It has been an exciting week in the water-management world, starting with last week’s episode of 60 minutes, in which Lesley Stahl presented the global problem of groundwater decline, using California’s Central Valley as a particular example. There, where the State has only recently taken the first small steps toward regulating groundwater pumping, the amount of water removed from the aquifer is so great that the land surface has sunk over 10 feet in many areas.
You’re lucky this week, because my blog will be really short. The reason for that is that it is already 4 p.m. on Friday, after two full days of working out in cold, snowy weather to get ready for winter—except that winter had already arrived on Monday.
In last week’s blog, I described a particularly busy, though not atypical, couple of weeks of my work here at the Henry’s Fork Foundation. The subject of aquifer recharge came up numerous times in that blog, so I thought I’d follow up this week with an overview of aquifer recharge, how it could affect wild trout on the Henry’s Fork, and what HFF is doing to ensure that recharge activities do not harm fisheries and perhaps could even help them.
My co-workers keep reminding me that I need to post a blog once in a while, and those of you who know me well know that my lack of blogging activity has nothing to do with lack of something to say. Every day in the course of my work I come across ideas and information that I think would make great blog posts, but every day, more things end up in the “in” box than the “out” box, pushing blogging farther down the priority list.
The last two weeks have been more hectic than usual, resulting in an “out-minus-in” deficit even greater than average. However, my work over the past two weeks provides an excellent example of the challenges we face in maintaining wild trout fisheries in the Henry’s Fork. I thought sharing these challenges with you would make a great blog post and give some deeper insight into HFF and its work. As with most things I write, it’s a little long, but look at this way—it’s five or six weeks’ worth of shorter blogs!
As some of you have heard, flow in the Henry’s Fork at St. Anthony dropped suddenly at around 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 23rd. Flow dropped from 1050 cfs to 622 cfs over a one-hour-period and then increased to 1080 cfs over the next 45 minutes. The river bottom was briefly exposed in shallow areas along the banks and in side channels. We received a report that some small fish were stranded and that brown trout redds were exposed. The event was short enough that gravel in the redds most likely remained saturated.
In cooperation with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and Harriman State Park, the Henry's Fork Foundation recently completed a project to improve access at Fish Pond and improve the function of the Fish Pond spillway. Utilizing funds from the Caribou-Targhee Resource Advisory Committee and expertise from the USFS and HFF staff (thanks to Brad Higginson, Bill Davis, and Jarrod Hansen), the project repaired the main access road, closed off small spur roads, and established a parking area with interpretive sign.
Thanks to the Idaho Nonprofit Center for choosing the Henry's Fork Foundation as one of six recipients for excellence awards this year. I was privileged to travel to Boise to represent the Foundation at the awards presentation, accompanied by Mick Mickelson, one of the founding directors of the Foundation. Please click here for details about the award and the work we do.
We are excited to inform you of an exclusive offer only available to current Henry’s Fork Foundation Life Members. For a donation of $1,000, you will receive a custom Simms HFF Life Member jacket, your choice of men’s or women’s (pictured below), as well as renew your Green Drake Society membership for one year.
As a reminder, the Green Drake Society is an elite group made up of Henry’s Fork Foundation members who donate $1,000 or more annually. As a Green Drake Society member, you receive special invitations to exclusive dinners, receptions, and trips.
The Henry's Fork Watershed Council annual field tour August 12, 2014, include stops at the Sheridan Creek Restoration Project on Green Canyon Road west of Island Park Reservoir, Island Park Dam, Box Canyon boat ramp, and Chester Dam. We started out with about 40 people, and added and lost a few throughout the day. I always learn a lot on these field trips, and this one was no exception. I am impressed with the work done by the Watershed Council and its co-facilitators, the Henry's Fork Foundation and the Fremont-Madison Irrigation District.