Project History

BACKGROUND: In the face of 10 consecutive years of dramatically declining catch rates and the virtual elimination of any natural cutthroat reproduction on Henrys Lake, the Henrys Lake Foundation (HLF) was founded in 1981 with initial funding of $2,700 from 170 area residents who joined that first year as members. The four major objectives established by the HLF for Henrys Lake were: - Establish catch rate goals with commensurate stocking targets - Increase natural cutthroat reproduction through stream restoration - Enhance hatchery production - Improve water quality To present, these goals have guided the activities of the foundation and the funding of fisheries projects at Henrys Lake. Over the past 31 years, the HLF has leveraged direct funding of $167,000 to obtain additional external match funding to complete projects with an aggregate cost exceeding $3,000,000. These projects resulted in the fencing of over 14 miles of streams and lake front, the revegetation of several miles of tributaries involving the planting of roughly 10,000 willow stalks, and the installation of several off-site cattle watering holes to prevent 'cowing out' of stream beds. In addition, 21 irrigation diversion fish screens have been installed which has prevented the loss of untold numbers of creek spawned fry being lost in bordering fields. The HLF also spearheaded the replacement of 8 culverts to accommodate the upstream passage of spawning cutthroat, including the major bridge replacement on Hwy. 87 at the Targhee and Howard Creeks in 2006. As a result of this collaborative effort between the HLF, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and numerous other state, federal, and non-profit agencies, it is now estimated that roughly 40% of the cutthroat trout in Henrys Lake are naturally reproduced. In addition, catch rates have tripled from the .25 fish/hour realized throughout the 1970's to the current .70 today. The following summary lists the total dollar amount of yearly funding and the specific projects undertaken for the past 31 years of the HLF existence.

2018 $2,000

North Fremont High School aquaculture program. HLF commitment is $2,000 per year for each of the next 3 years.

2018 $11,000

Water Quality Study

2013 $16,300

The foundation helped fund - Timber creek water gap improvement, restoration work on Duck Creek, Targhee Creek fish barrier removal, one boat wash attendant, and the fishing line recycling stations.

2012 $5,000

Purchased 15 remote digital cameras for pelican study to minimize YCT predation. Four E-Z Up tents purchased for boat inspection/wash stations around Henrys Lake to prevent introduction of invasive species.

2011 $23,500

Modular irrigation diversion fish screen installed on Cole property on Targhee Creek. Fish weir constructed on Duck Creek below Red Rock Road. 2 new modular diversion screens installed on Parkinson property on Duck Creek.

2010 $6,250

Financial support of cloud seeding program by Fremont County. Modular fish screen installed on Salisbury property on Targhee Creek. Modular fish screen installed on Parkinson property on Duck Creek.

2009 $13,695

Funded one boat inspection/wash station attendant for 2009. Fund visit by Basin Alternative H.S. students to assist at IDFG fish trap. Modular fish screen installed on Stockon property on Targhee Creek.

2008 $36,554

Purchased and installed temp/flow sensors on Targhee, Howard and Duck Creeks. Funding of replacement of culverts on Duck Creek at Red Rock Road. Modular fish screen installed on Cole property on Targhee Creek. Fencing, stream bottom hardening and weir on Empey property on Duck Creek. Purchased new egg separator for fishtrap. Committed funds for recirculation pump purchase and engineering for fishtrap. Installed modular fish screen Clements property on Targhee Creek.

2007 $8,000

Funded fish radio telemetry project to monitor trout migration. Installed modular diversion fish screen on lower Howard Creek. website created to improve communication to public.

2006 $1,650

Grand opening of the new bridges on Hwy 87 over Targhee and Howard Creeks. This 2 year collaborative effort results in the completion of a $1.8mm project to facilitate the upstream passage of spawning cutthroat trout on these 2 critical spawning streams.

2005 $2,300

Because of disappointing results from prior years’ efforts at improving fish passage thru the culverts on Hwy 87 over Targhee and Howard Creeks, the Foundation and numerous other conservation and sportsmens groups strategize on the total reconstruction of these bridges.

2004 $5,000

Three fish drums are installed on Duck Creek to improve downstream passage of fry.

2003 $12,000

The foundation purchases for $6500 sterilization equipment for hybrid embryos which achieves 95% sterilization as opposed to the previous technology's 80%, thereby allaying fears of cross genetics of hybrids with Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. Funding is committed for the removal of a fish passage obstruction on Duck Creek . An additional grant of $500 is made to High Country cloud seeding. 100,000 sterile brook trout are stocked due to a petition to IDFG by the foundation in 2001 to resume brook trout stocking after a 4 year hiatus.

2002 $1,300

Additional funds are committed to repair the aeration system in Henrys Lake in front of the fishtrap.

2001 $400

Funds are committed for the removal of a fish barrier on Howard Creek.

2000 $0

The foundation formally petitions IDFG to resume brook trout stocking due to improved sterilization techniques.

1999 $750

The foundation commits funds for the inspection/repair of the lake's aeration system. The foundation is awarded an $8,650 Fish America grant for additional aeration work. A trial website is developed to support the foundation.

1998 $500

Funds committed to install a culvert baffle on Pittsburgh Creek at Hwy 87. Foundation volunteers replace old wood fence posts on Duck Creek. Due to budget constraints and fear of YCT cross genetics, IDFG discontinues brook trout planting. The Henrys Lake Foundation and the Henrys Fork Foundation join forces and win a court case to stop the illegal construction of a concrete plant on Hwy 20 near the Hungry Bear Market.

1997 $5,000

Foundation volunteers repair fencing on Duck Creek. Electrical components are purchased and installed for the electric fence on the Taft/Hartman property on Kelly Springs Creek. Funds are committed for the fencing and stream bottom hardening on the Empey Ranch on Duck Creek. Foundation fences and revegetates stream bank on Pearson property on Duck Creek. Funds and labor are committed for shoreline stabilization on the Slash E Ranch and at the mouth of Targhee Creek.

1996 $5,000

The foundation approved a grant to assist with the cost of a proposed fish ladder at the Diamond D Ranch irrigation diversion dam on Howard Creek to permit the upstream passage of trout past a tributary blockage. The foundation received the Henrys Fork Foundation Conservation Award for 1996.

1995 $0

Foundation members assisted with shoreline reparation at the Frome County property.

1994 $7,000

Funding and manpower provided by the foundation and Island Park. Sportsmen used to install ˝ mile of fence along Kelly Springs Creek on the Taft/Hartman ranch. Funds also committed to assist with the erection of 2 miles of fencing and off stream cattle watering systems along lake frontage between Targhee and Howard Creeks, the largest such conservation effort ever undertaken at Henrys Lake.

1993 $100

Foundation members assisted the IDFG with the installation of an air blower system for the hatchery and purchased 2 hand held radios for IDFG game enforcement efforts.

1992 $5,000

Funds are committed to IDFG for construction of a variety of riparian improvement projects on the lakes major tributaries. These projects included the installation of shoreline fences on the Schofield, Taft/Hartman, and Webster properties on the west shore, thereby preventing erosion by cattle on over 2 miles of shoreline.

1991 $0

In an effort to stabilize stream bank sloughing and channel cutting, foundation members and IDFG personnel tied in 450 pine tree tops along the shoreline of lower Targhee Cr. on the Slash E Ranch.

1990 $4,500

40 volunteers from the foundation, IDFG, Boise Valley Fly Fishermen and others planted willows on the newly fenced section of the Flying R Ranch on Howard Creek. The foundation also contributed funding to complete the Howard Creek and Duck Creek fencing projects started in 1989, and for construction materials for future Diamond D diversion screens on Howard Creek. Funding was also committed for equipment and volunteers to monitor lake water quality after concerns arise regarding substantial winter fish kills due to low oxygen levels.

1989 $12,500

Continuing its commitment to riparian restoration, the foundation makes its largest ever funding commitment and labor to install 2 miles of electric fence on the Webster, Johnson and Magleby ranches on Duck Creek and 1.5 miles of fence on the Flying R ranchon Howard Creek.

1988 $0

Project work included foundation volunteers planting willows inside the recently fenced section on Timber Creek. The next day, 20 foundation members constructed additional fence sections on Timber Creek.

1987 $1,500

Because of 50% below normal snowpack, reservoir levels in the state are extremely low. In deference to the foundation's partial funding of a higher coffer dam in 1986, Henrys is only drafted 2.7 feet to meet downstream irrigation needs. A second solar electric fence project is initiated and funded by the foundation on lower Timber Creek on the Hunt and Coe properties. The foundation supplied labor along with other sportsmen and conservation groups to plant 3500 willow shoots on the newly fenced section of Duck Creek.

1986 $3,000

Facing a potentially harmful drawdown of the lake due to needed outlet dam repairs, the foundation offers financial assistance for construction of a higher coffer dam to reduce drawdown. As a result, the lake is drawn down only 3.2 feet with no apparent ill effects on the fishery.

1985 $2,300

The first ever riparian restoration effort on Henrys Lake is developed and totally funded by the foundation. In cooperation with rancher MrMagleby, 3/8 mile of Duck Creek is cordoned with solar powered electric fence by volunteers from the foundation, providing a blueprint for future cooperative stream rehabilitation efforts statewide.

1984 $2,500

A financial pledge is committed to IDFG for future stream restoration and culvert work at Hwy 87 bridge over Targhee Cr. in order to improve upstream passage of spawning Yellowstone cutthroat. Anecdotally, catch rates in 1984 increase 8 fold to 1.70 fish/hr. versus the .21 rate in 1981.

1983 $5,000

Two diversion fish screens are installed on Diamond D Ranch on Howard Creek with with the support of a foundation grant.

1982 $300

As a result of IDFG consultation with the foundation, area landowners and sportsmen, the first Henrys Lake Enhancement Plan is developed. This plan provided for a reduced catch limit of 2 fish, stocking and catch rate objectives are established, habitat improvement projects are identified and the stocking rates of cutthroat, brook and hybrid trout are dramatically increased. Separately, to reduce the amount of cross genetics with the Yellowstone cutthroat, a 3 year commitment to an IDFG hybrid sterilization research project is granted.

1981 $500

The first foundation project is the purchase of nets for IDFG to study fry predation after planting. The foundation also provided a backhoe and manpower to rehabilitate Wild Rose Creek for improved spawning.