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Temperature Monitoring in HSP: Let's Get the Summer Rolling!

The people have spoken

We have gotten a lot of feedback and concern regarding the temperature of the water affecting the trout in the Ranch. Thanks to Jon Hodge, we were able to put together a program that can hopefully give us a better idea of the impacts water temperature can have on the fish we hold dear to our hearts. This project will give us foundational data that can lead us towards insights into how the water temperature affects the ecosystem. So, how are we going to monitor the temperature in Harriman State Park and what foreseeable insights might we gain? These are the juicy questions I’d like to bite into.

Sensor set up and installation

We were able to get our hands on 18 temperature sensors that are pretty dang nifty. These HOBO MX pendant temp monitors from ONSET® are easy to configure and will send the data it collects straight to a smartphone with a simple push of a button! All we had to do was figure out a way to make sure they have a heavy protective housing. This ensures they stay grounded in one spot at the bottom of the river and do not get clogged up with silt, algae, and other debris as they are logging. With a simple design envisioned by our doctoral research associate and mastermind, Jack McLaren, we were able to put together a housing made from PVC pipe and angled iron as shown in the photo below. The iron also has a hole in it which allows the housing to be tethered down by a cable and a stake.

There will be different variations to the cable-stake setup depending on the location the logger is going. If it is a deep area we will need longer cable and different variables will determine where we put the stake. Ultimately, they will all have the same goal of giving us an accurate and precise reading of the area of river they are placed in. All together, these loggers should give us a good idea of the hourly temperature differences on the Henry’s Fork in Harriman State Park. What exactly can this data accomplish? Well that’s the fun part! This is what we will investigate for the rest of the summer. Still, we have some initial ideas.

The locations we have locked down for loggers are:

  • Last Chance Left (LCL) Installed

  • Last Chance Right (LCR) Installed

  • Blue Springs Creek (BC) Installed

  • Second Canal (SC) Installed

  • Antelope Creek (AC) Installed

  • Bonefish (BF) Installed

  • Millionaire’s Slough (MS) Installed

  • Millionaire’s (Mi) Installed

  • Silver Lake Outlet (SL) Installed

  • Osborne Bridge (OB) Installed

  • Canal Spring (CS) Installed

  • Osborne Springs (OS) Installed

  • Osborne Holes (OH)

  • Fish Pond Outlet (FP) Installed

  • Across Fish Pond (AFP)

  • Opposite Pinehaven (OP) Installed

More details on the locations of the loggers should be posted on our site with the data. This hasn’t gone live yet as the installation process will be finished tomorrow. Updates will follow as the site goes live and sampling progresses throughout the summer. Another thing to note: data collection will be easier than installation however it will still require an ample amount of time just to drive and hike to all the locations.

Jack McLaren putting in the work near Last Chance!

What's the point

The aim of this project is to bring a more comprehensive overview of the temperature differences in the river through Harriman State Park allowing us to use the data for a multitude of purposes. First and foremost, the data will be uploaded weekly to a site which will be presented in the form of a graph. Anglers can use this site to thoroughly monitor the river through the Ranch and make decisions about where to go and when to fish. The graphs will be easy to read and allow anglers to see when conditions are stressful for the fish. To accompany the graphs, we are planning on having a section that will allow users to look at the locations of each site on a map with images, coordinates, and a site description. The site will also incorporate past data that has been recorded at some of the locations in Harriman to give us an idea of how river temperature in certain areas has fluctuated since the early 2000s. Plus, we will be able to use this data as a foundation for further investigating the dynamic of Henry’s Fork as it runs through Harriman.

Some possible areas we could investigate include:

  • Understanding how the temp of the Henry’s Fork influences hatches and the diversity of macroinvertebrates

  • Seeing if managed aquifer recharge could be a viable option to increase cool water refugia for the fish throughout the summer

  • Get an idea of how the river’s temperature has fluctuated over the years and if HFF’s previous efforts have had any influence on river temperatures.

Even Boss Man Brandon Hoffner getting in on the fun!

What you can do

If this project piques your interest and you would like to get involved, we would be more than happy for the company! We want to give anglers and river goers the opportunity to help out with this project. In our eyes, this is a community project that should be open to anyone venturing into Harriman State Park. Having well acquainted anglers tag along during this project would help us get a more holistic picture of what’s going on in Harriman.

I will be finishing up the installations tomorrow but will be back in Harriman collecting data weekly. Mondays and Tuesdays are when I plan to go out so if there is time in your schedule please click the link to sign up for volunteering.

Volunteer signup site:

Last remarks

We understand that putting anything in the river takes away from its natural beauty so we are doing our best to make sure our loggers are as inconspicuous as possible and have a sign next to them to let people know why they are there. Some of them have to be placed in areas that are more noticeable than others in order to get a precise estimate of the area of the river. If you see one of our signs or loggers out there, please leave them be! They don’t eat fish or harm the insect population, I promise. If you have an issue with where one of them is placed please reach out to us and hopefully we can get it all sorted.

If you see me out there, feel free to say hi and ask me what I'm up to!

Thank you for taking the time to get a feel for our new project and we hope to see you out on the river with a big fish at the end of your line!

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