A diverse group of 35 people attended the annual field trip of the Henry’s Fork Watershed Council on August 13. The field day focused on a discussion of issues relevant to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Henry’s Fork Basin Study. The tour focused on two primary themes—irrigation canal seepage and management of storage water. The day started and ended with discussions of canal seepage, the bad and the good. Tour participants viewed a recent project on the North Branch Marysville Canal east of Ashton, where the old canal has been replaced with a more efficient pipeline, saving money and water. At the end of the day, the tour visited sites on the North Fork Teton and lower Henry’s Fork where canal seepage is a good thing, providing groundwater inputs to the river that benefit irrigators and fish. The take-home message was that prescriptions for optimal water management must be made on a site-specific basis, taking into account local physical, biological, and water-use factors.
Visits to Ashton Dam, the end of the Crosscut Canal, and the North Fork Teton allowed participants to learn about potential enlargement of Ashton Reservoir, delivery of storage water from the Henry’s Fork into the Teton River, and technical aspects of separating storage water and natural flow in water-rights accounting. The need to replace Ora Bridge was also discussed.
The Henry’s Fork Watershed Council is co-facilitated by HFF and Fremont-Madison Irrigation District. Regular monthly meetings of the Council resume in September.
Contributed by Rob Van Kirk, HFF's Senior Scientist. To learn more about the Henry's Fork Watershed Council, email us.