The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Montana Department of Environmental Quality have issued a joint notice advising plans currently being considered by the District Engineer at Omaha, Nebraska.  According to the notice NOW-2008-02556-MTB the applicant is intending to “conduct periodic placement of rock” on the existing diversion dam and to enable full flows to the applicant even in the event of severe water shortages in the Yellowstone.

The project reach at Intake Dam east of Glendive, Montana is occupied habitat for Pallid Sturgeon, an endangered species presently under federal and state protections.  According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:  “It’s present range in Montana includes the Lower Yellowstone River where damming, channelizing and diking has destroyed much of its habitat.”  More http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/species/endangered/pallidSturgeon/

Photo below of the dam on the Yellowstone River at Intake proposed for yet more rock.

Dam across Yellowstone-IntakeMT

Read a copy of the Public Notice:  NWO-2008-02556-MTB or via

http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Portals/23/docs/regulatory/publicnotices/MT/NWO-2008-02556-MTB.pdf

The Public Comment period is open through June 6, 2014 by writing the US Army Corps of Engineers, PO Box 2256, Billings MT 59103 or calling direct to Cathy Juhas at USACE (406) 657-5910.

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Following major floods in January 2014 Marina Pacheco, the chief executive of the UK Mammal Society, recommended that the UK Government promote beaver reintroductions as a means of reducing flood risk in the future.

“Restoring the beaver to Britain’s rivers would bring huge benefits in terms of flood alleviation. These unpaid river engineers would quickly re-establish more natural systems that retain water behind multiple small dams across tributaries and side-streams. As a consequence the severity of flooding further downstream would be greatly reduced, at no cost to the taxpayer,” wrote Pacheco.

This regulation in river flow may also help reduce flooding and bankside erosion downstream according to the biofresh blog http://biofreshblog.com/2014/04/18/beavers-ecological-stress-and-river-restoration/

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A recent New York Times Opinion piece by Yvon Chouinard titled “Tear Down ‘Deadbeat’ Dams,” rightly questions the values and highlights the environmental risks associated with dams, underlining that the benefits “for water use, flood control and electricity – can now be met more effectively without continuing to choke entire watersheds.”

He goes on to say that: “Of the more than 80,000 dams listed by the federal government, more than 26,000 pose high or significant safety hazards. Many no longer serve any real purpose.” For Chouinard, an adventurer and founder of Patagonia, this has long been an important issue.  “I’ve been working to take down dams for most of my life.  The idea, once considered crazy, is gaining momentum.”  >Read On

 

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DumbellRanchMitigationBank.CopyrightTHI2012Trout Headwaters, Inc is pleased to announce the approval of the first mitigation bank in the history of Wyoming and sponsored by Sweetwater River Conservancy, LLC.  Following on publication of the state’s first Stream Mitigation Procedure (SMP), the Dumbell Ranch Mitigation Bank has received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, WY Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming Department of Game and Fish and the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office.

“This first bank represents a very significant step for advance mitigation in the state and we expect will facilitate increasing restoration efforts across a potentially vast landscape,” said Trout Headwaters’ President, Michael Sprague.

The 1047 acre Stream, Riparian and Wetland Bank will provide credits for an area spanning north of  Rawlins, Wyoming.   The bank will provide credits to offset impacts to palustrine emergent wetlands, riverine wetlands, stream channels, and riparian areas. Prior to THI’s assessment of the property in 2012, the ranch had been used exclusively for cattle grazing and hay production.  As a result of the practices, the stream banks and buffers as well as wetlands had been destroyed or significantly degraded.  Approved plans include restoration of these resources using sustainable techniques and the long-term conservation of these restored resources.

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State of the Markets CoverTrout Headwaters, in conjunction with the National Mitigation Banking Association is pleased to release its annual “State of the Markets” Report for 2014 showing trends in Wetland Mitigation Banking over the period from 2000-2013 with updated data provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  This concise report is available only to THI clients and partners interested in the latest statistics and trends for the growing industry.  To request a copy by email info@troutheadwaters.com

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A recent report from The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provides a detailed glimpse into the positive economic impacts resulting from environmental restoration activities. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program has contributed $18.6 million to local economies, leveraging $142 million with partner contributions, for a combined total of $161 million spent on PFW program projects. “For every dollar spent by the PFW and Coastal Programs, $7 to $9 of restoration work is happening on the ground,” according to the report.

Looking at only at a single year (FY 2011) for example, the “total economic stimulus created by the PFW program amounted to $292 million in output and 3,500 new jobs” notes the report.

>Read the report http://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/restoration-returns.pdf

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PhotobyDennisGrether

 

 

 

 

 

From our friend and reader Dennis Grether comes this photo from north of Tucson, AZ  of a grand, tall saguaro cactus and a red fox that he found (and photographed) in its top. “I couldn’t quite figure out why he was there,” says Grether,  although the fox stayed most of the day.  “The next morning, he was gone.”

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The half-hour documentary “Water: The Lifeblood of Energy” from Prairie Public Broadcasting describes the connection between water and energy and how cities and utilities across the western United States are using combinations of collaboration, conservation, and new technology to squeeze more use out of every precious drop.

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Status-and-Trends-of-Wetlands-in-the-Conterminous-United-States-2004-to-2009_Page_001With the 2013 release of trend data for U.S. wetlands (with apparent delay) came concerning statistics about the nations vanishing wetland resources.   This report does not draw conclusions regarding trends in the quality or condition of the Nation’s wetlands, rather focusing on wetland areas and extents.  The report discloses estimated net losses of more than 60,000 acres in the years 2004- 2009 and signals reason for continued concern with implementation of the nation’s requirement for ‘no net loss.’

The report notes: “The cumulative effects of losses in the freshwater system have had consequences for hydrologic and ecosystem connectivity. In certain regions, profound reductions in wetland extent have resulted in habitat loss, fragmentation, and limited opportunities for reestablishment and watershed rehabilitation.”

Further examination of wetland condition on the national level has been initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the Fish and Wildlife Service and other Federal, State and Tribal partners.

>Read the Full Report

http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/Documents/Status-and-Trends-of-Wetlands-in-the-Conterminous-United-States-2004-to-2009.pdf

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