Hagerman Museum: Ancient Fossils and an Explorer’s Map

By Mychel Matthews (view original article here)

HAGERMAN — The Hagerman Valley Historical Society is the unlikely owner of a valuable art collection, which has the group scrambling to raise money for a new building to display the paintings.

For now, 600 oil paintings by landscape impressionist Archie “Teton” Teater donated to the society are housed in a Twin Falls bank vault.

Other artifacts owned by the society have been housed since 1984 in a 1909 bank building at Hagerman’s State and Main streets. Prior to becoming what the historical society calls “the biggest little museum in Idaho,” the building was a post office for nearly a half-century. The historical society leases it from the city for a small fee.

To launch the fundraising campaign for the new museum building, the society will host a dinner from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 in City Park along with tours of Teater’s studio, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, overlooking the Snake River near Hagerman.

3 can’t-miss items

At the museum, be sure to look for these:

A full replica of the 3 million-year-old Hagerman Horse fossil on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.

An original lithograph map of Capt. John C. Fremont’s 1843 expedition from St. Louis to Oregon, one of five copies known to exist.

Teater’s oil painting of Custer’s Last Stand.

Fish Ladder Construction – An Engineering Spectacle

By Virginia Hutchins (view original article here)

During Idaho Power’s 2005 dam relicensing, state and federal wildlife agencies wanted to restore that life history. A fish ladder finished in 2008 — at Idaho Power’s diversion for its Lower Malad hydro plant — reconnected the lower two miles of the Malad River.

On average, about 2,500 trout pass upstream through that ladder each year, said Steve Brink, senior fisheries biologist for Idaho Power. Something between 1,000 and 8,000 trout head downstream through it each year.

But until now, the mile of river between Idaho Power’s upper diversion and the Devil’s Washbowl waterfall at Malad Gorge park has remained isolated.

Planning of the upper fish ladder — another requirement of the same 30-year federal relicensing — has been in the works for years, in consultation with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state and county entities. And Brink has been a key player since Idaho Power began researching Malad River fish passage in 1996.

“I have quite a bit of attachment to these things finally getting built,” Brink said, visiting the Upper Malad project site in late June.

Researchers mapped more trout-spawning habitat above the upper diversion than in either of the lower reaches of the Malad. It’s not easy walking along the bank through the stinging nettle and poison ivy that line the Upper Malad forebay, but some anglers did anyway.

“This has been a good fishery for a select few locals who know how to get in here,” Brink said.

Building fish ladders for upstream passage, Brink said, has been well mastered elsewhere. But Idaho Power spent the extra time and money to figure out downstream passage in the Malad River; its Lower Malad ladder to date has passed at least twice as much downstream fish traffic as upstream.

Now, at the Upper Malad, it wants to recreate that success.

To best intercept trout heading downstream, Idaho Power’s team developed a 3-D flow model for the Upper Malad forebay. The answer: Position the new fish ladder in the southwest corner of the canyon’s tight turn, where 600 to 650 cubic feet per second of spring water enters the river.

“That spring water is excellent trout habitat,” Brink said.

The ladder’s system of slots and pools needs only 14 cfs of water. But to better attract fish, the ladder will pull in about 64 cfs. The extra 50 cfs will be screened, then piped to the bottom to rejoin the water that runs through the ladder.

Through a window in the ladder’s fish-viewing vault, Idaho Power must count the fish that pass through. It’ll use the automated video imaging software it spent years developing at the Lower Malad ladder — able to recognize each fish’s species and record its length and direction of travel — but in hardware that incorporates the camera and computer into something the size of a pop can.

That full automation is a victory that frees up a lot of labor — particularly for a biologist in Brink’s office who has been processing partially automated fish-count data from Lower Malad.

“He’s been looking at fish TV,” Brink said, “for nine years.”