For those following House Bill 496, here is a brief review and update. The concern, as brought to our attention by the Friends of Harriman State Park, is that House Bill 496 could potentially violate the Harriman Gift Agreement (HGA, or "Agreement") condition that requires the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation staff be chosen based on merit. House Bill 496 would shift the authority to appoint the directors of the departments of Parks and Recreation, Transportation, and Corrections from a Board to the Governor of Idaho. The Idaho State Attorney General has reviewed the bill and has released a legal opinion stating that the bill does not violate the Harriman Gift Agreement. However, as with most legal matters, other opinions are possible. The bill is currently in General Orders where House members will work together until there is a majority consensus to amend it, move it, or vote on it. Because other legal opinions may differ on whether the bill violates the Agreement, we think it prudent that the bill be amended to remove all reference to the Department of Parks and Recreation. If You'd Like to Get Involved If you are a resident of Idaho, you may contact your representatives directly by phone or email to
About Henrys Fork FoundationThis author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Henrys Fork Foundation has created 63 blog entries.
Over the month of February, water-year precipitation improved from 93% of average to 98% of average, and snow-water equivalent improved from 96% of average to 101% of average. Mean outflow from Island Park Dam over the December-February time period most critical for survival of juvenile trout was 509 cfs, 147% of average and the highest since the winter of 2011-2012. Streamflow throughout the watershed remained above average at most locations. Good precipitation + cold temperatures = improved snowpack February 2018 started out very warm, cooled to near average in the middle of the month, and closed with the coldest 11-day period of the winter. Averaged over the whole month, temperature was 2 degrees F below the 30-year average. Graph of watershed-averaged temperature. Precipitation during February was above average in the upper Henry’s Fork, well above average in the Fall River subwatershed, near average in the Teton subwatershed, and well below average in the valleys. As a result, water-year precipitation improved from 93% of average to 98% of average over the month. This has increased to 101% of average over the first three days of March. Graph of water-year precipitation as a percent of average. Snow-water-equivalent (SWE) accumulation followed the same
The Henry’s Fork Watershed Council, as well as the larger water-management community in Idaho, lost long-time participant Stan Clark, who passed away in his sleep on February 9 at age 89. Stan at a Henry's Fork Watershed Council meeting in 1995. Stan grew up on the family farm south of Ashton, where he subsequently farmed, ranched, and raised his family. Active in water management until the day he passed, Stan participated in the Watershed Council since its inception in 1993 and was a former member of the Committee of Nine, the advisory body for Water District 01. He also served as Chair of the Marysville Ditch Company and was appointed in 2000 by then-Governor Dirk Kempthorne as liaison between the governor’s office and the Idaho Department of Water Resources. More recently, Stan was active in the Eastern Idaho Water Rights Coalition and served on the board of Recharge Development Corporation. Stan was known for his thoughtful, respectful, and insightful input at Watershed Council meetings and other venues. Always an optimist, Stan brought a smile, years of experience, and humorous accounts of earlier days to every meeting. I knew Stan for over 20 years and considered him a mentor. Stan’s
It’s no secret that 2018 has been much warmer than we’re used to (in January, 5 degrees F warmer than normal across the whole watershed and as high as 7 degrees F above average in Island Park). At the same time, HFF has been reporting SWE (snow-water equivalent) numbers at 96% of average at the end of January (as high as 103% of average this past week), above average streamflow, and near average precipitation across the watershed (not to mention 111% of average Jan. precipitation at Island Park). If you’re looking out your window in Island Park right now, you’re probably wondering, “How is that possible?” Here’s the deal. This is a good news, bad news situation. The short version is: 1) we’re concerned about early runoff on the Fall and Teton Rivers (what’s so special about those two?); but 2) there is a good amount of moisture up high (that SWE number) AND 3) these high winter flows and warm temps are just about the most ideal conditions you could ask for in terms of overwintering survival of juvenile trout (READ: we should have a banner recruitment year in 2019). Let’s work through this in chronological order.
Over the month of January, water-year precipitation increased from 87% of average to 93% of average, and snow-water-equivalent increased from 89% of average to 96% of average. Streamflow throughout the watershed was generally above average, including outflow from Island Park Reservoir, which, at 508 cfs, was 134% of average and the highest since the winter of 2011-2012. The only negative aspect of the current water situation is that January was much warmer than average, limiting snow accumulation at lower elevations and setting up the snowpack to melt early and rapidly. A complete guide to the climate and streamflow stations referenced in this blog and my daily water reports is available here. If you would like to receive the daily reports via email, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. January was very warm but generally wet The month of January was very warm, 5 degrees F warmer than normal across the whole watershed. Monthly mean temperature was at least 4 degrees warmer than the 30-year average at all 12 stations I track and as high as 7 degrees above average at Island Park. Pine Creek Pass and Crab Creek stations set new record high monthly mean temperatures. Monthly average temperature at Pine
As the climate warms and water availability becomes more uncertain, the future of wild trout fisheries in the Henry’s Fork depends critically on science-based management that ensures favorable streamflow, good water quality, and a positive fishing experience. Over the past three years, HFF has expanded a small but successful research program run by two full-time staff, with assistance from seasonal technicians and interns, into comprehensive programs in hydrology, water-quality, fisheries biology, and social science, each staffed by a full-time professional and supported year-round by technicians, interns, and graduate students. HFF’s newly developed predictive computer models of snowmelt, streamflow, irrigation demand and reservoir storage provide river users and water managers with up-to-date water-supply information every morning. HFF’s water-quality director has written extensive computer code to process and analyze nearly 2 million individual data points collected each year by our network of automated water-quality sensors. We have recently increased the utility of this network by using the latest high-tech hardware and software to transmit real-time water-quality data from the river to a central server and web site. HFF’s fisheries biologist not only continues long-term operation of fish passage facilities but also uses modern statistical methods to model trout population dynamics and assess
For the past three 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 2017. Before you dive in, you can also take a look back at HFF's Top 10 for 2014, 2015, and 2016. HFF's Top 10 -- 2017 10. Total Solar Eclipse 9. State-wide summit comes to Ashton 8. Science program reprsented at three professional meetings and other local, regional, and national venues 7. Mike Beus and Dale Swensen retire after a combined 70 years in water management 6. Creel and Economic Value Survey conducted on the Henry's Fork and Fall River 5. Harriman Canal Restoration Project - Phase 1 Complete 4. Record year for Youth on the Fly 3. Sonde automation moved from concept to successful testing 2. Your new Community Campus 1. Celebrating a good water year HFF’s Top-10 List 2017 10. Total Solar Eclipse – No 2017 highlight list in eastern Idaho would be complete without mention of the total solar eclipse, which occurred on Monday, August 21 and was the first total eclipse visible in the continental United States since 1979. The southern half of the Henry’s Fork watershed fell within the
December precipitation was only 51% of average across the Henry's Fork watershed. However, water year-to-date precipitation and snow-water-equivalent are at 87% and 89% of average, respectively. And, thanks to above-average precipitation during water year 2017, the upper Snake River reservoir system is 87% full, and winter streamflow is above average. Long-range forecasts call for average to above-average precipitation for the remainder of the winter, so the overall water-supply outlook remains good as we head into the New Year. December 2017: Slightly warm and very dry December was a little warm but very dry throughout the Henry's Fork watershed. Thanks to extended periods of high-pressure temperature inversions, valley stations were 0-2 degrees F cooler than average, while high elevations were 2-4 degrees warmer. Averaged over the watershed, December turned out to be 2 degrees warmer than average. Meanwhile, precipitation for the month was only 52% of average over the watershed, ranging from 48% of average in the Teton subwatershed to 67% in the valleys. New SWE accumulation for the month was 51% of average, ranging from 45% of average in Fall River subwatershed to 55% of average in the Upper Henry's Fork subwatershed. However, thanks to a wet November, water year-to-date
Each of the last two years at this time, I have reported on the 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 December 4, I added month 36 to the current streak. Statistics Catch: 79 Rainbow Trout, 37 Brown Trout, 10 Mountain Whitefish, 4 cutthroat-rainbow hybrids, 3 Cutthroat Trout, and 1 sucker (fair-hooked on a weighted rubberlegs) Hours fished: 58 Catch rate: 2.31 fish/hr Smallest fish: 4-inch Rainbow Trout on a Hemingway Caddis, April 22 Largest fish: 23-inch Brown Trout on a Parachute Adams, July 5 Additional time on the river: 14 hours of rowing the boat so others could enjoy our local fishing, plus 47 hours of research and restoration field work Time spent on the Henry’s Fork and tributaries this year for work and fishing combined: 99 hours Number of hours spent in water- and fisheries-management meetings, helping to ensure that we all continue to
Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate summit held at Henrys’ Fork Foundation Community Campus
Earlier in November, the Henry’s Fork Watershed Council hosted a satellite location of Safeguarding Idaho’s Economy in a Changing Climate, a two-day a summit held November 16th and 17th. Invited speakers represented a broad sample of private businesses, public agencies, tribes, and NGOs in Idaho from Simplot and HP to the EPA and Idaho Dept. of Lands to Trout Unlimited. See the complete list of speakers here. Speakers gathered in Boise and their presentations were live-streamed to three organized satellite locations in Pocatello (Idaho State University), Moscow (University of Idaho), and Ashton (Henry’s Fork Foundation). Absorbing the broad perspectives provided by the presenters in Boise was only half of what the summit offered! The last 2-3 hours of each day were devoted to breakout sessions where summit participants at all four locations focused on some aspect of Idaho’s economy that has been and will likely continue to be affected by climate change. The breakout sessions utilized a concept called Human Centered Design to create and prototype solutions to safeguard Idaho’s economy in a changing climate. Human Centered Design is a highly structured process that allows a diverse group of people to incrementally work toward designing solutions toward a common goal