Currently, the river channel below Magic Dam has only marginal flows for much of the year. During the spring and summer irrigation seasons, the Big Wood Canal Company releases water from the reservoir into the river for diversion into the Richfield Canal system. However, once the irrigation season ends, no water is released. With the exception of runoff and groundwater seepage, river flow is minimal to non-existent for much of the year. The small flows during spring and fall spawning periods significantly affect successful reproduction of trout in the river below the Dam.
The Land Trust is working with the Big Wood Canal Company and other partners to find innovative ways to conserve water in the irrigation system below Magic Reservoir, while providing sufficient year-round flows for fish and the river ecosystem. The goal is to provide more water for both the fishery and agricultural uses.
The Land Trust and Trout Unlimited volunteers are continuing to collect data in this section of the Big Wood River to substantiate a prior study that will provide a clear picture of how much water needed to protect this world-class fishery.