In my blog on Friday, I gave a comprehensive review of the current status of snowmelt and runoff in the upper Henry’s Fork watershed. Despite cooler daytime temperature highs over the weekend, warmer nighttime lows and rain contributed to accelerated snowmelt between Friday and Monday. Both the Crab Creek and Island Park SnoTel sites report large decreases in Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) over the last few days, with both locations losing about 2 inches. Weekend weather left Crab Creek with 2.4 inches of SWE and Island Park with 1.6 inches.
With increased natural flow, elevated turbidity levels, and the disappearance of snowy horizons, runoff has signaled its arrival throughout much of the Henry’s Fork basin. Using Snow Telemetry (SnoTel) data, this blog will discuss how the current status of snowmelt and runoff in the Henry’s Fork headwaters compare to historic data and what this means for streamflow during the prime fishing time of mid- to late-June.
During our regular water-quality monitoring last week, we observed that recent turbidity levels are above average in all reaches of the river, except below Island Park Dam, and the highest observed turbidity last week is higher than any observed turbidity below Island Park Dam since we started regular water-quality monitoring there in the summer of 2013. The highest turbidity levels we observed last week were in the Warm River-to-Ashton Reservoir reach (18 NTU) and at Pinehaven (9 NTU).
The Island Park Drought Management Planning Committee met on April 8 to discuss projected water supply and management of Island Park Reservoir this spring. Organizations represented at this meeting were Fremont-Madison Irrigation District, North Fork Reservoir Company, Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Water District 01, and Henry's Fork Foundation.
As of this posting, we have been trapping fish moving up the Buffalo River Fish Ladder for the past six weeks. As promised, I have put together some information to share what we have seen so far this sampling season and how that compares to what we have seen in the past.
The Henry’s Fork Foundation’s Salt Lake City event was a great success once again thanks to our dedicated supporting members in the Salt Lake area. Thank you to everyone who attended! We had great turnout with just a little over 260 people in attendance! With a large selection in the silent auction, fun trips to take advantage of in the live auction, and an incredible keynote speaker, Jeff Metcalf, it made for an exciting evening of fun, visiting, and gathering for a great cause.
Oxygen content in the water is critical to fish in the same way oxygen in the air is critical for us. The way we measure oxygen content for fish is milligrams per liter (mg/L) of dissolved oxygen, or DO. Habitat requirements, such as average DO requirements, are useful in our research and monitoring programs for interpreting our data and designing management actions.
What is meant by average dissolved oxygen requirements?
I was first introduced to the Buffalo Fish Ladder in mid-June of 2015 on the first day of my internship. I had arrived the night before after having driven for two days from California and had spent the majority of my first day preparing the field next to the Fisherman’s Access parking lot for Henrys Fork Day. I was just go, go, going and I didn’t quite feel like I had landed in Idaho… until we started netting fish trapped at the top of the Buffalo River Fish Ladder. Seeing Henrys Fork trout, however small, was grounding. It felt like my feet had finally stopped moving.
As of early February, accumulation of snowpack in the Snake River Basin has reached about two-thirds of its annual maximum, which makes this a good time to assess the current water situation and make some projections for the upcoming spring.