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Top 10 for 2022

At the end of each year, the Henry's Fork Foundation (HFF) takes a moment to reflect back on some memorable events and accomplishments from the year. Here are 10 things we're grateful for in 2022. All of this work is made possible thanks to your support. Thank you!


1. Collaborative work makes "driest" year, average

2. Quantifying our impact for fish

3. $1 million grant

4. Understanding turbidity and sediment

5. Upper Henry's Fork PhD completed

6. Lower Henry's Fork PhD work saves water

7. Farms and Fish Program accomplishments

8. 25th Anniversary of the Don C. Byers Internship

9. Education and outreach events

10. Women's Fishing Day





1. Collaborative work makes "driest" year, average


Island Park Reservoir carryover (the amount of water left in the reservoir after irrigation season) ended Water Year 2022 at average, despite this being the driest water year in the upper Henry’s Fork sub-watershed since 1937! That would not have been possible without your support of water conservation and our collaborative efforts like Farms and Fish, Precision Water Management, and the lower Henry’s Fork PhD research.

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2. Quantifying our impact for fish


Water conservation -- via programs like Farms and Fish, Precision Water Management and the lower Henry's Fork PhD research -- has increased winter outflow from Island Park Dam by an average of 115 cfs since we began our efforts in 2018. This increased the number of two-year old fish entering the Box Canyon population by 775 (16%) in 2019, 855 (23%) in 2020, 310 (8%) in 2021, and 380 (13%) in 2022. Tracking these cohorts of fish through time, water conservation has increased the total population by 7% in 2019, 14% in 2020, 11% in 2021, and 21% in 2022. Even at the current level of water savings, the long-term average contribution to the population is 980 fish, which will increase the population by an average of 15% relative to pre-2018 levels.


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3. $1 million grant


HFF is a partner on a project that was awarded $1.1 million from the USBR WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Program! And our members helped us raise over $100,000 in much needed match to make the project a reality. This project at Conant Creek is expected save 2,850 acre-feet of water per year. The conserved water will increase flows in Conant Creek and Fall River during the irrigation season, helping decrease water temperatures there. Water conserved will also increase water in Island Park Reservoir in the late summer and early fall, which will help support the health of the reservoir and provide a supply of cool, oxygenated water to the reach of the Henry’s Fork below Island Park Dam, as well as thermal refuge for cold-water aquatic species within the reservoir.





4. Understanding turbidity and sediment


We now have a good understanding of how turbidity and sediment work in the late summer and fall and successfully predicted a minor event in September. Some significant advances in computing, data collection protocols, and analysis have allowed us to estimate sediment loads much more precisely and relate sediment dynamics between Island Park Dam and Riverside to hatches and angling experience. We now understand these things well enough to consider innovative management possibilities to reduce the impact of sediment transport out of Island Park Reservoir.


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5. Upper Henry's Fork PhD Completed


Seven years after Jack first came to the Henry's Fork as an intern with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, he is now "Dr. McLaren", having recently completed his Ph.D. in Ecology at Utah State University, with support from HFF and its members. Jack's dissertation built on his master's work, which found that rapid drawdown of Island Park Reservoir eliminates cold water at the bottom of the reservoir needed for survival of trout and Kokanee salmon. His Ph.D. research linked high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen in the reservoir during periods of drawdown to decreased numbers of Kokanee in the upper Henry's Fork and its tributaries. In addition, he discovered that aquatic plants in the river--while avoided by individual trout at the small scale--create a diversity of fish habitat and are the building blocks of the high productivity for which the Henry's Fork is famous.




6. Lower Henry's Fork PhD work saves water


It is not often that graduate research in water resources leads to improved management within the lifespan of a student's Ph.D. program, much less leads to positive outcomes in two different river reaches 60 miles away. As a result of Christina Morrisett's first year of research on the Henry's Fork downstream of St. Anthony in 2019, the Henry's Fork Drought Management Planning Committee moved the lower-Henry's Fork irrigation-season target flow location downstream a few miles to include the effect of all diversions on the river. The result was lower daily fluctuation in streamflow in the lower Henry's Fork during irrigation season, leading to more stable trout habitat there. In addition, this change has saved an annual average of 4,000 ac-ft of water in Island Park Reservoir since 2020, resulting in better trout and Kokanee habitat in the reservoir and an additional 17 cfs of winter flow in Box Canyon. Christina will complete her Ph.D. in Watershed Science this May.




7. Farms and Fish Program accomplishments


The Upper Snake Collaborative Farms and Fish Program is a partnership between HFF, Friends of the Teton River, Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy. In the midst of very tough climatic conditions, 2022 became a test of this program. Farms and Fish projects provide benefits not only to water conservation, but to improved soil health, reducing wind erosion and sediment runoff, and benefits to water quality. Nearly 4,500 acres of farmland joined a portfolio of programs consisting of winter wheat conversion, irrigation deferment, cover cropping, soil testing, soil moisture monitoring, irrigation scheduling, and satellite imagery. This year, the program conserved 2,300 acre-feet of Island Park Reservoir storage through diverse Farms & Fish Program agreements. The impact is additional trout in the river and hope for even larger conservation outcomes in the future.




8. 25th Anniversary of the Don C. Byers Internship


A core part of the internship program is the Don C. Byers Memorial Internship. Established in 1996 to honor the memory and legacy of Don C. Byers, this year marked the 25th anniversary of the Byers Internship. To honor the occasion, the Byers family, led by Don’s nephew Evan Byers, supported not one, but two interns, and made a $2,500 donation to a standout professor, Eric Billman, in the Wildlife and Fisheries program at BYU-Idaho.


All seven of the 2022 summer interns did a fantastic job with their independent projects and can be proud of what they accomplished.


  • Internship Program Review - Emma Doherty, St Lawrence University

  • Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Intensity and Frequency Over Time - Hannah Grace Galbreath, Washington and Lee University

  • Long Term Project Monitoring - Chloé Romero, Stanford University

  • Henry’s Fork Irrigation Practices - Chloe Perel, Brown University

  • Cataloging and Water Monitoring - Hailey Phillips, Brigham Young University – Idaho

  • South Fork Initiative Access Catalog - Abigail Lewis, Colgate University

  • Data Analysis and Water Quality Monitoring - Nathan Nadal, Brigham Young University – Idaho




9. Education and outreach events


HFF’s Education and Outreach Program hopes to connect the community and local students to their local watershed. This year, HFF continued to reach out to the community through a variety of programs, field days, and partnerships.


Just a few of these include:


  • Harriman Field Trip: Harriman State Park and HFF staff taught students from the Exploring Idaho class at Madison Jr High about conservation, water quality, and fish. Senior Scientist Rob Van Kirk spoke about water quality, macroinvertebrates, and how to interpret scientific graphs.

  • Youth on the Fly 2022: In August, 12 upcoming 6th graders from Ashton Elementary participated in Youth on the Fly! Students learned about macroinvertebrates, tied their own flies, learned how to cast, played engaging games, and practiced fishing the Warm River!

  • Rigby Cub Scouts: Also in August, HFF staff met with a Rigby Cub Scout group at the Buffalo Fish ladder to teach the scouts about water quality, the fish ladder, and conservation.



10. Women's Fishing Day


“Fishing is hope experienced…. catching a fish is hope affirmed…. a line in the water is hope extended.” Or, at least that’s what author Paul Quinnett once wrote. Nearly 30 ladies extended this hope and caught fly fishing fever at HFF’s first ever women's fishing day! Expert fly-fishing anglers Millie Paini (TroutHunter), Kris Millgate (Tight Line Media), and Steph Albano (Finatical Fly Fishing) graciously extended their years of experience during the morning sessions. Each of them is accomplished in their field and had many great stories and experiences to share. They covered topics such as fly-fishing gear and clothing, fly rod components and assembly, knot trying, and an introduction to different types of fishing flies. In the afternoon, the group took to the banks of the Warm River to practice casting, bank and wade fishing, and to enjoy a picturesque lunch.

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