Here in this timbered, steep, up and down country of Idaho, the forces at work are not merely wind and water.
Here, the tumble of rocks and cracking of large trees has been important to shaping river habitat for centuries. Avalanches are not just territory for the backcountry skier. They’re good for steelhead too.
Think of them like door-to-river bank service: A vehicle which brings woody debris, large boulders and smaller spawning gravels dropping them off right at river’s edge.
Pretty cool, huh?
Using that concept, Trout Unlimited decided to put the power of the avalanche to work in Idaho. The team is improving habitat on the Yankee Fork by identifying places where a slide likely would have occurred. Then, they re-create it.
Rocks and trees are placed at key points in the river to mimic natural forces.The result is additional cover, scouring out of large pools for fish to hold and the addition of smaller gravels ideal for spawning. In the end, it becomes a healthier, more productive river.