TU GOES TO WORK FOR IDAHO STREAMS
Each year, mile by mile, streams in Idaho are being restored. Trout Unlimited local chapters across Idaho are part of a larger community of interests who see the value of functioning streams, with robust populations of fish and wildlife. It is the quality of life in Idaho that we seek to protect and to restore.
This section of the web site will begin with the latest efforts of Idaho Trout Unlimited. As you continue to read you will be traveling back into the history of ITU. We can date the following projects as being started or completed prior to the end of 2001. We start with three projects that Trout Unlimited national office funded in 1998 through the Embrace-A-Stream (EAS) Grant program.
Palisades Creek, Upper Snake River Cutthroats Chapter - $5,000 provided by TU's EAS grant program will assist in efforts to insure the-long term protection of native trout, the Snake River finespot cutthroat. Actions to be taken include the installation of a new upstream migrant fish ladder (which allows fish to pass dams unharmed) and other instruments designed to permit fish to travel safely and more naturally above and below obstructing dams. The project will prevent fragmentation of the existing population, and ensure the fish can move freely from spawning and rearing areas to the main river.
North Fork Ranger District of the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Upper Snake River Cutthroats Chapter - For the past 12 years dedicated volunteers from the Upper Snake Cutts have traveled to the North Fork Ranger District near Salmon to implement stream restoration projects. In April 1999 the work was focused on more than 30 sites along lower Indian and Squaw Creeks, adjacent to the Ranger Station near Shoup, and just upstream of the Frank Church wilderness. Volunteers have witnessed steelhead running up Indian Creek the past several years.
Lochsa River, Nez Perce Chapter - $3,300 from TU's EAS goes to Nez Perce Chapter to conduct genetic testing to assess the relationship between resident bull trout populations and migratory populations. Testing will provide insight into the Lochsa River bull trout. It will help determine the extent of impacts on bull trout by other trout populations.
Keno Creek, Idaho Panhandle Chapter - TU's EAS has granted $5,000 to be used for road obliteration projects that will restore passage and habitat for westslope cutthroat and bull trout. The fish are currently being threatened by unstable road crossings and unstable road fills in Panhandle National Forest. The Idaho Panhandle Chapter will remove 16 road crossings, preventing further sedimentation and road failures that could expose fisheries downstream to tons of sediment.
Two EAS Grants from Trout Unlimited were awarded in Idaho in 1999. Here they are.
Twin Creek, Panhandle Chapter - TU is working with a private landowner, Idaho Fish and Game and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Twin Creek. The Idaho Panhandle Chapter was awarded a $10,000 EAS grant to restore habitat for threatened bull trout. Habitat has been damaged in the past by agricultural practices that transformed this spawning and rearing habitat to cattle grazing pasture.
The $10,000 EAS grant will be supplemented with funds from Avista as part of the mitigation for the two lower Clark Fork dams. The FWS will contribute design funds, and IDFG personnel will assist with planning and implementation, and the private owner will supply equipment and equipment operators. -The Twin Creek project is currently underway. We had the opportunity to visit the site in its early stages. In areas the stream is being enhanced and relocated to its original position. This is one of the larger stream rehabilitation projects taking place in the Pacific Northwest. The Panhandle chapter is proud of the fact that because of its efforts we have brought together a private landowner, Idaho Fish and Game and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to restore Twin Creek. With everyone working together it looks as though we will be able to chalk a few points up for the Bull Trout.
Henry's Fork Flat Ranch, Idaho State Council - The Idaho State Council of Trout Unlimited received $7,500 to help conserve critical cold water from Twin Creek, a tributary to the upper portion of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. The upper Henry's Fork flows through the Flat Ranch, upstream of Island Park Reservoir. Water from Twin Creek had previously been diverted for cattle grazing purposes and the cold water was warmed prior to entering the Henry's Fork. By piping only the water necessary to water cattle and allowing the main stream to flow directly to the Henry's Fork, the cold water is preserved for fish. The Flat Ranch was acquired by the Nature Conservancy earlier this decade, and remains a working ranch. River conditions, however, will change dramatically as a different grazing system, critical fencing construction and placement, and riparian planting will help restore this stretch of the watershed.
Several other stream projects of significance have been occurring across Idaho this year.
Colburn Creek, Idaho Panhandle Chapter - Crown Pacific Lumber and Idaho Fish and Game joined TU for a common goal of improving fish and wildlife habitat on the site of the former Crown Pacific sawmill north of Samuels by removing impediments to fish migrating up Colburn Creek and installing fish ladders. A small dam used by the mill and a culvert near it were removed, and a fish ladder was constructed from rock. Since the dam was constructed in the 1940s, fish have been unable to make it upstream. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 17 to celebrate the reopening of the upstream migratory routes.
Little Wood River, Magic Valley Fly Fishers - The MVFF have a contract with the Jerome IDFG Regional office to take care of the "Bear Track Williams" catch and release section of the Little Wood River. Club members removed several thousand feet of old barbed wire fencing over the past couple of years.
Silver Creek (Middle Fork Payette), Trueblood Chapter - Volunteers from TU joined the Emmett Ranger District and Boy Scout Troop 97 to begin work on the Silver Creek Riparian Restoration Project. Volunteers rehabilitated damaged and eroded stream banks in the Silver Creek Plunge area, about 25 miles north of Crouch. The Ted Trueblood Chapter will continue to work with the Boise National Forest on this stream restoration project in 2000.
Little Salmon River, Reed Gillespie Chapter - Riparian improvements along the Little Salmon River and tributaries like Mud Creek were completed using TU volunteers, TU contributed funds, and other funding sources including proceeds from litigation damages won by IDFG from a hazardous materials spill in the late 1980s.
Bear Valley Creek, Ted Trueblood Chapter - Years of continued restoration projects in Bear Valley Creek have reached the point where riparian recovery and improved stream conditions are becoming evident.
Three projects have been submitted to TU national for the 2000 grant funding cycle of the Embrace-A-Stream Program. Decisions will be made this spring on these proposals.
Bear Valley Creek Research, Ted Trueblood Chapter and Boise National Forest - The Lowman Ranger District of the Boise National Forest wants to study migratory habits of westslope cutthroats in the Bear Valley Creek system. EAS funding would help pay for radio tags to be inserted in adult cutts. The fish would then be tracked from the air to determine where westslope cutthroats range in the upper Middle Fork Salmon River in central Idaho.
Harris Ranch Restoration Project, Ted Trueblood Chapter - A project of high public visibility on the East End of Boise has been granted EAS funding. The Trueblood Chapter is cooperating with the land owner and developers, IDFG and Boise City Parks Department in proposing a suite of restoration projects, including side channels to the Boise River, and stream and wetland restoration of two tributaries which flow through the area. The project is identified as a high priority project in the Boise River Resource Management and Master Plan, recently adopted by the Boise City Council. When completely funded, this project will be one of the most significant urban watershed and fisheries habitat restoration projects of Trout Unlimited in the nation.
IDAHO TROUT UNLIMITED