I’ve been traveling much of the past two weeks and haven’t had time to post a blog lately. This week’s post is the presentation I gave at the Idaho Chapter American Fisheries Society meeting in Boise on March 4.
As most of you know, HFF conducted a survey of anglers in Harriman State Park (“the Ranch”) in 2014. The survey was identical to one conducted back in 2008, for direct comparison of angler attitudes and experiences between the two years. In 2008, the (new, improved) Buffalo River fish ladder and the Island Park Drought Management Planning process were each only two years old and so had not had time to fully affect the population of rainbow trout available to anglers. By 2014, two full fish generations had passed since implementation of these two major fishery improvement projects, and we went back to see whether anglers had noticed any difference in the fishing.
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.