Federal Columbia River Power System
Tributary Habitat Program — Upper Salmon River Basin

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Yankee Fork Below Dredge

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The Yankee Fork is located in Custer County, Idaho (area map), and is one of the major tributaries to the Salmon River in the Upper Salmon subbasin. The Yankee Fork drainage area covers about 122,000 acres and the river flows south about 28 miles from its headwaters in the Salmon-Challis National Forest to the Salmon River (river mile 368) near Sunbeam, Idaho.

The aim of the Yankee Fork Rehabilitation Project is to build and improve habitat for spring and summer Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Salmon River Basin watershed. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have been working with the Bonneville Power Administration since 2005 on the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River Dredge Tailings Restoration Project. In addition, several groups and landowners are working to implement habitat improvement activities on the Yankee Fork. Habitat improvement activities are selected, developed, and implemented through the collaborative efforts of the Yankee Fork Inter-Disciplinary Team (IDT) to support the goals of the project.

Transcript PDF 70 kb

Next Steps in the Yankee Fork Watershed
Reclamation and BPA contribute to the implementation of habitat improvement projects in the Upper Salmon subbasin to help meet commitments in the 2014 BiOp issued by NOAA Fisheries. The BiOp includes a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative — a suite of actions including improvements to hydrosystem operations, habitat, hatcheries, harvest, and predator control — to protect listed salmon and steelhead across their life cycle. Reclamation provides technical assistance to states, tribes, other federal agencies, and local partners to implement habitat projects to improve stream flow, access, entrainment, and channel complexity.

Reclamation has adopted a tributary-reach based approach to meet commitments in the BiOp. This approach uses an IDT process involving technical specialists and stakeholders. The Yankee Fork IDT has completed a tributary assessment of the lower and middle subwatersheds of the Yankee Fork. The intent of the Yankee Fork Tributary Assessment is to focus recovery efforts on areas that have the greatest potential to benefit ESA-listed fish.

Our goal is to revitalize the Yankee Fork by building and improving habitat for spring and summer Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Yankee Fork watershed. Over the last several years, a collaborative planning effort resulted in assessments and planning documents that focus recovery efforts on areas that have the greatest potential to benefit ESA-listed fish, evaluate the physical and ecological processes, and identifies and prioritizes project actions and alternatives.

We have completed the rehabilitation of two side channels that enhance floodplain and juvenile rearing areas. Two wood loading and instream complexity projects that enhance cover and channel habitat are under construction. There are two additional projects currently in the design stage that will enhance floodplains, side channels, and pool and riffle habitat features.

Other project areas and alternatives may be developed based on biological benefit, landowner consent, available funding options, and other factors.

Related Documents
08/2014 Yankee Fork Rehabilitation Project Handout PDF 504 kb
07/2013 Yankee Fork Fluvial Habitat Rehabilitation Plan PDF 11.64 mb
10/2012 Pole Flat Area Baseline Condition Assessment PDF 20.57 mb
09/2012 Bonanza Reach Assessment PDF 16.64 mb
01/2012 Yankee Fork Tributary Assessment, Upper Salmon Subbasin HTML
06/2011 Yankee Fork Area Map PDF 284 kb

Yankee Fork Inter-Disciplinary Team Partners
Bonneville Power Administration
Bureau of Reclamation
Idaho Department of Fish & Game
Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation
Idaho Office of Species Conservation
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes
Trout Unlimited
USFS Salmon-Challis National Forest

Related Links
The Yankee Fork Rehabilitation Project is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. Learn more >>
Federal Caucus (www.salmonrecovery.gov)
Reclamation's Tributary Habitat Program
NOAA Fisheries 2008/2010 FCRPS Biological Opinions


Matt Green
Upper Salmon Project Manager
Trout Unlimited
(208) 251-0197

Last Updated: 1/8/21