Henry’s Fork Foundation is Awarded $1.1 Million Grant

In 2022, the Henry’s Fork Foundation (HFF), Conant Creek Canal Company, and Fremont-Madison Irrigation District will collaborate on a project for which the USBR WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Program will grant $1.1 million. The project’s goal is to preserve water while also improving the efficiency and precision with which water is delivered to customers in eastern Idaho.

The project will install a high-density polyethylene lining on 5.7 miles of Conant Creek Canal, modify the point of diversion, and install an automated system on the diversion gates and spill location. Each year, the project is expected to conserve 2,850 acre-feet of water that is now wasted due to seepage.

A part of the water saved will be utilized as a buffer to prevent irrigation supply shortages in low-water years, while the rest will remain in Conant Creek.

In terms of fisheries, the water saved by this project will boost flows in Conant Creek and Fall River during irrigation season, reducing solar loads and, as a result, lowering water temperatures in these reaches. In the late summer and early fall, water conservation will boost storage water in Island Park Reservoir. The water supply at Island Park Reservoir, which is at the heart of the Henry’s Fork fisheries, may make a big impact in the fishery’s health and the fishing experience.

HFF Executive Director Brandon Hoffner remarked, “This is the largest government grant project HFF has been a part of, and we are thrilled that the Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART Grant Program found value in this huge initiative.” “Finding win-win solutions for agriculture and fisheries in our watershed might allow us to conserve water on a never-before-seen scale.”

Increasing storage water in Island Park Reservoir in the late summer and early fall will benefit the reservoir’s health by providing a supply of cool, oxygenated water to the Henry’s Fork reach below the reservoir, as well as providing a thermal refuge for cold-water aquatic species.

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