- Associated Press - Friday, July 15, 2016

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) - Officials are once again working to restore fish habitat in the Yankee Fork basin near the central Idaho city of Stanley.

The restoration is part of a seven-year, multi-million-dollar series of projects that will repair damage done by years of dredge mining, The Mountain Express reported (https://bit.ly/29BJ9xE ). The work is expected to improve habitat for Chinook salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout and other species of fish.

This year, crews are putting logs in a stretch of river and modifying the channel to help return the water to more natural conditions.

Bart Gamett, a fish biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, said workers on Friday saw small fish hiding under logs within an hour after they were placed in the river.

“In these mountain streams, large wood historically played a really important role in the development of fish habitat,” Gamett said.

The work involves the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Trout Unlimited, the Bonneville Power Administration and the J.R. Simplot Co., which owns mining claims to the area.

Gamett said the effort began in 2010 with an assessment of the river and work began in 2012 to channelize some of the ponds near Crealey Creek.

“We’ve been amazed at the large numbers of spawning steelhead and juvenile fish that are using the new habitat created by this project,” Gamett said.

Previous projects added 730 trees to the stream channel from the confluence with Jordan Creek, which is just upstream from the old town of Bonanza, upstream to Eightmile Creek, a distance of about eight miles.

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Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, https://www.mtexpress.com


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