WITH WATER USES




                            TABLE OF CONTENTS
   I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................  1

  II.   STUDY  .  ............................  2

III.   METHODS  ............................  4

  IV.   RESULTS                       .                     .

         Henrys  Fork Above St.  Anthony   ................  4
         Snake River Near  Lorenzo ...................  5
         Teton River Near  Sugar City  .................  7
         Teton River Near  Rexburg ...................  8
         Henrys  Fork Above the  Mouth  .................  9
         Snake River Above Idaho Falls   ................ 10
         Snake River Near  Shelley .  .  .  .  ............... 11
         Blackfoot  River Near Mouth .....  ............. 13
         Snake River, Tilden Bridge .  .  .  .  .............. 15
         Portneuf River Above Inkom .................. 16
         Marsh Creek.  ..... ? ........... .  ...... .17
         Portneuf River Below Pocatello  .  „  ..... „ ....... .17
         American Falls Reservoir ...<,„.<>  ............ 19
         Snake River Below American Falls  ,„  .......... ...21
         Raft  River ..... . .............  .  ...... 23
         Snake River, Minidoka  Dam to  Bur ley  ............. 24
         Main  Drain, Rupert District  ,  .  .  ,  ............. 25
         Snake River, Milner Dam to Shoshone Falls  .......... 26
         Rock  Creek Below  Twin  Falls  ................. 27
         Salmon  Falls Creek .......  ............... 27
         Snake River - Hagerman .................... 28
         Snake River, Marsing to Adrian  ................ 29
         Jump  Creek . ............  „  ............ 31
         Sucker  Creek ......................... 31
         Owyhee  River Near Adrian ................... 31
         Boise River - Parma  ..................... 32
         Malheur River  ........................ 32
         Payette River  .................... .... 33
         Lower Payette Canal  ..........  „  .......... 34
         Weiser  River at Weiser ......  . .............. 35
         Brownlee Reservoir ...................... 36
         Brownlee to Oxbow  ..........  ............ 37
         Snake River Below Oxbow  .'/...„  ......... .... 38
         Snake River - R.M. 0.0 to 139.3  ............... 39

   V.   SUMMARY  ....... . ........  ... ..... . ... 40


                          WITH WATER USES

                         SNAKE RIVER BASIN


     No river system on the North American Continent has had greater

multi-purpose potential and yet has been put to such single-purpose

use as the Snake River.

     The Missouri River has long been known as the "Big Muddy."  The

Colorado--nicknamed the "Great Red River" '&'/ the early Spaniards—has

long been known to be "too thin to plow and too thick to drink."  The

Columbia is sterile, and the Sacramento isn't much better.  As rivers

go, the San Joaquin and Platte are relatively little boys in big pants.

In all the West the Snake River stands out for its capacity for compat-

ible multiple use—and presently it can't pass a Wasserman.

     The Snake River is included in the Columbia River Basin.  This

major tributary to the Columbia River originates above Jackson Lake in

the Grand Teton National Park in the State of Wyoming and flows in a

meandering arc east to west across the State of Idaho.  Turning north-

ward,     it forms the    .    boundary between the States of Idaho

and Oregon.

     In the Pacific Northwest, the Snake River — especially since the

construction of Grand Coulee Dam--is second to none in fisheries

production and is second only to the Columbia River for production of

hydropower and as a source of water for irrigation.  Another important

use of the river is the assimilation and transport of industrial,


commercial, municipal, domestic and agricultural wastes.  Present

information regarding   .  other uses and their magnitude is extremely

limited.  This study was conducted to correct this situation.


     This natural resource use study:was conducted in'conjunction with

a water quality investigation from August 22-28, 1966.   The primary

objective was to determine non-documented major water uses--at pre-

selected locations—and to grossly assess the suitability of the water

environment to serve such uses.  In general, terms such as

"high" (aesthetic value), "heavy" (fisherman use), "moderate," "light,"

"nil" or "non-existent," are used to delineate the degree of intensity

of a use or of its quality.  These uses and assessments are not to be

compared across the board.  For example, waterfowl use designated as

"heavy" on a small tributary stream and "moderate" on the Snake River

in a certain section does not mean that there will be more hunters or

waterfowl in numbers or kinds on the tributary than there will be on

the Snake River.  Potential use and/or carrying capacity in situ were

considered to be the key to evaluation; and each situation was judged

and assessed upon its own merits and capacity.  In general, no compari-

sons should be made between stations per se except to note whether a

decline, improvement, or whatever other changes--categorically--took

place between stations.

     In general terms, it is often convenient to define a fishery type

as coldwater, warmwater, coarse, or trash.  A coldwater type has the

connotation of trout or salmon; a warmwater type denotes spiny-rays;


and coarse or trash are plastic, flexible words with far too many

meanings.  Such designations are    fish management garbage.  Trash-

fish can and do live in cold as well as warmwater.  These trash or

coarse fishes are so designated upon certain arbitrarily assumed

desirable or undesirable characteristics that include1     what they

look like, how they are built, what they feed upon, how easy they are

to catch, their flavor, and how easy they are to prepare, cook, and

eat.  In this regard fish management laws have oftentimes been most


     Again, the effect of temperature and/or its variation is not

generally known or understood.  As a case in point, the optimum spawning

temperature range for trout and salmon is—let's say--45 to 58  F; large

and small mouth bass--let's say--65-70  E; channel catfish--70-75  F.

and panfish 70-78  F.  The optimum growing temperature range for trout

and salmon is 65-68 , and the optimum ranges for the other species

overlaps this to a significant extent.  A person in the habit of thinking

would naturally wonder "when or how do you draw the line?"  It's rather-

simple.  Just include other information such as hydraulics, food supplies,

etc., in the assessment.  The naked fact is tha't .Nature will produce
fish—and will continue to do so—in prodigious quantities.  It is our

choice to determine what * species.  Only man is interested in what kinds.

Nature's only apparent interest is in producing the tonnage.


     The typical situation was first determined by gross visual observa-

tion ot each station.  Several representative places were then selected

and examined by visual observation in greater detail.  Pertinent informa-

tion was recorded by station in the field, and photographs were frequently

taken for future reference.


     Comments and observations by stations are as follows:

     Snake River, Henrys (North) Fork above St. Anthony"
     (S837.4  HF34.9)

     In this section, the stream supports a good well balanced salmonid

(non-migratory) fishery.  In fact, the trout fishery is outstanding.

Species include rainbow, kokanee, whitefish seasonally, brooktrout and

cutthroat.  The sizes, quality, and use of the gravel beds for spawning

purposes are of sufficient magnitude to adequately maintain the fishery

at its present level.  The typical number and type of warm-water or

coarse fishes was nil.  Free growing pondweed, water weed, carrots and

parsley, etc., and/or water milfoil masses from upstream which were

caught on some of the boulders or were drifting in eddies, as well as

in the streambed itself, supported good populations of three kinds of

snails, as well as a large and greatly diversified aquatic insect

population.  Some encrusting algae was noted on all the rocks.

     In this stretch of the river the aesthetic value of the stream is

extremely high.  The general color of the river was emerald; and the

water was colorless.  The stable bottom was covered with encrusting


growths of green algae and diatoms (yellow-brown algae).  Light fishing

and other uses from bankside were noted.  Uses for other water-contact

and boating sports were nil.  Waterfowl in season use will be light,

but upland and small game bankside use was heavy.

     A major (about 10 percent) irrigation diversion was noted on the

right bank at about River Mile HF.35oO.  In general, with the exception

of rib fish screen, this diversion does not cause any adverse effect to

the other uses of the stream.  However, a major adverse effect to the

stream at River Mile HF 33.02 was noted from an unscreened diversion dam

at this point.  Below this diversion (River Mile HF 33.02 at the south-

west edge of St. Anthony, Idaho) the North Fork isn't much, more than a

trickle.  The evidence indicated the streambed had been essentially dry

for some period of time.  In this conditio^stock watering is the only

possible use it would have until irrigation water had been returned to

the natural stream.

     Snake River near Lorenzo, Idaho

     This reach of the Snake River also supports an excellent, well-

balanced salmonid (non-migratory) fishery, including rainbow, cutthroat,

brook and brown trout and whitefish.  Gravel beds are of sufficient size

and quality to maintain the fishery at its presently high*level.  Warm-

water and coarse fish populations were nil.  The bulk of the aquatic

vegetation in the stream is planktonic and there was very little unicelUU

      algae on the rocks.  Note, this is different than the situation

observed in the Henrys Fork.  Major fish food production is in eddies

and side channels, not in the main stream.  A good, diversified aquatic


insect population was observed in the eddies and side channels.  It

isn't surprising, then, that many large schools of trout fry and

fingerling and other fishes were also observed.

     Compared to the situation noted in the Henrys Fork, masses of free

aquatic vegetation were conspicuous by their absence.

     The aesthetic value of this section of the river \S. also extremely

high.   The general color of the stream in this reach was a pastel

light-bluish green.  Unlike water of the Henrys Fork, which was colorless,

the water in the Snake at Lorenzo was slightly  milky  (which explains

the pastel appearance).  The water was not, however, turbid, as evidenced

by the fact that the bottom could be easily seen at about an eight-feet

depth (and probably deeper, if such a situation had been found).  The

surfaces of the exposed rocks--not boulders--in the main channels were

as clean as if sand blasted—which, in essence, they were, by bed load


     Bankside use  such as fishing, picnicking, and simple strolling was

light.  Use  for boating and swimming was nil,,  Waterfowl use in season

will be nil also; but upland and small game bankside use was heavy.

Bankside use by big game should be considered "moderate," as evidenced

by tracks and other signs.

     (For what it's worth;  Water which had been stored in Palisades was

being passed through the system to Milner.  The  milky  appearance of the

water had the characteristics of either glacial melt or the very fine

soil loam found in the watershed.  The chances are this milky color  con-

dition was caused by colloids  resuspended  and flushed from Palisades.

There wasn't enough to effectively reduce transparency to any degree at

the time of observation, but there could have been enough to cloud the

river at a later date.

     Teton River, North Fork, Sugar City
     (S837.4  HF20.4  Til.7 - 12.0)

     This reach of the Teton River system supports a good, balanced

population of native varieties of many coarse fishes (chubs, suckers,

minnows and daces).  Only two small trout were observed.  Spawning

areas for more desirable species of fishes were destroyed by silt and

blue-green algae.  Bankside evidence shows streamflow is highly irregr,

ular, intermittent, and essentially uncontrolled.  During many periods

the bedload would be composed of large amounts of sand and mud.  The

bottoms of riffle areas were stabilized with rock and gravel; which,
in turn, were covered with pennate diatoms.  The remainder of the bottom

was covered with a combination of gravel, sand, and silt.  Beds of water-

weeds, pondweed, and water milfoil were very much in evidence.  In the

riffle areas, forms of caddisfliesj stoneflies, and mayflies, and one

type of snail were observed.  In all areas an abundance of strainer

types of insect larvae were found (evidence of organic suspended matter).

In addition, dragonfly larvae were discovered in the Micro-pond sections

(eddys) prowling in search of prey among the submerged vegetation.

     With the exception of local "Huck Finns," the aesthetic value of

this reach of the stream is nil.  (This is not to say that its use by

adverturesome boys is to be ignored.  This may well be its highest order

of utility.)  Other recreational uses (boating, picnicking, etc») are

non-existent.  The major single purpose use is irrigation by pump.

Waterfowl use (ducks and coots) is heavy for the size of the stream,

as is the bankside use by upland and small game; but this is accidental.

Use by big game was also largely accidental<>


     In summary, the above situation is what should be expected.  In

the above instance we have observed and sampled a small, relatively

non-descript stream flowing through a single-purpose, well-regimented

community.  Need we say more?

     Teton River, South Fork, Rexburg     •• "j ?.•   * ••'• 1" T
     (S837.4  HF 11.1  T8.5)

     This stream supports a good population of creek chub and varieties

of other small species of coarse fishes such as native minnows and daces.

No trout were observed or raised, whitefish being the most important

sport fish.  In this reach the streambed is comprised of a series of

riffles, bars, pockets, and pools.  The streambed in riffle areas was

covered by rock, gravel or gravel and clay.  Bar areas were composed

of gravel and clay.  The bottoms of pools and pockets were covered

with soil-type sludge.  In the pools and pockets with good hydraulic

circulation, pondweeds, milfoil, and filamentous green algae beds were

noted in association with various typical insect larvae and small fish

species.  Large schools of creek chub were noted.  There were many

snails per rock on those rocks not covered by a slick film of soil.

Very little green algae or diatom growth was noted in riffle and bar

areas.  Encrusting algae was observed growing on the slick mud surfaces

between the rocks.  Fly larvae of the strainer-type were the most contnon

form of insects.

     With the exception of reruse by local children, this stream has no

aesthetic value.  Garbage has been freely dumped into it; and the remains

of a cow were noted in the stream.  The color of the water was clear,

even though the general appearance of the stream was slightly milky.


Bankside recreational use is nil.  The use of pockets and pools by

waterfowl in season would be heavy.  Upland and small game use varies

from moderate to heavy, depending upon the type and degree of cover.

No use by big dame was noted.  Two pumps for irrigation were observed.

Barnyard drainage into the river was seen at one location.  The flow

of this stream must be uncontrolled, and varies seasonally by several

orders of magnitude.  Its present major uses are irrigation and stock

watering.  The potential of this stream for other water oriented uses

is zero.  Over-grazed pastures used for garbage dumps and/or beet or

corn fields just do not lend themselves to highly developed, intensely

used recreational areas. - Moreover, the human population is too sparse

to justify any recreational development on this "creek."

     Snake River, Henrys (North) Fork Above the Mouth
     (S840  HF 9-10)

     The Henrys Fork in this section supports a very limited^  inter-

mittent  but well- balanced non-migratory salmonid fishery and white

fish in season.  The sizes, quality, and use of gravel beds for spawning

purposes are adequate to maintain the fishery at its present low level.

Stream volume fluctuation is the major limiting factor.  Rock, gravel,

and/or sand cover most of the bottom.  Sand and mud cover the bottom

in eddies and protected areas, with the mud layer usually on top.

Since the bottom and banks were covered by rock, gravel and/or sand,
it is probable that the silt was carried into the stream by irrigation

return water.  The streambed was stabilized and on and around the rocks

a good, diverse insect population was found, with one species of snail

in association with limited but adequate encrusting green algae and

diatom growth.  Emergent duckweed was the prevalent plant in eddies,

but pondweed and waterweed were also noted.


     In this reach the stream is reasonably confined in its upper part

and meanders with many side channels in the lower part.  Aesthetic

attraction is high.  The general color of the river was a dark, slightly

olive, brown-green; and the water was colorless.  Light fisherman use

was noted, with other bankside uses being nil.  Uses for other water-

contact and boating sports is non-existent.  Use by waterfowl will be

moderate; but bankside use by upland and small game was heavy.  Bankside

use by big game was very light.  In summary, as long as the single purpose

use of the stream for irrigation prevails, all of the other possible uses

which are in conflict with this use will be either very light or non-


     Snake River Above Idaho FA!Is
     (S804.7 - S820)

     This highly controlled reach of the Snake River supports a healthy

natural cold-water game fishery of moderate quality„  Rainbow and

cutthroat trout, with whitefish in season, are the major game fish

species.  Coarse fish species in far greater number.s and kinds include

chubs, suckers, perch, squawfish, minnows and daces.  Most of the bank

area is well stabilized by either riprap, emergent aquatics (cattail,

bulbrush, etc,) or trees (willow, cottonwood, etc,).  The game fish

population is not limited by either lack of spawning gravel or food;

it is, however, limited and curtailed by mismanagement of the streamflow.

Extensive beds of submerged (waterweed, coontail, and pondweed) and

emergent (arrowleaf and duckweed) aquatics in eddies and alongside the

Main Channel were very much in evidence.  These luxuriant growths were


noted to occur in areas where prodigious quantities of mud,or sand

and mud>had been deposited.  These sediments had the characteristics

of the local topsoil.  In general, all types and kinds of aquatic life

were in good supply.

     Fisherman use, either from bankside or by boat, was slight.  Other

recreational use was nil.  Waterfowl (mostly ducks) will be moderate

and the use by upland and small game was moderate.  Big game use was

very light.  This general area is good for bird watchers.

     The aesthetic value of this section is high.  The general color

of the stream was a dark, slightly sandy, olive green.  The color of

the water was a very light, milky tan.  The water is usually clear in

this reach; however, the scouring effect of water being passed from

Palisades to Minidoka resuspended a large quantity of silt.  In addition,

tremendous quantities of rooted.submerged aquatics were torn loose by

the  surging action of the water.  The amount of plant material thus

uprooted was so large it created a special problem of considerable

magnitude at the powerhouses, where it was necessary for employees to

continually clean trash racks, while normal cleaning frequently is once

or twice a week.  A major unscreened irrigation diversion was noted at

the lower end of this section, but it was not being used at this time.

     Snake River Near Shelley
     (S790 - S793)

     This unscreened section of the Snake River supports a moderate

bankside trout fishery.  The quality and sizes of the gravel beds are

sufficient to support spawning and fish food production for a fishery

of greater magnitude and quality than     presently exists.  The stable


bottom is covered mostly with rock and gravel.  The eddies and channel

side areas held the typical coarse fish types and kinds — such as chubs,

suckers, daces, and minnows--as well as perch, in moderate tnumbers.

The ratio of trout of all sizes to the other fishes was estimated to be

about 1:100.  Small masses of pondweed, with some waterweed and floes

of filamentous green algae, were noted drifting downstream in the main

channel, indicating that upstream trash racks above were not collecting

all flotsam.  Several species of duckweed, and filamentous and unicellular

algae were observed growing in all eddies and side areas.  Unicellular

green algae clumps with entrained gas were noted floating "lilly pad like"

in side areas.  This condition and the accompanying type of snail shows

the bottom in this situation to be very enriched organically.

    The aesthetic value of this reach is still high.  The general color

of the river was a light olive green-brown, indicating a good diatom

population.  The color of the water was a very light milky ochre.  With

the exception of bankside fishermen and fishing from a boat, other water-

contact use was nil.  The use of this reach by docks will be moderate,

but the use by upland and small game is heavy.  Use by big game is


     A major unscreened diversion and rock weir were noted at about

S791.  Although it was not in use during the survey, evidence showed

that it had been heavily used shortly before.  Several Rainey wells for

stock watering and pasturage irrigation were observed.  Coarse fish


populations are enhanced by the provisions of spawning beds in the

muddy sand side areas somewhere above the weir.  Nothing from these

areas enhances a salmonid population.  In fact, when competition

between juveniles is considered, enhancement of the coarse fish

population would have a negative effect upon the trout population.

     Blackfoot River Near Mouth    .    .t,  i'ol. >
     (S751.2  Br i.l to BF5.0)

     This reach of the Blackfoot supports a good, well-diversified

population of small varieties of coarse fish, but rainbow and cutthroat

trout are present.  Compared to the flow at the southwest corner of the

town of Blackfoot, streamflow at the mouth is reduced to a trickle.

The upper reaches of the stream support an outstanding trout fishery.

During the survey, water for irrigation "down the valley" was removed

by either direct pump or syphon.  This highly controlled and levied

stream was observed in back of the filling station at the edge of town,

to the left at the slaughter house, to the left at the Mormon Church,

downstream by the Val Lee Dairy Bridge, and in  the swampy area of

approximately^? J). 1.  Water removal was especially noticeable between

the Mormon Church turnoff and the Val Lee Dairy, a road distance of

about 3 miles.  The primary use was for green pasturage at this time.

     This stream below the town of Blackfoot has been so drastically

changed from its natural state that it resembles the drainage ditch

which—in addition to the re-use of its water — it is.  It is not suggested

that the stream would have the comparable uses  and high capacity for


production of either the Sandy, Willowa, or even the Klickitat Rivers.

The soil is too light, agricultural practices poor, flow insufficient,

and water demands too great to harbor such notion.  But the BlackfocT

River has much higher potential than is presently realized.

     This reach of the stream in general has a very alluvial bottom.

Occasionally a few rocks can be observed.  In the channel, prodigious

quantities of submerged aquatics such as pondweed, waterweed, and

filamentous algae can be observed.  When possible, the muddy bottom

also supports a good diatom (pennates) population.  Diptera larvae

were found associated with the silt, and dragon fly and damsel fly

nymphs were found in association with both the pondweed and green algae

masses.  Other insect types and kinds in reduced numbers were found,

but this stream during this survey had the general characteristics of

a moderately organically enriched pond.

     The Val Lee Dairy is established on the river bank at aboutSF2.

This is the location of the first road bridge above the mouth (BK1).

Bankside and in-stream evidence show this dairy discharges a large

proportion of its waste directly to the stream.  A good gravel outcropping

was noted in this area, but very few aquatic organisms could be found.

The few that were found were the highly resistant, micro-strainer type.

     The aesthetic value of this reach of the stream is very low and

with the exception of high waterfowl and upland and small game use,

non-agricultural uses are nil.

     Snake River, Tilden Bridge

     This section of the Snake River supports a high quality rainbow

and cutthroat trout fishery in season.  Most of the bottom is covered

by rock and/or gravel.  The gravel beds are of sufficient size and

quality to maintain the excellent trout fishery.  The typical numbers

and types of coarse fishes are moderate in  the  stream, but large numbers

of coarse fishes  (including perch and crappie)  inhabit the lower stretch

and American Falls Reservoir.

     Green algae  and  diatoms  are the dominant plants in  the  stream;'

but in  shallows the dirt and/or sand bars support good stands of

submerged and emergent aquatics.  Duckweed, pondweed, and waterweed

are the dominant  kinds.  In addition to the snails observed, rising

fish and thousands of swallows feeding over the water give evidence  of

an excellent aquatic  insect population.

     The aesthetic value of the stream is high.  The current is fast,

but the water is  not  too roilled.   Bankside fisherman use is moderate,

and fisherman use by  boat is  also moderate.  The general color of the

river was an olive green brown.  The water was  slightly milky.  Waterfowl

use in  season will be heavy for ducks and moderate for geese.  Upland

and small game use was heavy, but big game use was light.  Other water

contact uses such as  waterskiing, boating, etc., (but not picnicking)

was moderate.  Irrigation use by pump and rainey well was moderate.

Spray irrigation  was  the method most often employed.


     Portneuf River Above Inkom
     Above Confluence with Marsh Creek
     (S736  P 22-43)

     This reach of this small, meandering, drastically controlled

stream has an excellent trout (rainbow and cutthroat) population in

the upper portion, and a moderate trout population in the lower portion.

There was a relatively heavy population of coarse fish—mostly minnows,

daces and creek chub, but some carp and suckers, in pools.   This stream's

lower reaches are a series of short riffles and long runs and pools.   The

riffles are from gravel and rock outcropping, and the runs have gravel

or sandbar outcropping; otherwise it has a soft to mud-clay covered

bottom.  Moderate growths of pondweeds were noted in pools, and duckweed

was most prevalent along the bank and shoal area.  The usual assortment

of aquatic insects was not found.  Reduced numbers of both kinds and

population show that the stream in this reach is not too productive.

Most of the insects observed were heat-resistant, micro-strainer types

which strain suspended organic particulate matter from the water.  A

reduced population of algae and diatoms was also observed.

     The river in this stretch has only a moderate aesthetic value.

During these observations the water was clear, but evidence (very muddy

bottom) shows it could get highly turbid in short order.  Waterfowl

and big game use is light; however, big game hunting above the reservoir

is always moderate.  Small and upland game use is moderate.  With the

exception of one State park which may be considered a beneficial

aesthetic use, the major uses of this stream are for stockwatering

and for spray irrigation.  Frankly, by the looks of some of the "Peter

Tumbledown Farm" and the  skin and bone nags and  cows--it's a  shame to

waste the water.


     Marsh Creek

     The right hand tributary of the Portneuf River flows north to join

the Portneuf River less than a mile above the village of Inkom, Idaho.

     Briefly, this very meandering, highly controlled, and turbid, shallow

stream is about three quarters filled with pondweed.  The general color

of the stream is a grey olive green.  The color of the water is the same

as the general soil color--whitish grey.  The estimated summer flow of

Marsh Creek is about three times that of the Portneuf at their confluence.

The major use is for irrigation.  Some farmers had ditches and some use

sprayers.   All of the sprayers had pumps; but not all of the ditch farmers

had to pump.  Direct stockwatering was moderate.  Upland and small game

use was heavy.  Big game use was light and sport fish (trout) and other

water-contact uses is non-existent.  (Two reservoirs, which are drained

annually, provide the only fishable water.)

     In addition to the agricultural uses, the best use of this stream--

turbid or otherwise—is for increasing the flow of the Portneuf.  That is,

if the submerged aquatics, with the junk and garbage the stream has

received, do not drastically reduce its flow.  In addition, floating lily

pflds of unicellular algae were moderate to heavy, depending on the hydrology

and geomorphology of the particular site.  These lily p^.DS are evidence

of bottom enrichment by a thin layer of organic settleable solids.

     Portneuf River Below Pocatello    •   _    .•
     (S736  P 10-11.7)

     In the upper portion of this reach the stream is a highly turbid

creek, perhaps two feet deep in summer.  In this portion coarse fish

such as carp and suckers were found in moderate numbers.  No self-

respecting game fish would be caught dead in the place, although a fev;


may pass through as tourists.  The general color of the stream was

milky light grey.  There were a moderate number of gravel and small

rock outcroppings in the stream bed, but the interstices were filled

with a very fine textured silt.  Solids from intermittent industrial

wastes had built up a thin, grey, brittle, gypsum, egg-shell type

coating on the exposed surface of rocks.  In the stream area immediately

exposed to Sitnplot's lower outfall, the rocks did not have this thin

grey plating.  This suggests a dissolving or corrosive capacity in the


     Many springs and sources of irrigation return water were noted in

this reach.  Midge larvae, green algae and a few snails were observed

growing only in areas fed by the springs or returned irrigation water.

Dead snails, clams, suckers, and carp were found in the upper portion

of this reach.  In" addition, a dead rabbit and two quail (uneaten) were

found on two of the gravel bars, suggesting that some toxicity in the

water rather than predators caused death.  (It was too early in the year

for death to be due to age.)

     Conditions are somewhat changed in the lower reach of this section.

The stream here is about ten times as big as it was above, due to spring

inflows.  The bottom was covered with rocks which were coated with silt.

Diatoms were noted growing on this surface.  Pond and waterweeds, in
association with the more tolerant forms of insects (dragon flies,

damsel flies, etc.), were noted growing throughout this section, where

depth and/or light penetration permitted.  The general color of the river

was a milky,--tan-brown but the water was a light, milky rust color.  A


rowboat with a fouled bottom was noted tied up in front of one of the

bankside residences.  Considering all of the aquatic weeds in this section,

waterfowl use might be moderate.  Game fish (rainbow and cutthroat trout,

crappie, perch and bullhead) use was light, limited, and intermittent.

Coarse fish (all kinds and types) use was moderate; and there was no use

by big game.  Considering that much of the lowland area is swampy or

cultivated, use by small and upland game animals would probably be light.

This area has no positive aesthetic value.

     American Falls Reservoir
     (S715 - S745)

     This largest (1.7 million acre-feet) unscreened impoundment of the

upper Snake has an extremely high aesthetic value when it is full and

clear; and a very low—depressing even negative--aesthetic value when

it is either supporting a trememdous algae bloom or is highly turbid

after maximum drawdown (empty).  The major single purpose use of this

reach is for downstream irrigation; however, efficient use--by program-

ming—is made of this passed water for power production.  Apparently,

whenever possible, compatible power and irrigation water schedules are

formulated.  The second most important use is for the assimilation and/or

transport of various wastes.  These wastes vary in character from chemical

processes to irrigation return water.

     During spring months, essentially all uses are compatible and the

quality high.  As the reservoir is drained and the shoreline and bottom

become bare, the reservoir now produces a tremendous crop of planktonic,

obnoxious algae which possibly is only used by ducks.  As soon as drawdown


is complete, passed-through water stirs the very light bottom sediments

into suspension and causes the river to be highly turbid and colored for

a considerable distance downstream--at least to Milner.  Under these condi-

tions fish food production, sport fishing success, aesthetics water-contact

sports and most other uses are nil.  (It may well be pointed out "swimmers

itch" is most often associated with ducks and algae blooms.)  Conditions

enhance coarse fish population and, to date, sport fish (brown, cutthroat

and rainbow trout, crappies, perch, and bullheads)-like shellfish, populations

 ave shown a seasonal and intermittent negative response in the reservoir.

However,, coarse fish support a commercial fishery of considerable magnitudes

In season, goose shooting is moderate-to-good in the upper third of the

reservoir (geese like this type of habitat).  Only occasionally is duck

shooting fair,  After drawdown, the fishing effort in the reservoir is nil

but is moderate-to-heavy in the upper end of the "lake" and in the river.

As for picnickers, they just don't enjoy themselves in a dust storm.  This

situation is not compatible with either a highly productive sport fishery

with accompanying water and bankside uses, waterfowl, or even moderate

upland and small game use.  (There is public access along most of the lake,

but it is difficult to get to the shoreline.)

     Uses are the guidelines of this report; however, the following comments

must be made regarding the wildlife resources.  When the reservoir is full

the water is cool and clear.  The depth of light penetration is — let's say--

20 feet (the photo zone).  Maximum photosynthesis occurs in this prism of

the lake regardless of whether the plants are planktonic, submerged, or

semi-emergent (such as duckweed).  Below this depth relatively no photo-

synthesis occurs and as a result no plants.  The average depth


of the reservoir is 30 feet.  When the depth of the reservoir is

reduced 10 feet it is only natural to suppose that the rest of the

bottom now would receive sufficient light for plants to grow, but this

is usually not the case.  Algae blooms and turbidity reduce light

penetration to a few feet.  Ducks are divided into two feeder types--

dabblers and divers.  Dabblers--such as mallards—inhabit the shallow

areas and are partly submerged as they gobble up the ooze, snails and

clams, worms, algae, and plants and seeds that are found usually under

these natural conditions.  Divers, on the other hand, f gad Along the bottom

in water 6 to 20 feet deep and, with the exception of fish, eat the same

foods that dabblers do.  Sustained natural food production for waterfowl,

upland game birds  (burr weed,  smartweed and duckweed) and sportfishes

 in this reservoir is nil.  Agricultural crop depredation by some species

 is extremely likely.

      Snake River Below American Falls
      (S695 - S714)

      Coarse fish production in this reach of the Snake River is extremely

 high.  Carp and suckers to 10 pounds and chub to 4 pounds are relatively

 common.   Bullheads are so numerous they are stunted.   Rainbow trout--to

 at least 10 pounds—are the primary game fish species.   The ratio of

 coarse to game fish is probably at least 1000:1.   Limited spawning gravels

 of dubious quality require the game fishery to be maintained by hatchery

 plants.   Area of bankside fishermen use is  extremely  limited; but use is

 heavy where it occurs.   Fishermen use by boat is light.   Crayfish and

 clams also inhabit the area,  but  in very small numbers.   Other water-contact


uses such as boating, water skiing, picnicking, camping, and birdwatching,

are nil.  The Snake River in this stretch is--essentially--in a canyon,

thus access is extremely limited.  This does not subtract from its worth;

indeed, could add to it for purposes such as boating, if it were not for

the extensive beds of waterweed, pondweed, filamentous green algae, and

duckweed and/or coontail.  This stretch of the Snake River is a natural

"Duck Heaven."  A situation enhanced by the fact that—in addition to its

limited access and isolation—it is adjacent to the Minidoka National

Wildlife Refuge and a considerable acreage of croplands.  Again, this area
is. a natural for ducks, but its use by geese is limited.  The canyon is a

series of pockets and constrictions which resemble a series of eggs strung

on a piece of spaghetti.  In pockets the channel is well defined by the

lack of weeds, but the shoulders of the channel and the eddys are filled

with extensive weed beds growing on the deposited silt.  In the areas

protected from wind and current green algae blooms were noted to be so

heavy it appeared as if someone had poured green paint on the water surface.

This is fine duck food, but a latent BOD load of significant proportions.

    "Small game, upland game, big game and stockwatering use is limited,

but heavy where possible.  Nutrient enrichment is also provided by

irrigation return water.  Many semi-pond type aquatic insects in good

numbers are found in association with the weed beds.

     During these observations the general color of the river was white-

light grey.  The general color of the water was milky.  At this time the

aesthetic value was extremely low.  This is evidenced by the fact over 24

(by actual count) fishermen were overheard cursing the highly turbid


 condition,  and  didn't  even  gear  up  to  give  it  a  try.   The bullhead  and

 carp fishermen  used  worms,  dough balls,  or  salmon  eggs for  bait.  Trout

 fishermen,  for  the most  part,  used  artificial  lures  in addition to  worms,

 but usually caught chub  instead  of  trout.  [On  several  occasions,  a  young

 fisherman with  light tackle was  observed tangling  arm  pits  with a large

—over 10 pounds—carp.   Of  course the  carp  won the contest, but that kid

 had enough  adrenalin in  his system  to  last  a

      This highly  turbid  condition (maybe a  couple  of inches reading with a

 secchi disc)--the  result of complete drawdown  in American Falls Reservoir--

 started an  approximately August  22,  1966, and  prevailed throughout  the

 survey period.  Grousing fishermen  said  this situation happens  annually,

 but that the time  and  length of  occurrence  vary.

      Presently, the  average aesthetic  value of this  reach in general is

 low, but the appearance  of  the area just below the dam for  a distance of

 approximately one-half mile is so low  it makes the Black Hole of  Calcutta

 appear like a flower garden by comparison.  Dying, dead, decaying fish

 of all species  were  noted piled  on  the bank, windrowed along the  shore,

 or in free  floating  mats in the  eddies.   Blow  flies  were everywhere and

 on everything.  The  sewage  treatment plant  effluent  added also  to this

 deplorable  situation.  Sphaerotilus was  very much  in evidence,  being

 particularly noticeable  in  the local park and  recreational  area,  which

 includes a  float  (dock)  and one  of  the few  boat  launching facilities.

      Raft River
      (S692   R 1.4)

      This small stream flows through an  over-grazed  valley  very similar

 in appearance to  the Grand  Coulee in the State of  Washington.  For  the


period of these observations,it was essentially filled with dead tumble-

weeds (blown in by the wind) and filamentous green algae.

     Compared to the numbers and kinds of coarse fishes observed, the

game fish (trout) population would be in a minute minority.  The coarse

fishes were mostly minnows, daces, suckers, and .a few chub.

     Cool water pond type insects were in abundant supply, both as to

type and numbers, in association with the filamentous green algae masses.

Snails were also present, but their numbers were relatively few.  In the

lower reach of the river stockwatering is the major use.  More than two

herds of over 200 cows were observed.

     The river bed of the Raft River is composed of dirt, sand, and some

gravel.  The general color of the stream was green (from the algae) but

the water itself was colorless.  The aesthetic value of this reach of the

stream is low because of the tumbleweeds.

     Waterfowl use of the stream will be low but the use by upland and

small game is very heavy.  Included are rabbits, quail, pheasants, and

doves.  Big game (mule deer) use is light in this reach.  All other uses,

with the possible exception of irrigation, are either light or non-existent.

     Ignoring the tumbleweeds, cow pies, and masses of algae for the moment,

the clear gurgling water of the Raft was very pleasant to observe and hear

in an area that has so much muddy, weed-choked water.

     Snake River, Minidoka Dam to Bur ley   ••:
     (S654 - S674.9)

     Most of the fishes in this reach are coarse fish of many species.

Trout, bass, catfish and perch are the primary sport fish, but many of

these were found to be in relatively short supply.  The artificial trout

fishery, however, is good.  Stream gradient is low and, as a result, the


river meanders slightly through this section.  The banks and islands are

well stabilized by luxuriant growths of bulrush, cattail, sedge, spike-

rush horsetail, willow, cottonwood, burrweed, dock, etc.  The bottom of

the river is covered mostly by mud or mud (silt) and sand.  Clean gravel

bars were few in number and limited in size, thus spawning areas for

game fish species are slight.  In many respects this highly controlled

section of the Snake River resembles a long, shallow, narrow lake filled

to a significant degree with pondweeds, waterweed and, to a lesser extent,

watermilfoil.  Moderate types and numbers of pond types of aquatic insects

were noted in association with the weedbeds; however, the snail, clam, and

crayfish populations were very light.  Bankside fishing was light and,

with the exception of the State park, other water oriented recreational

uses were either very light or non-existent.  Use by waterfowl will be .

heavy in season as is use by upland and small game.  No use by big game

was observed.  Stockwatering was very light, as was the amount of pumping

directly from the river.  Agricultural crops or scrub high desert type

brush cover most of the land adjacent to the river.

    .The aesthetic value of some portions of this section are moderate

at best; and, bankside deposits of trash, garbage, agricultural refuse,

carbodies, broken cement products (Idaho Cement Products), and cement

mixer washings reduce further the general appearance of the area.

     The general color of the river was a light, muddy, diatom brown,

but the water was slightly milky colored.

     Main Drain (Rupert District)             )
     (S642 MD 0.2 - 1.7)

     Minnows, chubs and carp made up the bulk of the fish population.

The pond type aquatic insect population was composed mostly of dragon


and damsel fly nymphs, with several types of beetles, diptera (fly)

larvae, bloodworms, and one species of snail.  Grass frogs in moderate

abundance were also observed.  A significant portion of the very soft

mud bottom supported stands of either cattail or pondweeds with fila-

mentous green and/or blue-green algae.  The water was quite turbid from

suspended solids and colored.a tawny diatom brown.  Free pondweeds were

of sufficient magnitude to require two screens and one syphon (culvert)

to be cleaned at least once a day.  Extremely turbid irrigation return

water was observed entering the canal at two locations.  In general this

is good habitat for dabbler type ducks and teal.  The banks and immedi-

ately adjacent areas offer excellent upland and small game habitat.

Two pumps for irrigation were observed and one stockwatering site was

noted.  The aesthetic value of the Main Drain Canal is slight, and it  .

has no other potential uses.

     Snake River, Milner Dam to Shoshone Falls Dam
     (S615.01 - 640.0)

     In this reach the Snake River, reduced to a trickle, flows through

a basalt, often precipitous, canyon which frequently is hundreds of feet

deep.  Immediately below Milner Dam the water was relatively clear but

slightly milky colored.  At Murtaugh, the water was turbid and colored

a clay tan brown.  From Hansen downstream it was extremely turbid and

colored brown.  Diatoms were the most prevalent plant.  Surprisingly,

with the exception of "igloo" type caddis flies, most other typical forms

of aquatic insects were well represented in moderate supply.  Fingernail

clams were found in the fine gravel sandy mud substrate, and the supply

of snails was also moderate.  Minnows and small chub were the dominant


fish forms; however, bankside evidence showed that sportfish species

were present in discreet loads at least intermittently.  Irrigation

water cascading over the cliff as it was returned to the river was

frequently observed.  With the exception of use by repTiles--lizards

and snakes--wildlife use of the area is non-existent because of isolation

and desolation.  Although awe-inspiring, the aesthetic value of this dark,

sunbaked, colorless canyon is less than if there was sufficient river

flow to provide spray and roar from the Cascades and rapids.

     Rock Creek Below Twin Falls
     (S606.8 RC 8.2)

     This creek supports a moderate population of native coarse fish

species—mostly minnows,' daces, and chub.  Tourist small trout are known

to infrequently inhabit this reach.  Juvenile "Huck Finns" use the area

lightly to moderately.  Small and upland game use is moderate; but othe'r

uses, including waterfowl, are light.

     This creek flows through a trash dump area, past a typical cement

and gravel operation, through a wrecking yard, and on down the valley.

Access is very limited.  The creek bottom was largely covered by mud,

but a few rocks and some exposed gravel beds were found.  Pondweeds and

diatoms were found growing profusely where bottom characteristics allowed.

The creek was turbid and had the color of olive brown.  The water color

was a light, milky tan.

     Salmon Falls Creek i/L:='
     (S586.7  SF 0.6)

     Carp and suckers were noted to be the most common fishes.  Minnows

were also noted in moderate abundance, but only three trout were observed.

Crappie and perch are also found.  Pondweeds were very abundant; and in


association with green algae, a good, diverse insect population was

noted".  The creek was full of sport and coarse fish food.  A black

carp--probably blind--was observed feeding on the snails and insects

in the pondweed masses.  The general color of the stream was slightly

milky but the water was colorless.  The bottom was covered by some small

rocks, but mostly by pebbles in association with sandy clay mud.

     A significant portion of the stream contained tumble weeds which

had been blown in by the wind.

     A mineral spring Spa was noted in the vicinity.  Taking this into

consideration, horseback riding up the valley is a bankside use not often

taken into account.  These uses, and stockwatering, was moderate, all

other uses are either light or non-existent.  The major use of this stream

is irrigation.
     Snake River - Hageman

     (S582.5 - S584".4)

     Although in this general area of the Snake more trout are produced

commercially per acre-feet of water than anywhere else in the world, the

river itself is a mud hole and its primary use is waste transport.  The

paramount fringe benefit of this area is its heavy use by waterfowl;

however, the artificial trout fishery is good.

     The flow of the river is extremely regulated, which causes all

impoundments to function as catch and settling (desilting) basins.  The

river banks are well stabilized and controlled by mostly sedge and

bulrushes.  The channel is covered by rock, gravel, and sand; most of

the bottom, hoxvever, is covered with various kinds of silt.  These light-

weight forms of sediments support luxuriant growths of waterweed, pond-

weeds, coontail and smartweeds.  Duckweed was ever present in eddies and


wind-protected areas.  Carp and sucker feeding activities caused a roilled

water, a condition that is not conducive to sportfish production.  In

addition, colloidal clay particles from return water caused sufficient

turbidity to reduce the secchi disc reading to about 4 feet and maximum

light penetration to about 6 feet.  Coarse fish species observed include

carp, suckers, chub, minnows and daces.  Sportfish species include trout

(two nice size rainbow were observed—dead) white sturgeon, and species

of spiny rays (bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish).  If the aesthetic

values of the "1,000 springs" and waterfowl population are ignored, the

aesthetic value of this reach approaches zero when the water is muddy.

With the exception of waterfowl use, which will be heavy and upland and

small game use, which is moderate, other uses are either light or non-existent.

Bankside fishermen use is moderate and fishermen use by boat is also moderate.

Because of the bird refuge in the immediate vicinity, bird watching use will

be moderate and so also was stockwatering when possible,,  Three fishing

boats were observed and six others were heard using this reach.  There were

two public and two private launching facilities.  Most of the natural clam

and mussel populations has disappeared because of suffocation.  Diatoms

and unicellular green algae were also found to be in moderate supply.

     The general color of the stream in this reach was a greenish tan

diatom brown.  The lightweight colloidal clay caused the color of the

water to be milky.

     Snake River, Marsing to Adrian
     (S424.0 - S402)

     The river meanders with reasonably good flow through this stretch,

with the banks well stabilized by growths of cattail, sedge, bulrush,

and/or grass.  The bottom^in the main stem is covered by gravel, sand,


and/or sand and mud, and in the back waters is covered by sand and other

various kinds of silt.  The higher the velocity the larger—and heavier--

were the particle sizes of the sediments.  Trout, bass--two kinds, channel

catfish, crappie, bluegill, bullhead, and sturgeon are the sportfishes

found in this sector.  Coarse fish species included carp, suckers, chub,

minnows, daces, and squaw fish.  In general, the spawning areas for

sportfish are adequate.

     The general color of the river was a dark green diatom brown.  Diatoms

and unicellular green algae were the most abundant plants.  The color of

the water was excellent and practically clear.  Aquatic insects were in

good supply, and the population was moderately diverse.  An occasional

turbid streak from irrigation return water (west bank at Marsing) was

noted; however, because of the dilution factor, it did not last a great

distance.  Pondweeds and waterweed were observed mostly in the backwaters

and slough areas.  Fishing use, either from bankside or by boat was

moderate.  Other bankside and recreational uses such as picnicking and

waterskiing was light.  Small and upland game use of the area is heavy;

however, the use by big game is very light.  Use by waterfowl, especially

ducks, will be heavy in season.  Shellfish populations are species included

in the fishes' food chain--small clams, snails, and crayfish in relatively

small numbers.  Most of the water for irrigation was from canals, but

stockwatering was common.  Keeping the thought in mind that the aesthetics

of this reach shouldn't be compared with either the situations noted at

St. Anthony or Burley, the aesthetic value of this area is high.  Although


there are no formal parks or picnic areas developod—as such—access

is good.  In general this reach receives light use by picnickers,

waterskiers, and bird watchers, but is rather heavily utilized by


     Jump Creek (S418.2)

     This creek was turbid and milky colored.  The bottom was covered by

fine gravel, clay and silt.  The general appearance of the stream indicated

that flow is intermittent, and was composed in large measure of irrigation

return water much of the time.

     Sucker Creek (411.8  SC 0.8)

     The water in this fast flowing but meandering creek was clear.  The

banks were well stabilized, covered with grass, and the bottom covered by

small rocks and pebbles (truly ?. pleasant sight after observing the Malheur

and Owyhee).  At the time these observations were made, stockwatering and

upland and small game uses were heavy.

     Owyhee River Near Adrian
     (S392.3  02.9)

     This stream in this reach is very slow moving, very turbid, and

colored a tawny diatom tan.  Carp and suckers were the most abundant species

of fish, and their feeding activities caused very roilly conditions in the

water.  The stream bottom was covered mostly by a very fine--lightweight--

silt.  Pondweeds, waterweed, and coontail were noted growing--but not too

profusely--in areas with a firm mud bottom.  Various types of diptera

larvae were the only insects found.

     Small and upland game use is heavy, waterfowl use will be moderate;

and with the exceptions of stockwatering and irrigation, other uses are



     Briefly, the stream in this stretch is unsightly, has limited

use, and essentially no potential.

    Boise River - Parma
    (S391.3  B 5.0)
    In this stretch the highly controlled Boise River was sandy and

turbid.  Various sized masses of pondweeds and coontail in association

with filamentous green and blue-green algae noted in the current.  The

very silty, musty odored bottom—where the sediments were firm--supported

stands of waterweed, pondweeds, coontail and some smartweed in association

mostly by "ooze type" silt.

     Coarse fishes--mostly carp--are the most abundant; however, an

occasional trout, and bass, catfish, perch, crappie and whitefish support

a moderate sport fishery.  Small and upland game use is heavy and water-

fowl (ducks) use will be moderate.  With the exception of transport for

wastes—both industrial and agricultural — other uses are nil.

     Malheur River
     (S368.5  MO.4)

     This turbid, highly colored stream supports an abundant carp and   ___

sucker population.  There was a small amount of filamentous green algae

found along the banks near the surface of the water.  Diatoms were the

most abundant plants.  The bottom was covered mostly with a fine mud and

ooze.  A few gravel and sand bars were kept clean by the current.  Septic

conditions were noted in sediment more than an inch deep.

     The major use of this stream is for irrigation water, both for waste

transport and supply.  Small and upland game use was heavy, waterfowl use

for resting moderate, and stockwatering light.  Within reason, no other

uses exist.  This stream is used essentially for irrigation, and any other

use—regardless of its magnitude—is accidental and coincidental.


     Payette River
     (S365.6  P 2.1 - P 4.1)

     The major portion of the fish population in this—or any stretch

of the Payette River below Black Canyon Reservoir—reach is coarse fish

types.  A moderate sport fishery is supported by channel catfish, bullheads,

bass, crappie, perch, and a few trout.  Access to the river is moderate,

and a "hurry and wait" sport fishery exists.  (Hurry to get there and wait

until a fish bites.)  Bankside fisherman use is moderate also.  Spawning

areas for the fish species present are adequate.  In the winter time there

is also an under-used whitefish fishery (like the Yakima River).  Other

water-contact recreational uses are nil.  This stream is used primarily for

the transport and assimilation of wastes.  Among these wastes are included

discharged materials from slaughterhouses, feedlots, and irrigated fields.

Small and upland game use was heavy.  Waterfowl use (resting) will be

moderate and big game use is non-existent.  Stockwatering--other than

feedlot—use was light (the family cow, for example).

     Juveniles were observed fishing and beachcombing in the effluent from

the Wells-Davies slaughterhouse.  The malpractice of discharging untreated

slaughterhouse wastes should be stopped immediately in the public interest.

Cows, hogs, and sheep are natural vectors or intermediate hosts for human

parasites.  A few of these are as follows:

mamma 1 s



secretions and
  PARASITE               HOST           FORM                 SOURCE
Giant Roundworm
Small Tapeworm
Beef Tapeworm
Pork Tapeworm
Rabbit Fever
(Undulant Fever)
     These parasites are discharged with certain slaughterhouse wastes
and a person in contact with the receiving water would be unduly exposed.
     Bottom sediments are gravel and sandy mud.  The bulk of the aquatic
vegetation was pondweeds in association with filamentous green algae; and
the aquatic insect "population was small and not very diverse.  Snails or
clams were not found.
     The general color of the stream was light, milky, olive tan, and the
aesthetic value is no more than moderate.  This reach of the stream has
been a "catfish hole" for a long period of time.
     Ix>wer_Payette__Canal,_Highway 30 N-95 Bridge_   _
     A very turbid highly colored condition characterized the irrigation
   return water in this canal.  Poor—if not improper--irrigating practices
wash a tremendous amount of silt (topsoil) into this canal, which in turn
discharges its silt load into the Snake River.  A similar situation was
observed also just north of Ontario, Oregon, on Highway 201.  In the latter
area, beets, corn, and onions were the. principal crops.  (On reflection,


the irrigation return water from fields of these crops was infinitely

muddier than it was from potato, hay or grain fields.)  Water pollution

from irrigation return water is oftentimes much more damaging and far

reaching than some of the other sources receiving our attention.

     Weiser River at Weiser
     (S351.8  WO.8)

     All types and kinds of fishes (except sturgeon) are intermittently

found in this reach, but catfish, perch, bullheads, crappie and bass

dominate the moderate sport fishery.  The usual supply of coarse fishes

was also noted.  The water in this section was very turbid and colored

a whitish green tan.  Suspended soil particles and colloids reduced

sunlight penetration to a few inches.  All the aquatic vegetation observed

was of the emergent type; and no submerged aquatics could be found.  Most

of the bottom was covered by mud and/or very fine silt (almost like talc).

Juveniles were observed bank fishing with "stink baits" at three different

locations.  This bankside use is moderate and so is use by upland and

small game; with the exception of waste (including irrigation water)

assimilation, other uses would be either very light o^ non-existent.

     Snake River - Weiser

     The river in this section is a good habitat for most non-salmonid

species of fishes.  Sturgeon fishing is important in this reach.  The

river bottom on the north side was covered by a combination of mud and

gravel.  The bottom on the south side was covered by mud and very fine

silt.  Filamentous green algae and diatoms were noted growing on the

north side; but only a sparse population of diatoms was observed on the

south side.  The bottom sediments stunk, and were colored black underneath the

surface on the south side.


     The general color of the river was a muddy, olive brown.  The color

of the water was a milky, olive tan.

     Both types of fishermen use are heavy, as are other water-oriented

recreational uses.  (There are two well-developed recreational sites in

the area.)  Upland and small game and waterfowl use is moderate.   Big

game use is very light.

     This reach is at the head of Brownlee Pool.  The recreational and

aesthetic values will vary with the pool elevation.

     Brownlee Reservoir
     (S285 - S351)

     This 15,000 SA single-purpose reservoir extends from the

upper end of Hells Canyon to Weiser, Idaho.  Excellent fishing for large

and small mouth bass, crappie, perch, flathead catfish, catfish,  and

sturgeon is found in the upper (relatively shallow) end of the reservoir

and excellent bass and panfish fishing is found throughout the remainder

of the pool.  Frequently good trout fishing is enjoyed also.   There are

five well-developed recreational areas on the reservoir.  Farewell Bend

is located at the upper end on the Oregon side.  The Olds Ferry site is

on the Idaho side, west of Weiser.  The two BLM recreational  sites (Steck

and Beggs) are on the Idaho side of the reservoir west of Cambridge, and

Brownlee Camp is found at the mouth of Brownlee Creek, also west  of

Cambridge.  Fishing and other recreational uses of the remaining  portion

of the reservoir in season is moderate.  Waterfowl use is heavy and upland

and small game and big game use is moderate-to-heavy.


     The general color of the reservoir was an olive green brown.  However,

in the pockets, small bays, and hole-in-the-wall type situation the color

of water was bright green from the algae blooms.  The bloom was so thick

that many of these coves appeared as if the water surface had been covered

with bright green paint.  Oftentimes the algae had been windrowed on the

beach.  In the main body of the reservoir, this situation did not occur

because of the mixing action of the wind.  It should be noted, however,

the concentration of algae cells was present.  During and from "die off"

the BOD of this bloom could cause an appreciable oxygen sag at depth in

the reservoir.  Under this condition, quality of the water passed down-

stream would be greatly impaired.  Changes in the pH, C0_, and ammonia

concentration would also occur.

     Brownlee to Oxbow
     (S273 - S285)

     Coarse fish species--mainly carp--dominate this highly fluctuating

reach of the Snake River.  The naturally produced salmonid population is

essentially nil.  Idaho Power and Light maintains a rainbow trout sport

fishery with moonlight plants, but this is only an attempt to obtain the

goodwill of the public.  Bass, crappie, and catfish are also found in the

reservoir but fisherman use is only moderate—at best--even though bankside

access and boat launching facilities are excellent.

     The bottom is covered by boulders, rocks, gravel and sand which

support good growths of unicellular algae and diatoms.  Extensive beds

of mussels and clams are to be found in the gravel-sand areas.  Submerged

or typical emergent aquatic vegatation was conspicious by its absence.

A moderate planktonic algae bloom was noted; however, since the exchange

rate of the reservoir is high, this bloom probably originated in Brownlee.


     Other water-contact -sport is light, but small and upland game,

waterfowl and big game uses are heavy.   Stockwatering use (pasture)

is moderate.  Other uses are either extremely light or non-existent.

     The aesthetic value of this reach is highly variable, depending

upon the individual.  As a wild area, its value is moderate.

     This single-purpose reservoir exists and is used strictly for power

production.  Any other uses, this reservoir may have are strictly

accidental and coincidental.  A valuable sport fishery could be main-

tained with the proper attitude and application of correct management


     Snake River Below Oxbow
     (S266 - S273)

     Coarse fishes dominate the fishery in this reach.  With the exception

of whitefish, all fish species mentioned for Brownlee and Oxbow are

present.  The sport fishery is supported mostly by cool-to-warm water

types.  This stretch of the river is a series of rapids, riffles, and

pools.  The rock covered bottom was either bare (mostly) or covered by

encrusting green algae and diatoms and sand.  NOTE:  Very little fila-

mentous green algae was observed—all unicellular.

     Extensive clam and/or mussel beds were noted in riffle areas.  The

present stable river banks are covered by bare basalt rocks and boulders.

There undoubtedly will be some readjustment after Hells Canyon Reservoir

is filled.  Present spawning areas are sufficient.  The fluctuation of

the river's flow is inimical to sport fish and enhances the coarse fish



     Thirty-three "sawbills" feeding in the pools of this reach show

the large population of small fish supported in this area.  Waterfowl

use—especially by divers—will be heavy and dabbler use will be at

least light (food shortage).  The use by upland, small and big game is


     The general color of the river was light diatom brown-green.  The

water was colorless and the aesthetic value of the river in this reach

is high.

     The same general statements can be made about the entire Hells

Canyon reach of the Snake River--all the way to the mouth of the


     The present salmon run restoration project concerning Oxbow is a

hoodwinking, public relations stunt, and a waste of time, money, and

especially salmon.

     Snake River
     (SO.O to S139.3)

     Fish species which support an excellent sport fishery include chinook

salmon (three races) coho and sockeye salmon, steelhead trout (two races)

white and green sturgeon, large and small mouth bass, channel and flathead

catfish, perch, crappie, bullheads, and blue'gills and other pan fishes.

The insect population is abundant and diverse.  The shellfish population,

moderate in numbers, includes crayfish, snails, clams and mussels.  The

use of this area by waterfowl is heavy, with considerable nesting done in

localities.  The big game use of the area is moderate and so is the upland

and small game use except in the many locales where the use is heavy

(small game abound along the "Breaks of the Snake").


     The use of this reach for recreational purposes, both waterborne

and bankside, varies from moderate in the upper part to heavy in the

lower part and is to some extent dependent upon access, streamflow, and


     Throughout the area stockwatering is moderate;-and in the upper portion

of the reach, feedlot and holding-pen use is moderately heavy.

     With the exception of a few areas--air pollution at Lewiston, Clear-

water River filled with over a year's supply of logs, foam and brown

streak from PFI in the Snake, blood and paunch discharged just below the

Interstate Bridge, and manure from feedlots and holding pens — the aesthetics

of this reach are high.  .At least two-thirds of this stretch is wild area.

There are very few parks on. other developed recreational sites, but most

of the area is either in the public domain or is open for public use.

This area also contains a large waterfowl refuge.  Access is limited

although the viewpoints, are many.

     Irrigation water is obtained by pump throughout the region and also

by canal on the south side in the lower third portion; but this use is

relatively light.

     The use of the Snake River for waste assimilation and navigation

presently is moderate, but for hydro-power is heavy.

     In a nutshell, all uses are either moderate or heavy with the exceptions

of water supply and irrigation.

   "0=*Rfissummary, the Snake River above Idaho Falls is a well-used but not

mis-used multipurpose stream.  From Idaho Falls to American Falls it loses

many of its non-money making uses and becomes a single-purpose river.


     The cold water fishery and other recreational uses are accidental,

intermittent and in a state of continual change.  From American  Falls

to Marsing the river has only three efficient uses; i.e., irrigation,

power production, and waterfowl habitat.  These are compatibly scheduled

or are not affected.  Coarse fish species dominate the population both

as to kinds and numbers.  From Marsing to Hells Canyon, other uses are

now noted and the moderate-to-heavy fisheries use is of the warmer (cool,

not cold) water type.

     From Hells Canyon to the mouth, the cool water fishery is still

found in'moderate proportions but the most important fisheries are

migratory--salmonid and sturgeon.  In general, from the mouth of the

Salmon River to the mouth of the Snake River, most uses are moderate-to-

heavy, integrated, and much more compatible than many people would suspect.

     In general, the salmonid fisheries can be enhanced several orders of

magnitude with proper management.  This includes the introduction of an

exotic species of fish into the system.  This fish (or fishes) would

serve two important purposes.  The first—but not necessarily the most

important--would be as a natural food and buffer between all of the species

in residence and the.downstream migrant fry and fingerlings.  The second

function would be as a forage fish for all species that presently inhabit

the area.  This would add to size of sport fish which in turn would induce

fisherman harvest more of them.  This (or these) exotics should be of

small size, planktivorous, P£LA<*/C , and have a high reproductive rate.

The great lakes smelt, "white baits," or threadfin shad are examples.


      With the exception of a few areas--Milner to Twin Falls, as

 example--fish production could be increased manyfold by proper, scien-

 tific management.  In many regards the Idaho, Oregon, and Washington Depart-

 ments of Game are as much to blame for missed opportunities as are the

 power companies and irrigation districts for single-purpose management.

      The waste loads allowed (assimilation capacity) should only infre-

 quently exceed approximately ten percent of the streams' capacity as

 presently measured.  Waste loads and a stream can be likened to a person.

 Even with a headache a person is sick.  With a headache and a cold--a

 person is a little more sick.  Each waste load should be considered as a

 tumor on a vital organ.  How many does it take for how long before death

 occurs?  Obviously, just one--providing it is either big enough or in

| the right spot.

      Similarly, the -same thing can be said concerning the fisheries

 agencies.  It's about time they quit playing ostrich, carping to their

 public with excuses, and initiate a positive, objective plan.  They just

 will not accept the fact that many great changes have been made--due to

 progress and the activities of man.  Society and technology are now in

 the jet age.  In many, respects, natural resource agencies are still

 "Rickshaw Charlies."