Editor’s Note, June 6, 2017: The Flood of 2017 has brought to light many challenges the Big Wood River is facing. The Land Trust has been keenly aware of these issues, that’s why we led the way to have the Big Wood Watershed Assessment Study done and are currently fundraising to begin rehabilitation work.
The results of the study were first released to the public in the winter of 2016. Here is a rundown of the study, including downloads of the Full and General Summary of the report.
As part of the Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative, Wood River Land Trust, Trout Unlimited, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and other partners commissioned a watershed assessment of the Big Wood River from the North Fork to Magic Reservoir. The purpose of the watershed assessment was to understand the significant processes that have shaped the watershed and to develop restoration guidelines and management objectives. Biota Research and Consulting, Inc. (Jackson, WY) was contracted to complete the assessment.
There were four phases of the study:
- Characterizing the landscape setting throughout the watershed using aerial imagery and land use maps. Selecting sub-reaches for field investigation.
- Collecting field data for sub-reaches (specific sections of the river) and reference conditions (stable conditions with the same valley type, stream type, and vegetative type).
- Analyzing field data and stream stability throughout the system
- Interpreting findings, including recommendations of restoration treatments and priority conservation opportunities
This study and its findings can be used by individuals, property owners, land management agencies, cities and Blaine County, and organizations interested in the Big Wood River and its fishery. We hope that this assessment can become an underlying tool for river restoration and protection efforts for decades to come.
CLICK HERE FOR THE REPORT FIGURES AND MAPS (this is a 50 MB file)
Here are links to two web-based maps with spatial data related to the Big Wood River and the assessment.
The first provides full access to a subset of data from the assessment, as well as fisheries data and historical and current aerial imagery: http://trout.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Viewer/index.html?appid=03078677b13845f68499063a9ad17111
The second is a simple viewer showing aerial imagery the Big Wood in 1943 and now, allowing you to very easily swipe back and forth between the two time periods to see what the river looked like in Hemingway’s days compared to now:http://trout.maps.arcgis.com/apps/StorytellingSwipe/index.html?appid=8104e83ffe9d4e7b979a38c9d6ccce8d
The following interdisciplinary team designed the assessment and have been involved in its review and analysis:
- Biota Research and Design, Inc.: Ryan Colyer, Fluvial Morphologist and Fisheries Biologist
- Bureau of Land Management: Bryce Bohn, Hydrologist; Scott Hoefer, Fisheries Biologist
- Idaho Department of Fish and Game
- The Nature Conservancy Idaho: Mark Davidson, Director of Conservation Initiatives
- Trout Unlimited: Dan Dauwalter, PhD Fisheries Biologist; Kurt Fesenmeyer, GIS Analyst; Chad Chorney, Big Wood River Project Manager
- US Forest Service: Erika Phillips, Fisheries Biologist
- Wood River Land Trust: Scott Boettger, Executive Director; Keri York, Director of Conservation