South Fork Initiative: An Initiative of the Henry's Fork Foundation
Why the South Fork of the Snake River?
Many of us, on our adventures in Henry’s Fork country, have also taken a trip south to explore the South Fork of the Snake River (SFSR). However, during your travels you might not have realized how interconnected flows and management of the Henry’s Fork are to the SFSR. The SFSR from Palisades Dam to the Henry’s Fork confluence is roughly 60 miles long, supports robust populations of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Mountain Whitefish, and flows through cottonwood stands, canyons, and a braided floodplain. Management of the SFSR system, especially in regards to water management, can directly affect streamflow in the Henry’s Fork.
So, when a group of SFSR outfitters and concerned citizens approached HFF and asked us to expand our brand of research and collaboration to the SFSR, we took note. After serious consideration, HFF has launched the South Fork Initiative (SFI) project. Not only will this new endeavor provide the opportunity to influence broad-scale water management for the benefit of the Henry’s Fork and the SFSR, maintaining a healthy SFSR fishery will help disperse fishing pressure and ensure great fishing opportunities for both rivers. Funding for SFI related projects comes directly from grants and donations designated for the SFI. Donations and funds for the Henry’s Fork are not, and will not, be used for SFI projects. If you’d like to support the SFI by making an additional donation for the SFI, please click here.
To conserve, protect, and restore the unique fisheries, wildlife, and aesthetic qualities of the South Fork of the Snake River and its watershed for all individuals and for future generations.
Through data driven decisions, collaboration, and innovative solutions, the South Fork Initiative intends to be the unified voice of conservation and restoration for the South Fork of the Snake River Watershed.
This vision was established through the shared values of numerous river stakeholders and will continue to strengthen as the initiative matures.
- Develop a strong voice in water management through water quality and water quantity monitoring and research
- Provide technical and financial support for fisheries and riparian habitat projects
- Collaborate with agencies, organizations, individuals, and other stakeholders to conserve the South Fork of the Snake River Watershed
- Collaborate with partners on a variety of restoration projects, fisheries research, macroinvertebrate sampling, and high-resolution water quality and quantity monitoring
Aquatic macroinvertebrates (insects and creatures that reside in the river bottom) are a critical component of a healthy ecosystem and fishery. Understanding the diversity and density of macroinvertebrates through time and space is paramount in understanding habitat quality, hatches, and trout forage within the SFSR. To see results from our first year of macroinvertebrate sampling, check out our 2019 South Fork Macroinvertebrate blog.
Water Quality Monitoring
Using advanced water quality monitoring equipment, the SFI will provide real-time data on dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, and other water quality parameters throughout the SFSR, and its tributaries, that are critical for aquatic species as well as fishing conditions. This data will be accessible through the HFF water quality website and will be a valuable tool for guides, outfitters, and the general fishing public. In addition, this data will be critical for understanding the relationship between storage in Palisades, flow out of Palisades Dam, and natural seasonal variations in river conditions that will help drive management decisions to improve the fishery fishing experience and ecosystem.
SFSR Flow Updates
The Bureau of Reclamation has generously agreed to provide the SFI with information regarding SFSR flow adjustments. The SFI will post flow adjustment as soon as possible through social media and emails. Information on SFI social media is located at the bottom of the webpage. If you’d like to get on the SFSR flow email list, please contact Bryce Oldemeyer at Bryce@henrysfork.org.
The SFI will be involved with restoration projects targeted at restoring ecosystem functions and enhancing habitat for native fish and wildlife. In particular, over the next five years, the SFI will work to restore the lower reaches of Rainey Creek and its tributaries, to improve riparian habitat and promote Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout spawning and rearing.
Access Site Enhancement, Restoration, and Maintenance
Collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies, the SFI will help restore, construct, and maintain access sites along the SFSR.
Outreach and Education
Education, outreach, and community involvement is central to developing stewardship and support for the SFSR. The SFI will work with local schools, community groups, residents, and visitors to educate individuals about the amazing SFSR fishery, watershed, and ecosystem.
Supporting Organizations and Agencies
|Friends of the Teton River||Teton Valley Lodge|
|Greater Yellowstone Coalition||The Nature Conservancy|
|Henry's Fork Anglers||Three Rivers Ranch|
|Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game||Trout Unlimited|
|Jimmy's All Seasons Angler||U.S. Bureau of Land Management|
|Lodge at Palisades Creek||U.S. Bureau of Reclamation|
|Snake River Cutthroats||U.S. Forest Service|
|South Fork Lodge||Westbank Anglers|
|Teton Regional Land Trust||WorldCast Anglers|
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