On Friday afternoon, just as I started writing my blog, I received a phone call from Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) staff in Boise. The purpose of the call was to alert me that water-supply and administrative conditions were aligning to allow diversion of water upstream of American Falls Reservoir for aquifer recharge. That prompted me drop what I was starting to write and instead revisit the water-supply situation, which I last did on January 7. So, how are we doing five weeks later?
This week I attended Idaho Department of Environmental Quality's annual Water Quality Monitoring workshop in Boise. This was the workshop's 25th year, although it was my first time attending. HFF was invited to participate because of the large amount of water quality data we are now collecting and analyzing. This week's blog consists of my presentation at that workshop.
For many years, outfitters and guides, anglers, and irrigation managers have inquired about the causes of daily fluctuations in streamflow in the Henry’s Fork downstream of Ashton Dam. These fluctuations are large enough to be noticed by anglers while they are out on the river and large enough to cause canal diversion rates to vary throughout the day. Although fluctuations occur year-round, they are highest in amplitude and have the greatest effect on fishing, river ecology, and irrigation operations during the late summer and early fall.
From the outside, it would appear that HFF’s busiest time of year is the month or two leading up to and surrounding Henry’s Fork Day in June. But, I’m going to make the case here that the next six or eight weeks are in fact the busiest of the year when averaged over the entire HFF team. If nothing else, this week’s blog will give you a good idea of the breadth of our work.
December 2014 and January 2015 found HFF Board Members, staff, and members traveling to Mexico and Argentina to make Henry’s Fork connections! These HFF hosted trips were months to years in the making and are the result of symbiotic relationships that HFF has developed with partners across the globe.
A few blogs ago I discussed the words “collaboration”, “sustainability”, and “planning” in the context of HFF’s work. This week I’ll take on three more words: “research”, “monitoring,” and “science.”
For those of you who, understandably, don’t have time or desire to read the whole blog, here are the take-home messages.
Science requires 1) identification of a problem, 2) collection of data, and 3) formulation and testing of hypotheses.
Research and monitoring activities related to natural resources frequently fail to constitute science because they lack testing of hypotheses.
Key steps in hypothesis-testing are review of scientific literature, formulation of testable hypotheses, selection of statistical methods, design of data-collection based on the statistical methods, and use of mathematical and computational tools to conduct the hypothesis tests.
The peer-reviewed scientific literature is the basis for advancement of scientific knowledge and for the application of science in decision making.
HFF strives to conduct science and to publish that science in peer-reviewed journals.
As we are now about half-way through our snow-accumulation season and half-way through the critical winter period for survival of juvenile trout, it is a good time to assess our current water supply and what it may mean for the upcoming spring and summer.
My top-10 list is limited to items from our programmatic work (research and restoration, stewardship, and education) and so does not include other notable HFF events and accomplishments such as four record-breaking fundraising receptions, the 30th Anniversary edition of Henry’s Fork Day, and a special appearance by “The Voice of the River” at the North Fremont Education Foundation talent show and auction. These are all important events and accomplishments that make our programmatic work possible.
I started out the morning thinking that I would replace the usual blog entry this week with a “fishy” version of “The Night Before Christmas”—you know, “Twas the night before Christmas, in the river, throughout, not a creature was stirring, not even a trout. The stockingfoot waders had been hung with care, but many with holes were in need of repair…”
More than 14 years ago, Joan Rice went to work for the Henry's Fork Foundation as a clerk. Over the years, her duties changed and she began keeping track of the finances of the growing non-profit. For the past several years, she has been an independent contractor, doing the Foundation's books and acting as human resources manager. Joan announced in November that she is retiring, and her last day on the job will be Dec. 31. You can't replace Joan. She is one of a kind, but we have hired a successor in time to allow Joan to provide some training before she leaves. Our new Finance and HR Manager is Tim Maurer of Ashton. Tim will be starting out part-time through the end of 2014 to take advantage of training opportunities with Joan. He will start working 32 hours/week in January. Tim will be responsible for all of the duties traditionally assigned to Joan, and with Kennalee Howell leaving on a LDS mission this spring, also take on her role within the Foundation. Tim has been a valued asset as a volunteer at Henry’s Fork Day and other HFF events. He has also contracted with HFF to close out select RAC grants within the last two years. Tim brings project administration experience, attention to detail, and event management credentials to HFF after completing a career in the military and civilian service. While I am sad to have Joan depart, I am relieved and excited to be working with Tim to steward the HFF financial resources, interact with the HFF Finance Committee, and have him assist with our fundraising efforts.