Rebuilding the Weir on Thurman Creek
By Heidi Trenholm
B.A. Human Biology, 2011
My summer at Henry's Fork Foundation in Eastern Idaho has been great so far. I've had the opportunity to get involved with many different projects with the Foundation. During my first week here - right after I arrived after my graduation - the main focus was on the Foundation's biggest fundraising day of the year - Henry's Fork Day. All of the interns (two from Washington and Lee, one from Colgate, and one who recently graduated from BYU-Idaho) put in a lot of work that week to make sure everything happened without any major glitches.
Our biggest project so far this summer has been rebuilding the weir on Thurman Creek in Harriman State Park. We wanted to move it because the conditions were better down the creek about 100 feet. To make the weir, we set up metal frames, keeping them in place with rebar, and put metal poles through the holes in the frame. We didn't have enough poles and frames to fill the wider part of the creek so we used rebar and plastic netting for most of one side. Since building the weir, we've been really successful in catching fish in the trap. The first day we checked the trap, we were all stunned by the number of crawdads in the trap. There were a couple hundred in there! We had to hold back the urge to take them home for dinner. In addition to the crawdads, there were a ton of sculpin and shiners, a few dace and chub, and a rainbow trout.
Another recurring project we have been working on is putting up fencing to keep cattle out of the river. It is important to keep them out to keep the water quality good enough to support the fish in the river. The ranchers who graze their cattle in Harriman State Park must maintain the fence that separates their leased land from the other land, but the Foundation maintains the fence that prevents the cattle from contaminating the river.
Every few days, we get the chance to talk to fly fishermen who are fishing on the Buffalo River, which runs into Henry's Fork. We survey them, asking about the fishing on that part of the river. We are trying to study whether or not bait fishing on that river is impacting fission on Henry's Fork. Though there aren't always fishermen in that area, it is fun to get out and go on a beautiful walk, even if we don't get to chat.
Idaho has been a blast so far. I feel lucky every day I go out in the field to work and get to see one of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire United States.
Read more at the Out West Blog for Summer Interns »