On February 7, snow-water-equivalent (SWE) in the Upper Henry's Fork subwatershed was 99% of the 30-year median. The intervening month has brought heavy precipitation to the entire watershed, raising the Upper Henry's Fork SWE to 120% of median. SWE is 131% of median in the Fall River subwatershed (up from 121% on February 7) and 135% of median in the Teton River subwatersed (up from 133% on February 7). All three subwatersheds have already reached their median peak SWE for the whole season.
Ten days ago, snow-water-equivalent (SWE) in the Upper Henry's Fork subwatershed was 89% of the 30-year median. As forecast 10 days ago, storms over the past few days have favored the northern part of the watershed for a change, raising the Upper Henry's Fork SWE to 99% of median. SWE is 121% of median in the Fall River subwatershed (up from 113% nine days ago) and 130% of median in the Teton River subwatersed (up from 123% nine days ago). Forecast calls for four more days of wet weather, followed by a week-long dry period.
Nine days ago, snow-water-equivalent (SWE) in the Upper Henry's Fork subwatershed was 91% of the long-term median. Following another large storm that dropped heavy snowfall across the southern part of the state but relatively little across the north, Upper Henry's Fork SWE has dropped to 89% of median. SWE is 113% of median in the Fall River subwatershed (down from 120% nine days ago) and 123% of median in the Teton River subwatersed (compared with 124% nine days ago). Models hint at a more northerly track for the next round of precipitation, which would help the upper Henry's Fork.
Here is a quick summary of the collaborative gill lice study that the Henry's Fork Foundation and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game initiated in June, 2016. For background information on this study, check out these links:
Eight days ago, snow-water-equivalent (SWE) in the Upper Henry's Fork subwatershed was 91% of the long-term median. One snowy day and seven dry days later, Upper Henry's Fork SWE is still at 91% of median. SWE is 120% of median in the Fall River subwatershed (down from 123% eight days ago) and 124% of median in the Teton River subwatershed (down from 130% eight days ago). Current forecasts call for near-average precipitation over the next five days, followed by below-average precipitation for several weeks after that.
Summary: Snowpack in the Upper Henry's Fork Watershed is Below Average
Half-way through the snow accumulation season, the amount of water in the snowpack (snow-water-equivalent or SWE) in the upper Henry's Fork watershed is only 91% of the 30-year median. As a result, we are anticipating another year of below-average streamflow in the Henry's Fork watershed upstream of Ashton. The upper Henry's Fork is the only watershed in the entire upper Snake River basin to have received below-average SWE so far this winter. Even the watersheds immediately to the south--Fall River and the Teton River--have received above-average snowfall. When these sub-watersheds are averaged in with the upper Henry's Fork, as is done all of the map-based and tabular products distributed by water-management agencies, the outlook for the Henry's Fork watershed as a whole appears much better than it is in the upper watershed, which is the most relevant to management of Island Park Reservoir and streamflows between Island Park and Ashton.
For the past two years, HFF has ended the year by taking a look back at our "Top-10" accomplishments. This year, we're keeping that tradition going with HFF's Top-10 list for 2016. Before you dive in, you can also take a look back at 2014 and 2015.
Last year at this time, I reported on year one of my resurrection of “fish of the month,” a tradition that Henry’s Fork Anglers guide Tom Grimes and I started many years ago. The goal is to catch at least one wild trout every month of the year, on a fly, in our local Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming waters. My longest fish-of-the-month streak lasted 55 months, from July 2004 through January 2009. On Thursday December 15, 2016, I successfully added month 24 to the current streak.
This fall HFF initiated a new water-quality monitoring study designed to answer the following question: How far downstream of Island Park Dam (IP Dam) do high turbidity levels persist? I introduced this study in my blog post made on September 9, 2016. Please find details of the background and motivation for this study, as well as a map of the sampling sites, in the previous blog post. The current blog post summarizes what we found during our 2016 data collection season.