July: Each summer at the Glendale Diversion the Canal company create a earth dam across the Big Wood River and divert water down the Glendale diversion, leaving the Big Wood river Dry. During this time many torut get stranded in the larger holes and eventually die. This year the hemingway chapter of TU managed to rescue 475, wild rainbow and brown trout and put them back in the Big wood river abouve the diversion. Some fish as large as 15″. While it is not a large number of fish these are 475 wild fish that will survive to reproduce and keep the native trout populations healthy.
Also in July, our chapter attempted a fish on the Big Wood River rescue below Magic reservoir. The dates the water shutoff were changed and consequently we had to reschedule the rescue. We waited for 24 hrs after the water was to be shut off were changed and the water still too high when we attempted the rescue even though we waited 24 hrs. . The previous year after 24 hrs the fish were dying and pelicans were eating the dead Trout. It is stil uncertain why the water receeded at a much slower rate than last year. We were not successful in rescing any fish, we did however make a step forward. IDGF confined the fish salvage to below the Tressle on the river instead of allowing salvage on the whole river. This meant many fish would still survive if they were able to get to one of the deep holes in the river. TU and the Wood River Land Trust arecontinue to try working with water users to secure water for the Big Wood River below Magic year round.
October: This fall created some interesting challenges with Fish Rescues. With our new Fish Rescue trailer built and ready to go to work, many of the diversions were not in shape to do rescues. We had the usual last minute notices and date changes but TU voluteers readiliy strepped up to work hard at these rescues. Unfortunately some rescues had to be cancelled becasue the water levels water levels were too high, this was a result of a breach in the Distict 45 headgate (@ Howard Preserve) and a debris jam on the canal below Glendale Road. Still we managed to save approx 500 trout from the Starweather diversion on the Big Wood River and a holding pond on Trail creek. Most of these fish were in the reproduciton range one measured17 inches. Thanks to Chad Chorney, Eric Eberhart, John Finnell, Ed Northen, Marsh Pettygrove and Dave Spaulding for participating in these rescues.. In additon thanks to Ed Cutter, Wood Friedander, Bob Knoebel, Carmen Northen and Alan Richardson who showed up to help on the days the rescues were cancelled.
On August 9th 2013, the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited conducted a fish rescue at the District 45 diversion in Bellevue. Normally the diversion is not closed until later in the year but a repair needed to be done so the canal gate was closed stranding many trout. Volunteers had to be rallied on a moments notice and concerned TU members responded to the rescue. Nine volunteers, Chad Chorney and Mark Davidson, TU Staff and Doug MeGargle from Idaho Fish and Game, rescued approximately 3,500 trout from the canal and returned them to the Big Wood River. The water level in the canal was pretty high making the rescue more difficult. A Electro shocker provided by Idaho Fish and Game made the rescue much more successful. We will be conducing more rescues as the summer and fall progress.
In September: Volunteers from the Hemingway Chapter, anglers from the RR , local Guides and Idaho Fish and Game Transferred over 1500 trout from the Purdy pond area into RR section of Silver Creek. The transfer was necessitated because of the restoration project taking place on the pond which includes, dredging and creating channels in the former pond area, building of islands, removal of the old dam and replacement with a new dam which will allow for a fish passage and have the ability to release water from below and over the top of the dam. This project will provide cooler water temperatures which were dangerously high, allow for fish migration through sections of Silver Creek and mitigates issues of silt which have collected. After the Fish Transfer a delicious lunch was provided to the volunteers by Bud Purdy.
If you are interested in helping out on with a fish rescue please send an email to:R. Chad Chorney | Trout Unlimited, Southern Idaho Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org (Ph) 208-420-4096, this will allow us to place you on the rescue list.
Big Wood River Below Magic
Trout Unlimited in partnership with the Wood River Land Trust have are working on a solution to the problem of maintain year round water flows on the Big Wood River below Magic Reservoir.
We had been working on a solution for over 3 years and thought an agreement had been reached unfortunately this did not come to fruition, when the Big Wood Canal Company stepped back from the agreement. Disastrously this setback occurred in a year with a very warm and dry spring, less than normal snow pack and Magic Reservoir being at the lowest levels since it was built, due to a required repair. The result was a significant fish kill with thousands of large Rainbow and brown Trout, many over 18” dying in this magnificent fishery.
We continue to work on creative solutions to obtain a permanent year round water source for this unique ecosystem and fishery.
Volunteers are needed to help collect water quality information on this portion of the Big Wood River this summer and fall. The monitoring, including travel time, takes about 4 hrs. Some of us make a day of it and include some fishing somewhere. The monitoring is a simple procedure and we will train you.
To volunteer, contact Chad Stoesz at Wood River Land Trust 788-3947 or email@example.com or Ed Northen, 949-246-9372 firstname.lastname@example.org
BWR Home Waters Initiative
The Big Wood river is part of 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.
R. Chad Chorney, Southern Idaho Project Manager email@example.com 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 Febuary 2016 A Geomorphic assesment 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 definiton 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!’