Fort Hall Bottoms Tributary Assessment
Assessing habitat conditions for a critical fish species on tribal land.
Yellowstone cutthroat trout are an important species in southeastern Idaho, both now and historically, and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are working to protect them by improving river habitat throughout the Fort Hall Indian Reservation—one of the last remaining strongholds for the species. The tribes contracted with GeoEngineers to perform a geomorphic and ecological assessment of four streams on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. GeoEngineers’ assessment included overall recommendations of the Snake River ecosystem augmented with site-specific analysis.
The river team worked with fish and wildlife managers from the tribes and other stakeholders to develop a suite of enhancement solutions including watershed management, livestock management and physical improvements to streams and floodplains. Looking ahead, GeoEngineers’ experts estimated costs for implementation, monitoring and filling in data gaps for each potential solution. Armed with this data, the team worked with the tribes to develop a comprehensive strategy for implementing a range or projects over the next five years.
During the initial assessment phase, GeoEngineers acquired LiDAR and thermal infrared remote sensing data to help the team understand and map specific sites. To supplement and verify this data, our team also physically assessed more than 30 miles of streams throughout the reservation.
To assess the investment necessary for various project approaches, GeoEngineers created detailed implementation schedules, including their monthly and cumulative costs. These assessments were presented to the client in a scientifically based, graphic-rich, 11” x 17” format for easy consumption by public and private stakeholders.
GeoEngineers successfully assessed habitat conditions across four streams in the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, used this data to make recommendations of habitat enhancement projects and then packaged it all in a detailed and graphic-rich “atlas” with recommended habitat enhancement projects and costing estimates. The tribes are now using this document as a master road map to implement habitat solutions in the reservation in the coming years.