Study On Idaho's Big Wood River Provides New Data On Beloved Waterway

Feb 9, 2016

A newly published study looks closely at one of the most beloved rivers in Idaho. The Big Wood River runs through the heart of Blaine County. The waterway is used for recreation and it helps fuel the county’s agricultural producers.

Chad Chorney likens the river study to a doctor’s appointment. Chorney is with Trout Unlimited, a conservation group that helped fund the assessment. He says the idea was to get a broad understanding of how the Big Wood River is doing, in order to help stakeholders make better informed decisions about the river.

“In the past, restoration work has been done kind of haphazardly," says Chorney. "But doing an assessment, gauging the conditions and then using that to identify and prioritize future work is much more effective and I think gives you a better bang for your buck.”

Chorney says the study was the most comprehensive one ever done on the river. He says there weren’t any big surprises – but it did help crystallize the effects of cumulative use of the waterway.

“If we wanted to engage in stream restoration work, riparian enhancement, we needed the information to do so and this study was kind of the way we went about that.”

He says the study helped them identify seven areas where the river has been changed. Some of the impacts include erosion and the river's inability to access the floodplain in areas.

Findings from the study will be presented at a community meeting February 17 at the Blaine County Community Campus from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Officials from the Forest Service and Bureau of Land  Management will also be in attendance.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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