This presentation was given on Wednesday, September 23rd at the Guides and Outfitters End-of-Season Gathering at Pond’s Lodge. HFF’s research and restoration team presented a large amount of data, and for those who were unable to make it, who want to dig in to the graphs a little more, or are just generally interested in what the Foundation has been working on in terms of analyzing water quantity and water quality, here is a link to the slides, in pdf format.
As the summer transitions into fall and I transition titles within the Foundation, I would like to share some of my summer highlights. My internship with the Henry’s Fork Foundation is one of my proudest achievements – not only because of the work I have contributed to, but also for the amazing opportunities I have had to explore the local landscape and engage with the local culture. Here is a glimpse into the fun the intern crew had outside of work this summer:
Before I leave to speak at the national American Fisheries Society annual meeting in Portland next week, I thought I would provide links to several technical documents to keep you informed entertained for a while.
Wild trout need water of appropriate quantity and quality. Quantity and quality of water released from Island Park Reservoir during June and July of 2015 continue to be the subject of much discussion and concern, particularly following release of around 2,000 cfs July 21-23 to provide flow to test turbines at the Chester Dam hydroelectric project. This blog just covers water quantity, specifically flow releases from Island Park Reservoir.
“There are supposed to be fish in there?" I remember asking incredulously as we arrived at Badger Creek. Usually, our task is to bushwhack to a remote stream to analyze its trout population. However, this morning, our task was a little different. We drove towards Badger Creek where we heard there was a puddle, not much larger than a queen size bed, where fish were struggling. In this environment, with shallow waters, high temperatures and too little oxygen for vegetation, we could not imagine we would have much luck finding fish.
This past Tuesday, I left the usual duties of the gang of HFF and FTR field workers and joined Matt Hively (one of the FTR crew) to perform surgeries on fish caught in Bitch Creek. The day before, Mike Lien and Matt had gone spin and fly fishing along the river and caught five fish: a few hybrids and one rainbow trout. Overnight the fish hung out in a pair of livewells—PVC pipes with caps and holes punched into the sides—and tied to some rocks within the flow. That day we were wading to these spots in order to surgically place radio telemetry tags within the fish.
Before I came to intern at the Foundation, I knew I would be helping out at something called Henry's Fork Day. All I knew, was that it was an annual event, was open to any member of the Foundation, and that I needed to mow and rake a football field worth of grass up to my hips for the event. So after Thacia, Christina, Natalie and I spent almost 20 hours mowing the site for the day, I was excited to see the field come to life.
Back on April 1, with snowpack and winter streamflow data in hand, I predicted that the spring of 2015 would be the driest in the last 35 years and quite possibly the driest since the extended drought of the 1930s. You can read my April 1 predictions at http://henrysfork.org/spring-2015-shaping-be-driest-record. So, how good were my predictions?
As the Environmental Modeling Intern, my time is split between field work and programming in R (a statistical computing language and software environment… think Excel but more powerful and with a lot more user driven direction). The first half of my summer has primarily consisted of using R to create graphs comparing the current water year to those of the past. When I was first given this task, my R skills were limited and the pressure was on.