Ada County improves fish habitat along Boise River

Ada County is creating three log jams to help fish.

The Boise River is a staple in the Treasure Valley. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says every year there are roughly 30,000 individual trips and more than 100,000 hours of fishing on the Boise River.

"It's a multi-million dollar fishery," regional fisheries manager Joe Kozfkay said.

Although the river may be good for Ada County's economy, Kozfkay says it's not so good when it comes to fish habitat.

"It's relatively simple. A lot of the complexity has been removed or simplified and so there's not a lot of resting areas for fish to get away from heavy flows, there's not a lot of overhead cover on the banks," Kozfkay said.

Jeanne McFall and her team are working to fix those problems. They're adding weeds, stumps, and logs all in an effort to improve the fish habitat.

"It breaks up the flow. Fish can hide behind it. They need their resting pools and then the bugs go by. So they sit behind, kinda like a kayaker in an eddy," McFall said, who's an engineer with Idaho Fish and Game.

The team plans to put in three engineered log jams and a few large boulders to help break up the flow.

The $45,000 project is being done through the Ada County Environmental Advisory Board, which was formed in 2015 after a power outage reduced Boise River flows to nearly zero cubic feet per second.

"Fish are an asset to the community, provides tourism, and provides anglers with an opportunity to fish right here in Boise. It's just tremendous for the community," Ada County Parks and Waterways Director Scott Koberg said.

Every year the Boise Fire Department goes out before floating season to remove these types of log jams. Koberg tells KTVB these engineered log jams will not have any effect on floaters because they're upstream from Barber Park.

"What this will do is provide an opportunity for anglers to get upstream of the floaters any time of year and fish in these areas that we're creating habitat for the fish. So it's a tremendous win-win," Koberg said.

Crews plan to have all three log jams constructed and boulders in place by the end of next week.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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