70 days, during which time users will see and hear heavy equipment rebuilding the stream channel. Water clarity may be reduced within and downstream of the project when equipment is working in the water. Additionally, fish may temporarily leave the area.

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