A big project we’re working on this spring is a complete irrigation upgrade on the ranch. The project closes a long irrigation diversion ditch that sourced out of the Pahsimeroi River that we shared with about 4 neighbors. All of us have agreed to close the ditch to better ensure sufficient flow in the river over critical Chinook salmon spawning habitat. These fish migrate 900 miles to the Pacific where they live for two years and come back to the Pahsimeroi to spawn (lay eggs). Unfortunately, salmon runs are very low, and all is being done to maintain the species.
Our plan is to pump water out of the river below the critical flow areas—about 2 miles below where our ditch used to divert water. The Nature Conservancy, Bonneville Power Administration, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Idaho Department of Fish and Game have been very willing partners in the project.
For us, it will mean far more efficient use of water (leaving more water in the river for fish) and better yield and quality on much of our acres due to more uniform water distribution (to produce even better grassfed beef). It also means working daily with the contractors who are installing the system, and coordinating with all the cooperating parties on a nearly daily basis. It’s been very busy.