The Henry’s Fork Watershed Council held its annual field tour on August 9. About 25 participants met in Ashton to begin the tour, but more people joined later in the day.
The tour started with a trip to one of Idaho Power’s remote cloud-seeding sites in Island Park, where meteorologist Derek Blestrud explained the science and goals of the cloud-seeding program. Full implementation of ground- and aircraft-based operations in the upper Snake River basin is expected to increase annual streamflow by 400,000 acre-feet.
Derek Blestrud of Idaho Power explains cloud-seeding technology at a remote site in Island Park.
The group then traveled to the newly completed St. Anthony Union recharge canal west of St. Anthony. Egin Bench Canals president Mike Rasmussen and Fremont-Madison Irrigation District chairman Jeff Raybould explained logistical and administrative aspects of canal and managed recharge operations. On tour day, the canal was delivering 75 cfs to recharge ponds on Bureau of Land Management land.
Mike Rasmussen of Egin Bench Canals explains operation of the St. Anthony Union recharge canal.
After lunch, Dirk Mace gave the group a tour of the St. Anthony hydroelectric plant, which was built in 1915 and recently purchased and refurbished by Sorenson Engineering.
St. Anthony hydroelectric power plant.
The last stop was the site of a proposed public boat launch on the South Fork Teton River near Rexburg. The Council had devoted the majority of its February meeting to this project, and the tour gave Dan Garren of Idaho Department of Fish and Game an opportunity to update the Council. The next step is for Madison County to hold a public hearing on whether the project should receive a required planning and zoning variance.