For the sixth year Idaho Trout Unlimited presents the top ten stories affecting trout, salmon and steelhead and their watersheds in Idaho. You can find the previous top ten here for 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009. There are always a lot of wild trout tales out there and we try to feature some from around the state. This year we see much good work going on at the local level.
1. The shiny object of a record Snake River Sockeye Salmon adult return in 2014 grabbed headlines and pushed out any discussion of the chronic low numbers of the Snake River spring and summer chinook salmon, which have more high quality habitat than any other Columbia River salmon run, yet are upstream of the eight Federal dams. Still lots of empty rooms in the five star hotels that the central Idaho backcountry represents to anadromous fish.
2. Idaho’s fabled Silver Creek is poised for the future thanks to completion of the Kilpatrick Pond restoration project. Check out this video:
3. Federal water managers manipulate August flows in the South Fork of the Boise River to help move sediment in the tailwater section of the South Fork downstream of Anderson Ranch Dam. The South Fork has been on the receiving end of massive amounts of sediment from post-wildfire debris flows in 2013 and 2014.
4. Restoration of the Coeur d’Alene Basin and its fish and wildlife habitat took steps forward, including completion of an important demonstration project on the Coeur d’Alene River.
5. The Bear River Narrows hydroelectric project will not go away. Opposition to this project, that includes a large cross section of society, is still organized and commenting on the idea.
6. Check out this cool video of habitat restoration of the Yankee Fork, trees being placed in the stream by chainsaw, heavy equipment and chopper! This project is a cooperative effort of many parties: Salmon-Challis National Forest, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, US Bureau of Reclamation and Trout Unlimited.
The Yankee Fork work is part of the larger efforts in the Upper Salmon River basin as described here.
7. Clark Fork Delta restoration makes a big step forward with completion of work this fall. There are many partners involved in this initiative.
8. A pure strain of native redband trout live in Dry Creek, just a few miles from Idaho State Capitol. In December the city of Boise announced a new agreement to protect the watershed and trail use, including improvement of stream crossings, all of which will help this isolated population of native trout thrive.
9. After the wildfire of 2013 near Ketchum and Hailey meant erosion and other impacts to the Big Wood River, Trout Unlimited and the Wood River Land Trust announced in 2014 an initiative to improve habitat on the Big Wood River.
10. The lower Boise River received some attention and will continue to in the future as the city of Boise updated its Master Plan for the Boise River.