Friday, April 30, 2010

Water Study to Look at more than Teton Dam

"From the Rexburg Standard Journal"

Several stakeholders are supporting the broadened focus of a federal water supply study that will look at more than the Teton River and rebuilding the failed Teton Dam.

"We're supportive of that," Fremont Madison Irrigation Director Dale Swensen says of the broadened scope of the study.

Friends of the Teton River Executive Director Lyn Benjamin also praised the new scope of the study and the work of Trout Unlimited, American Rivers and Idaho Rivers United in encouraging the broader look at water supply issues in the Henry's Fork basin.

"I recognize that farmers I work with need water, and they recognize that fish need water," Benjamin says in an e-mail concerning the topic. "Hopefully we're going to do some decent science and some economic science to support the decisions that get made."

"We applaud the BOR for launching a more thorough study of our water options," says Kim Goodman Trotter of Trout Unlimited. "We look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to find the best solutions for Idaho."

Initially, the Idaho Legislature appropriated $400,000, to be matched with an equal amount by the BOR to do the study that would look at feasibilities of rebuilding the dam that spectacularly failed in 1976.

Bureau of Reclamation Pacific Northwest Regional Activities Manager Robert Schattin explained last week at a Henry's Fork Watershed Council meeting how the study was expanded to include the whole Henry's Fork basin, including the Teton River.

The Henry's Fork study will focus on conservation and changes in water management, as well as water storage alternatives.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Wyoming Requires Invasive Species Decals

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has announced a new initiative to hit aquatic invasive species where it counts. In an effort to protect Wyoming’s valuable water resources, the state legislature allocated $1.5 million to the department to implement newprograms aimed at preventing the introduction of quagga and zebra mussels to Wyoming waters. Quagga and zebra mussels can ruin fisheries; clog boat motor cooling systems; foul watercraft hulls and equipment; and clog water delivery systems used for power plants, irrigation and domestic water use. Quagga and zebra mussels are not known to occur in Wyoming but are present in three neighboring states. They can be transported on boats and trailers.

WGFD Director Steve Ferrell says, “The strong message from Wyoming’s legislature is that they don’t want these destructive aquatic invasive species in our waters. We are very fortunate to have the support and backing from our elected officials so we can proactively take
aggressive measures to keep Wyoming clean of quagga and zebra mussels.”
Based on direction from the legislature, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has implemented emergency regulations to address the aquatic invasive species threat. The legislation gives the commission authority to inspect boats and to prevent the launching of boats suspected of harboring invasive species.

The decals cost as little as $5 for non-motorized crafts and $10 for motorized, for Wyoming residents. Boaters must display the decal or bear a receipt before launching on any Wyoming waterway. Inflatables smaller than 10 feet are exempt from the regulation.

Decals can be purchased on the Game and Fish Web site beginning April 15 and at license selling agents starting May 17.

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