Big Wood River Below Magic
Trout Unlimited in partnership with the Wood River Land Trust is working on a solution to the problem of maintaining year round water flows on the Big Wood River below Magic Reservoir.
In good water years, more fish survive, but in low water years the water is shut off as early as July, resulting in significant fish kill. Thousands of large rainbow and brown trout, many over 18” die due to lack of water. TU has been working on solutions to this problem for 8 years.
We continue to work on creative solutions to obtain a permanent year round water source for this unique ecosystem and fishery.
Over the past years we have collected water quality information on this portion of the Big Wood River in the spring, summer and fall.
We continue to be optimistic and are working with water users to try and find a win-win solution for this problem. We will keep you updated as changes occur.
BWR Home Waters Initiative
The Big Wood River is part of the TU National Home Rivers Initiative.
The Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative seeks to take advantage of a supportive local angling community and our long history of restoration success to restore the full wild trout potential of the Big Wood. Our objective is to both restore fish populations and the habitat they need, and to educate landowners that live along the banks of the river and its tributaries about how to protect and steward those unique resources. Home Rivers Initiatives are national programs that place a full-time staff member in a watershed to live and work with and within the local community and bring TU’s scientific, policy, grassroots and legal expertise to bear on watershed- scale restoration and protection.
Keri York , Big Wood River Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org is the TU’s full time staff person working on the goals of the initiative and is working out of an office in Hailey.
As is common to all of TU’s conservation work we do not hope to accomplish our goals alone. The list of project partners is long and growing. These partners in the Wood River Valley include: Idaho Fish and Game, The Nature Conservancy, The Wood River Land Trust, Hemingway Chapter of TU , Silver Creek Outfitters, private landowners and Idaho Department of Water Resources.
In February, 2016, a Geomorphic assessment of the Big Wood River was completed and presented to the public. This study is combined with other studies on fish populations and entomology of the Big Wood River. Below is a definition of what a Geomorphic assessment is about.
The Role of Watershed Assessments in River Restoration
By: Dan Dauwalter, Ph.D., Trout Unlimited, Boise, Idaho
The way a stream or river looks when you’re standing on the bank or while fishing reflects what is going on in the watershed, both on land and in tributary streams. Streams and rivers naturally transport water, sediments (coarse and fine), and organic materials (wood and leaves). As these as are transported downstream they interact with the stream channel, banks, and floodplain, and these interactions determine how the river looks in character – this look is commonly referred to as a river’s morphology. Since river morphology is influenced by its watershed, it also reflects human activities far from and adjacent to the river.
We often seek to restore rivers to ameliorate some of the problems we see in them due to human activities. Sometimes these problems are obvious like severe streambank erosion, but sometimes these problems are more subtle, such as when there are small changes in the streambed elevation due to changes in sediment supply. In the past, river restoration was often done in a haphazard fashion. That is, someone noticed an obvious problem and tried to fix it without a broader understanding what was causing the problem in the first place. Today, river restoration is often done by first by understanding the issues with a river and their cause before implementing any restoration projects. A common starting point in large-scale river restoration programs, therefore, is conducting a science-based watershed assessment.
Watershed assessments completed to aid river restoration planning typically have a strong focus on geomorphology and hydrology because of their strong influence on aquatic habitats and fisheries. One common assessment methodology is the Watershed Assessment of River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS; Rosgen 2006). The WARSSS methodology is a multi-stepped process focused on identifying land use impacts to sediment imbalances and river stability. The assessment outcome is the identification of risks and consequences of altered sediment supply and river channel instability – two factors import to the natural functioning of river systems. Of course the natural functioning of river systems impact aquatic habitats, aquatic life, and ecosystem function. These connections between what is happening in the watershed, river function, aquatic habitats, and aquatic life are what drive the health of trout fisheries in rivers like the Big Wood River
Loving Creek Fish Ladder and Revegitation Project
“On Saturday, May 17th, the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited partnered with RBC Wealth Management employees, and TU staffer Chad Chorney, to re-vegetate a recent fish passage project on Loving Creek. During the fall of 2013, a fish ladder and bypass channel were constructed on Loving Creek (tributary to Silver Creek) where a migration barrier existed, allowing for fish passage of all age-classes of trout. The fish passage will provide access to upstream spawning and rearing habitat for adult trout, and will enable juvenile trout to migrate to nursery areas within the watershed.
TU and RBC volunteers planted approximately 600 individual native sedges, cut and planted native willows along sensitive riparian corridors, and spread native seed along disturbed upland areas. Re-vegetation on restoration projects is critical, and these efforts can’t be accomplished without assistance from volunteers. Thank you to the RBC employees and Hemingway chapter volunteers that helped make this project a success!’