The Nature Conservancy Implements Closures at Silver Creek Preserve to Protect Fish During Severe Heat and Drought
Due to current low flows, high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels caused by extreme heat and drought in the Wood River Valley, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is closing access to fishing at Silver Creek Preserve until conditions improve. These precautions are necessary for the health of the fishery to reduce stress on fish at a time when they are experiencing prolonged periods of stressful conditions.
Effective 9pm on July 2, 2021, access to fishing at the Preserve will be closed until further notice. These restrictions are necessary because dissolved oxygen concentrations and stream temperatures remain at harmful levels for extended periods throughout the day. Low dissolved oxygen concentrations and elevated water temperatures can cause fish stress and mortality.
The Nature Conservancy monitors stream temperature and dissolved oxygen levels on a biweekly basis and will adjust restrictions if conditions improve. TNC only implements precautionary actions when stream temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit and dissolved oxygen levels are below 4 mg/L. Recent data recordings have shown stream temperatures at 73 degrees and dissolved oxygen levels of 3 mg/L for extended periods beyond the threshold. These monitoring results, along with the unprecedented heat wave and extreme temperatures that appear forecasted to continue, have prompted TNC to fully close access to fishing for the first time in its known history.
“The Nature Conservancy is actively focused on long-term solutions, such as stream channel restoration and aquifer recharge projects, that will improve habitat resiliency at Silver Creek in the event of significant heat waves and droughts like the ones we’re currently experiencing,” says Erika Phillips, Watershed Manager for TNC. “In our immediate situation with low flows and elevated water temperatures, we need to be proactive and responsible in our stewardship of the Preserve by taking these necessary steps to protect the health of the fish.”
Due to extremely low water levels at this time, boating and floating is also strongly discouraged to prevent damage to the streambed and surrounding habitat.
To locate alternative places for fishing, please visit Idaho Fish & Game for additional resources and fishing conditions.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.