Eagle Valley Ranch-01

Eagle Valley Ranch, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), ID

The Eagle Valley Ranch is a 5,000-acre working cattle ranch on the banks of the channelized Lemhi River south of Salmon, Idaho. The Idaho Department of Fish & Game is currently working with the landowners to restore approximately 240 acres of river and floodplain habitat along over 2 miles of the river.  The project focuses on restoring and sustaining habitat forming processes, including goals to:  restore the Lemhi’s natural anabranching morphology that will increase total perennial channel length 2-3 fold; improve salmonids spawning and rearing by increasing the number of pools, hydraulic refugia and cover, along with added streambed complexity and improved hyporheic exchange. Restoration and enhancement measures reestablish native floodplain, riparian, wetland and forest communities; and improve fish passage over an existing irrigation diversion.

The project is also designed to protect and support existing ranch operations, irrigation facilities and infrastructure, while providing flood and erosion protection to local landowners. It showcases a successful public-private collaboration to restore and manage rivers sustainably in Western North America. Natural Systems Design assisted IDFG with the geomorphic assessment, preliminary restoration concept designs, a winning 2014 funding proposal, and final design and construction observation. Funding to complete engineering design, hydraulic modeling and construction of two of the four sub-reaches was secured by IDFG. The first sub-reach was constructed in 2015 and construction of the second sub-reach will start summer 2016.