Tag Archives: river

River, Wetland and Habitat Restoration – First Do No Harm

THI.DoNoHarmAD.2013(F)It is one of the precepts all students are taught in medical school. It reminds a physician that he or she must always consider the possible harm any intervention might cause. It also applies quite accurately to the process of restoring rivers, wetlands and uplands. The very act of “restoring” any resource or habitat implies that you do no harm.

Our natural environment plays host to an immense variety of species, many of them microscopic. Whether reducing excessive erosion or enhancing habitat for fish, we not only tread lightly on the delicate ecosystems that exist, we strive to protect and enhance it.  >Learn More about EcoBlu!

River as Sewer System

In his fact-filled and thought-provoking critique of man’s long history of impacts on the Snake River, Richard Manning, writing in a recent High Country News asks the reader to acknowledge one basic fact.  “The Snake River Plain,” he writes “sprawling over 15,600 square miles, is a desert.  The river system and about 10 inches of rain a year are its water supply entire.”

From this common point, Manning traces a worrisome, dizzying inventory of human impacts, reflecting on the cumulative effects of man’s development on this once-pristine watershed, finally concluding “Idaho’s Sewer System is the Snake River.”    >Read More via https://www.hcn.org/issues/46.13/idahos-sewer-system-is-the-snake-river

FlyTalk Asks ‘Why Not Quality Trout Management?’

Kirk Deeter recently asks “Why Not More ‘Quality Trout Management?’” on the blog FlyTalk http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/flytalk. “Trout anglers can learn a lot from deer hunters, and bird hunters. At least they should when it comes to managing fisheries. I think we’re all starting to wake up to the fact that, in certain places, hatcheries, and hatchery fish, do more harm than good,” he notes.

For nearly twenty years, Trout Headwaters and its clients have focused considerable energy and investment on trout habitat restoration. Our work has been to restore cold water habitats across the U.S., increasing biodiversity and restoring ecological function. Over this time unfortunately we have been witness to lots of invasive management and restoration techniques which damaged stream and wetlands systems, including inappropriate hatchery stockings. Some of these damaging so-called “restoration” projects were simply accidents or catastrophes (depending on scale) others have been part of some accepted ill-informed management strategy. See “Rotenone? 1952 Called and Wants Its Fisheries Management Strategy Back” for a pertinent example.

Read the full post Why Not More ‘Quality Trout Management?’

Change the Course – Returning Water to Our Rivers

Sandra Postel writes recently in the blog Water Currents: “It’s a sad truth that many major rivers – the blue arteries of the Earth – no longer reach the sea.   Our demands for water – to drink, grow food, produce energy and make all manner of material things – have sapped streams of their flow and ecosystems of their vitality.  The web of life, of which we are a part, is fraying.”

It’s this fact that has given rise to a new initiative being backed by some big partners. Change the Course is being piloted in the iconic and heavily depleted Colorado River Basin, which provides water to some 40 million people and 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of irrigated land.  With its conservation partners and sponsors (including Disney, Coca Cola and others), the effort has helped return 2 billion gallons (7.6 billion liters) to rivers throughout the watershed, as well as to the Delta, once one of the world’s great desert aquatic ecosystems.  >Learn More http://changethecourse.us/

Impressive Results From So Many Hands – Annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup

Results FlierAFFIt is with great pleasure that we acknowledge this year’s Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup and the important work of the Alice Ferguson Foundation.  Many hands can make a huge impact for our waterways and with thanks to their sponsors including REI, NOAA , National Geographic and many others, here’s a few impressive numbers from this year’s effort held recently:

671 Sites reporting from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC

14,766 Volunteers

576,000 Pounds of Trash (211,000 Beverage Containers; 35,600 Plastic Bags; 18,600 Cigarettes; 1,288 Tires)

To find cleanup events year-round visit trashnetwork.fegusonfoundation.org

The Yellowstone River – Still the Longest Undammed River in the Lower 48?

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.

First Mitigation Bank in Wyoming History Approved

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.

Benefits of Big Data for Environmental Management

In a recent interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund points out that what gets measured, gets managed.  By serving markets increasingly interested in green goods and services, the advent of big data presents opportunities for businesses to improve their bottom line and the environment, he says.  >Read Full Story

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/energy_resources_materials/fred_krupp_on_the_benefits_of_monitoring_resource_use?cid=ResourceRev-eml-alt-mkq-mck-oth-1404&utm_content=buffer83730&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Trout Headwaters, Inc. has pioneered big data systems for industry and private users enabling comprehensive analysis of various environmental data sets across a broad range of ecosystem services and markets.  Leveraging the capability to relate many, many, layers of complex data will continue to provide unique insights for our firm and our customers. Get your interactive tools today!  >Learn more about EcoBlu Analyst 

Public-Private Partnership to Certify Youth Corps

Restored Creek/Wetland ComplexThe Bay Journal writes: “Beyond political will or ecological know-how, restoring the Chesapeake Bay and other impaired waters across the country requires a good deal of manpower.”  It will take ‘waders in the water,’ to physically return rivers, streams and wetlands to a more natural state.”

“It’s work that Trout Headwaters, Inc., a private water restoration company, has been doing nationwide for nearly 20 years — and work that the company, through a new partnership with The Corps Network, now plans to equip youth corps nationwide to do,” writes the Journal.  >Read More via http://www.bayjournal.com/article/public_private_partnership_to_certify_youth_corps_for_restoration_work

Rotenone? 1952 Called and Wants Its Fisheries Management Strategy Back

A recent study in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society  (Volume 142, Issue 1, 2013) reports that after two decades, wild trout in the Blackfoot River Basin of Montana are still benefiting from stream restoration efforts.

That’s great news that a peer-reviewed study finds a positive correlation between restoration and wild trout populations.  Habitat restoration offers numerous ecological benefits, many of which are far too complex to fully understand.

What is of concern in this study is why resource agencies will loudly proclaim the benefits of habitat restoration in one stream reach, but quietly use poisons to destroy habitat in another reach. The Blackfoot Challenge Project, in its difficult to find, yet technically public, planning documents clearly indicates stream poisoning and restocking as a restoration strategy, in the following sections:

2.5.1 Experimentally remove established brook trout populations;
2.5.2  Suppress northern pike in Clearwater Lakes chain;
3.1.2 Aggressively protect remaining native species complexes… by aggressively removing any nonnative invaders;
4. 3 Develop genetic management plans and guidelines for appropriate use of transplantation and artificial propagation.

What you will not find in this document are words like “rotenone,” “Antimycin-A,” “fish-toxicants,” “piscicides,” and common phrases like “native trout restoration.”  These terms are increasingly being cleansed from agency documents and discourse.  Now those responsible for sterilizing streams in the name of ‘restoration’ are avoiding mention of the lethal policies and practices.

The flawed logic of single-species management by any name, is severely damaging to aquatic ecosystems.  How can poisoning all of the living inhabitants of a stream reach, containing the intricate web of life that supports trout at its apex, be considered restorative? More than 70% of the funding for The Blackfoot Challenge comes from tax dollars.  Does it make sense to use tax dollars to restore riparian areas in one place and poison streams in another?

Our company believes protecting and restoring healthy, functioning freshwater streams and wetlands to sustain a high diversity of organisms is a much more effective and economical way of conserving species.

“Ecosystems will increasingly be a melting pot of long-term residents and of new arrivals,” said a team of scientists in the journal, Nature, calling conservationists to a new way of thinking.

Visit StopRiverKilling.org: http://www.stopriverkilling.org.