The American Fisheries Society's Bonneville Chapter has given its Award of Merit to Questar Pipeline Co. and two Questar employees for protecting an environmentally sensitive northeastern Utah area.

Questar Pipeline had proposed building a natural gas pipeline from the Red Wash area, across the Green River to the Brown's Park area in the state's northeast corner.But the preferred route, through Sears Canyon, would have increased sediment in Red Creek, endangering a world-renowned trout fishery in the Green River, the chapter said.

And the Utah Wildlife Resources Division was considering Sears Canyon as a site for transplanting Colorado cutthroat trout.

After reviewing the Sears Canyon plan, Questar Pipeline decided to reroute its pipeline across Diamond Mountain, even though the alternate route was more costly and more difficult to build.

In addition to the company, the chapter also presented the Award of Merit to David Flaim, Questar environmental coordinator, and to Gerald Mouser, pipeline project manager, "for their progressive and responsible leadership."