Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Idaho to set aside Teton Dam Project!!!



This year Idaho lawmakers are making painful budget cuts they never would have considered in even bad times in the past.  State agencies, which have already had to lay off all but essential workers, are looking to slash services. Schools are not just looking at ways to protect classroom quality, they are seeking ways to blunt the effects on students who will only get one chance at an education.
So decisions that were made in better times also are getting scrutiny. In 2008 the Idaho Legislature approved $400,000 for a study of rebuilding the ill-fated Teton Dam, which failed in June of 1976 and killed 11 people.

Since then Trout Unlimited has fought the study even as it has expressed a willingness to work with irrigators on alternatives. The Idaho Water Users have made the study a line in the sand.
Realistically, rebuilding the Teton Dam has little chance of going anywhere. Even if the state supported it, which is not certain given the history, national environmental groups would fight it with all their resources.
But if you change the discussion to whether there are off-river storage options in the Teton drainage, that is a different issue. Trout Unlimited still opposes it but they are at least willing to talk.

So that gets us back to this year’s budget. Trout Unlimited has joined irrigators in the collaborative Comprehensive Aquifer Management Planning process. The talks have developed a long term plan for managing the eastern Snake Plain Aquifer that is aimed at reducing the conflicts between surface and groundwater users by finding ways to conserve water.  But the agreements come with a cost. Taxpayers were expected to pay $3 million annually for recharging water into the aquifer, converting groundwater to surface water projects and other efforts to conserve water.  So Gov. Butch Otter has proposed the state devote $1 million this year in stimulus funds, matched with other state money already collected and private funds to keep CAMP alive.  That’s $1 million that won’t go into Idaho schools or colleges or into essential services the state is going to have cut. But most people on both sides of the issue think its money well spent.
Some suggest water users should pay for it with a user fee.  That gets me back to the $400,000 for the Teton Dam study. The Bureau of Reclamation plans to match it though it still hasn’t come up with enough money.

Trout Unlimited, which now has some clout with the Obama administration, is still trying to ensure the study as it is now proposed goes nowhere.  The $400,000 is still sitting in the bank. Idaho would have to break a memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Reclamation before the money could be used for other programs, something the Idaho Department of Water Resources doesn’t want to do.  But these are tough times.

“We may need every dollar that we can get just to perform the basic services,” Rep. Scott Bedke of Oakley, the assistant majority leader in the House., told the Twin Falls Times-News taslking about another budget issue.

From my standpoint the only real value of the $400,000 is laying the groundwork to move the discussion past rebuilding the Teton Dam, which is an irrigation pipe dream.

But does that value stack up in the face of cuts to education and other state programs?


Original copy/courtesy Idaho Statesman - Rocky Barker.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jackson Hole - Teton Valley Snow Conditions!!



Thanks to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for showing the world that our snow conditions are the highest in the region.  Check out Grand Targhee for incredile lift ticket and lodging deals.  More snow correlates to more water this summer, so lets keep our fingers crossed!  Snow Pack information for all our drainages can also be found on the WorldCast Anglers Trip Planner page.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Idaho Might Close Harriman State Park!!



Voted the best trout stream in America by Trout Unlimited in 1999, the Henry's Fork meanders through the 11,000-acre Harriman State Park, a preserve which-- under a new proposal by Idaho governor C.L. "Butch" Otter -- could be de-funded and lost to the public. Otter wants to eliminate the eliminate the Department of Parks and Recreation and give control of lands like Harriman to the Department of Lands, which manages state lands to produce revenue.

Governor Otter is no stranger to controversies regarding conservation and wildlife protection: in 2007, he angered environmentalists by supporting public hunts of gray wolves.

"'The most obvious effect of IDPR being eliminated will be the loss to the people of Idaho of the lands and facilities currently managed by the agency,' said Steve Trafton, Executive Director of the Henry's Fork Foundation. 'At no place will this loss be more obvious than at the park that started the agency: Harriman. This stunning 11,000 acre park with its eight miles of the Henry's Fork is an international destination, arguably the most famous trout river in the world and one of Idaho's most recognizable landscapes.'" Article credits to Midcurrent - www.midcurrent.com

What can you do to help???  Fill out the petition www.saveidahoparks.com Contact the Henry's Fork Foundation at www.henrysfork.com or call 208.652.3567 to help this fight!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stop the Teton Dam!!!!!

Help Stop the Rebuilding of the Teton Dam!!!


Check out this video



and visit www.TU.org/tetondam for more information!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Midges!!!


Take a close look at this bug, because it is going to be the most important aquatic insect for your winter fishing days. During the next couple of months, trout will concentrate their feeding on midges for most of their winter nutrition. Similar to the mosquito, the midge is a small gnat-like bug that is usually black in color in size 16-20. So when in doubt of what to fish this winter, we would suggest a midge!