Sharing restoration knowledge and collaborating on implementation are characteristics of the decade-long partnership between TFT and Idaho Power Company (IPC). Previously, IPC went through 13 withdrawn Clean Water Act certifications for its hydropower dams in Hells Canyon. Their willingness to see the landscape from a different perspective provided by TFT made certain
that the next application was a success. TFT applied its analytics to the water quality challenge, and IPC was able to secure Clean Water Act approval from Idaho and Oregon to enact a $350-million watershed stewardship program.
“The process is more of a marathon than a sprint,” said Monique Leslie, Restoration Project Manager. “We stay focused on the outcomes and work systematically to reach them. Having a great team helps.”
2021 and early 2022 marked a significant milestone. After working for several years with TFT on performance standards, operating procedures, supply chain development, and management systems, IPC staff independently implemented their first island floodplain enhancement project. At 16 acres transformed with 10,000 new trees and shrubs, this large project on Rippee Island in the Middle Snake is a visible symbol of the programʼs ambition.
Rippee Island joins five riparian revegetation and instream projects jointly coordinated with the two partners. It also represents the path moving forward for IPC: to boldly own, implement, and manage one of the largest watershed-scale restoration programs in the Western U.S. Targeted outcomes include reshaping the mainstem Snake River to improve flow, restoring riparian vegetation on hundreds of miles of tributaries to reduce high water temperatures, and upgrading irrigation infrastructure to reduce sediment and nutrient loading.
In 2021, our task was to create an automated reporting function in our StreamBank® Administrative tool that would allow IPC and others to more easily generate status reports for regulators, verifiers, and stakeholders. StreamBank® had collected reams of data for Snake River projects; now it was time to transform that data into summaries of success.
“We were thrilled and humbled to collaborate with IPC,” said Leslie. “We are excited to see them bring it over the finish line.”