ASHTON – The Henry’s Fork Foundation (HFF), Conant Creek Canal Company, and Fremont-Madison Irrigation District are partnering on a project that was awarded $1.1 million from the USBR WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Program in 2022. The project aims to conserve water and improve efficiency and precision of delivery to water users in eastern Idaho.
The project will line 5.7 miles of Conant Creek Canal with high-density polyethylene liner, change the point of diversion, and establish an automation system on the diversion gates and spill location. The project is anticipated to save 2,850 acre-feet of water each year that is currently lost to seepage.
A portion of the water conserved will be used as a buffer to avoid interruptions in irrigation supply in low water years, and the remainder will stay in Conant Creek.
From a fisheries perspective, the water conserved by this project will increase flows in Conant Creek and Fall River during irrigation season, which will help reduce solar loading, effectively decreasing water temperatures in these reaches. Additionally, water conserved will increase storage water in Island Park Reservoir in late summer and early fall. As the crux of the Henry’s Fork fisheries, Island Park Reservoir water supply can make a significant difference for fishery health and the fishing experience.
“This is the largest federal grant project HFF has been a part of and we are grateful that the Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Grant Program saw value in this major effort,” said HFF Executive Director Brandon Hoffner. “Finding win-win solutions for agriculture and fisheries in our watershed can allow us to conserve water at a scale we have not seen before.”
Increasing storage water in Island Park Reservoir in the late summer and early fall will help support the health of the reservoir, and will provide a supply of cool, oxygenated water to the reach of the Henry’s Fork below the reservoir as well as thermal refuge for cold-water aquatic species.
To learn more about the Henry’s Fork Foundation or to view any future updates on the project, visit www.henrysfork.org.