Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yankee Fork Rehabilitation Project

What's about to unfold with the Yankee Fork Rehabilitation Project (YFRP) could well be the biggest news item in Upper Salmon Country.  We fully expect to reporting frequently and extensively on the exciting YFRP developments that could actually begin happening "on the ground" yet this field season.

YFRP has been "in the works" for a number of years so there's been nothing but reports and piles of paper to show for the project.  This year could see the YFRP begin to move real rocks and actual water on behalf of the anadromous fish.  If YFRP actually does segue from conceptual discussions to "on the ground" results, it will be a huge leap forward and very exciting to watch it happen.

If you've ever traveled up the Yankee Fork you know the story.  The Land of The Yankee Fork is all about "gold in them thar hills" and "gold in them thar stream gravels."  The Bonanza and Custer ghost towns rank high on the totem pole of Idaho tourist destinations.  Likewise, the Yankee Fork gold dredge is a tourist hot spot.  However profitable it may have been, gold dredging on an industrial scale left a legacy of ecological devastation.  Vast piles of practically sterile dredge spoil provide an eye-opening vista as one drives up the Yankee Fork.

Over the past few years, a wide-ranging partnership of state, federal, tribal, and conservation interests have come together with a spirit of optimism and an unprecedented "can do" attitude on behalf of the YFRP.

We were fortunate to be able to attend an Open House in Stanley June 18 that provided fresh insights and information about the current status of the YFRP.  Officials and representatives of various partners were present to explain the "who, what, where, why, when and how" of what's happening this year with the YFRP.

It's going to take numerous articles here to attempt to put the whole YFRP into perspective.  We hope to do at least a couple of articles a month between now and when snow shuts down the field season sometime this fall.  In the meantime, YFRP has produced an outstanding 10 minute video that summarizes the project.  The video is embedded in a US Bureau of Reclamation website that is the main portal for YFRP information:

The video is also embedded below at the end of this article.

USBR's Al Simpson (fourth from left) and Evelyn Galloway (far right) discuss the YFRP with interested members of the public June 18 in the Stanley Community Center.  Simpson is based out of an office in Salmon, Idaho. Galloway works with The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and is an eloquent spokeswoman for the cultural legacy of the area.

The Stanley Open House provided attendees with a quick glimpse of the project but also provided 
various DVD's as takeaways to develop a deeper understanding of the overall project scope.
Conceptual construction drawings have been released for the YFRP.  They are posted here:
The sample below gives an idea of the complexity involved in the project's scope of work.
Additional details associated with the drawings are located here: 
The US Bureau of Reclamation assisted us in finding the YouTube version of their excellent video about YFRP.    It's a great video and definitely a "must see" if you are interested in this historic project.  We appreciate USBR help in embedding the video here.

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