Friday, February 16, 2007

County Commission requests river study

Research would complement ongoing work by land trust


The Big Wood River could be the focus of yet another study.

At the suggestion of the Hailey-based Wood River Land Trust, the Blaine County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday, Feb. 13, to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to begin an overall watershed study for the Big Wood.

The study would complement and contribute to an ongoing land trust study, which it calls Healthy Waters Healthy Future.

"We have projects in mind for restoration," said land trust Projects Coordinator Kathryn Goldman. "This is an opportunity to avail ourselves of the resources of the Corps, including its riparian permitting history, in order to make a total evaluation of the river from Warm Springs to the Glendale diversion."

The study would contribute to ongoing plans for flood protection, including open space planning and stream restoration projects in the Wood River Valley. The requested "expedited reconnaissance report," known as a 905 B Report, is a first step in implementing a strategic restoration project and flood mitigation plan for the Big Wood. The project would be in light of the devastating floods last year, which inundated sections of eastern Hailey and nearly destroyed the Deer Creek Bridge.

"The idea we have is for local people, the land trust included, to initiate such a survey plan and provide matching funds for the project," Goldman said. "My motivation is to take a good look at how we can live with and by this river."

According to the land trust, other watershed reconnaissance studies have led to cooperatively funded restoration projects to protect water quality, fisheries, water supply and private property.

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