Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why Temperature sensors are important.

Prior to completion of Glen Canyon Dam in 1963, the temperature of water flowing through the Grand Canyon each year was highly variable, ranging from the icy, spring run-off to the warm, 85-degree summer-heated flows.
However, once the dam was constructed, the temperature of the water released from the dam - drawn from the depths of Lake Powell and released through the dam's large penstock intakes - ranged between 45 to 50 degrees. Immediately downstream, these cold water releases are good for the recreational trout fishery. But as the water moves downstream through the Grand Canyon, it only warms to about 60 degrees - not warm enough to allow the endangered native fish species, the humpback chub, to adequately reproduce or to successfully compete with or evade predation by some nonnative fishes in the Colorado River.
Why a Temperature Control Device?
graphic: cross-section of dam, with effect of tcd-modified intake tubes
In 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a biological opinion under the Endangered Species Act recommending that the Bureau of Reclamation study the feasibility of modifying the operation of the dam by adding a temperature control device to the existing dam intake structures. The temperature control device would provide operators of the dam with flexibility to draw water from different depths of the reservoir, including warmer water from near the surface of the reservoir during the summer and autumn months, which are critical for the humpback chub. The goal of the temperature control device would be to provide the right combination of cold and warm water withdrawals to benefit the humpback chub, while protecting the trout fishery at Lees Ferry and avoid enhancing or increasing the population of non-native, warm-water fish.
Helping Native Fish
Research indicates that increasing the temperature of water flowing from Glen Canyon Dam is a key element in improving the status of and habitat for humpback chub and other native fish in Grand Canyon. Research also suggests that increasing temperatures in the river may trigger increases of some nonnative warmwater fishes resident in Grand Canyon or stimulate parasites or disease agents that are held in check by colder water.
A temperature control device will allow dam operators to raise and lower water temperatures as appropriate to maximize the beneficial effects of warmer water and to minimize the potential negative effects. Planning for the operation of a temperature control device will include addressing future management in the event warm water releases result in unacceptable levels of competition or predation by nonnative fishes, diseases or parasites that could detrimentally affect humpback chub or other fishes of concern to the Adaptive Management Program.
Flaming Gorge Dam, upstream on the Green River in Utah, provides an example of the benefits that a temperature control device could provide Glen Canyon Dam. Since 1978, when Flaming Gorge's intake structures were modified to accommodate warm water releases, native fishes have done better downstream near the Yampa River, while trout growth rates below the dam increased significantly. Temperature control devices also have been successfully installed and operated on several other Reclamation dams to benefit other fish species.
Status of the Temperature Control Device
The temperature control device is currently undergoing a feasibility assessment to satisfy provisions outlined in the FWS biological opinion. A risk assessment has been completed and the Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program has recommended to the Secretary of the Interior that Reclamation move forward to complete National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance on the device. Reclamation has distributed a scoping letter on a proposal to modify two of the dam's penstocks, test them, and, with review/input of the Adaptive Management Program, determine if more modifications are necessary.
Reclamation is also developing preliminary design parameters that would be needed to maintain cold water flows to cool turbines and transformers at Glen Canyon Dam - should the device be installed - thus allowing the powerplant to continue to operate at full capacity.
Design Features and Cost
Based on late 1990s cost estimates, development and installation of temperature control devices on two penstocks at Glen Canyon Dam could cost between $25 and $80 million, depending upon the type and scale of design. A design study is currently being conducted to update these estimates.

A great Summary from our winning team

About 3 weeks ago, I had never heard of TroutPower or ever entered a fishing tournament (bass, trout, etc). A co-worker of mine happened to see a TroutPower sign while traveling near the West Canada Creek and mentioned the “tournament” to me. After a quick web search, I found TroutPower.com and the info on the 2013 creel study. After reading the mission statement and reviewing the data collected from last years creel study, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. More importantly though, I thought it would be a great “excuse” to con my brother (who lives in Virginia Beach) to make the trip so we could spend the day fishing. After convincing him to make the trip, I had the task of convincing my wife to let me out of the house for the day. Now that my wife and I have 19 month old twins, that task becomes much more difficult. However, the chance of prize money made it easier for me to justify to my wife leaving the house at 5 am so my brother and I could spend 6 hours floating the stream. Even though I really didn’t think we had a shot to win, the thought of friendly competition amongst fellow anglers and spending the day fishing with my brother was why I participated in the event.

During the event, my brother and I enjoyed the usual small talk during any given fishing trip. We talked about how amazing it is to fish the West Canada Creek, previous fishing trips on the stream (like the one on Dec. 22 2012 when I tripped while wading near shore and went completely under and still to this day trying to get warm!), how valuable times like these are as we get older, etc. Fishing gives us the opportunity to just hang out and enjoy the outdoors. Catching fish is always the goal but the time spent together is the real reward.

As we drifted down the trophy section in the canoe he bought me for Christmas last year, we came across many other anglers (mostly fly fisherman). Trying to abide by proper etiquette, I maneuvered the canoe behind them so I would not disrupt their fishing spot. Many exchanged small talk about the tournament, fish they had caught, the weather, the stream, etc. By this time, I had successfully landed a beauty, a 21 inch brown. Two fly fisherman, who were fishing about 100 yards down stream, heard my excitement when I hooked up on the eventual winning brown. As we floated down to them, one fly fisherman wanted to see what all the commotion was about. After showing him the picture and telling him about the experience, we talked about the tournament and how we both heard about it, where we were from, he told us how he caught a 17 incher, etc. Continuing on, we encountered more fisherman, more small talk and my brother hooked up and landed a nice 16 incher by the mouth of the Cincinnati Creek. After leaving the trophy section, we came across others canoeing the stream but not entered in the tournament. One canoeist was with his wife and dog and had two other canoes in their party. We told him about the 21 inch brown we caught in the trophy section and he felt that was going to be the winner. We eventually beached our canoes near the pullout by the bridge at the rt 28 and 8 junction, showed him the pictures we had taken that day and again, exchanged small talk about where we were from, how we heard about the tournament, some fishing stories, etc. Like all our other fishing trips, we had come to the end and had to call it a day.

Which leads to me to what TroutPower means to me:
1) A chance to spend precious time with friends, family and fellow anglers who are just as passionate about fishing as I am.
2) Building camaraderie amongst other anglers (fly fisherman, spin fisherman, etc).
3) Participating in an event that promotes/preserves the sport of fishing.
4) Playing a small role in helping TroutPower collect data to protect the amazing resource of the West Canada Creek.
5) Hopefully assisting TroutPower in preserving the stream so my kids can hear my fish stories and learn to enjoy the sport of fishing as much as I do.

To JP...Thanks for putting on an amazing event. Glad I had a chance to meet you in person at the check-in Saturday morning. Please keep in touch. My brother and I plan on making this an annual event! If I can help in any other way, please let me know.

Bill Betts
First Place Trout Power 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

And the Yeti Cooler goes to....

The Yeti Cooler winner goes to Martin Ringelberg of Canandaigua NY.  We hope that Martin will send us pictures.  We are looking forward to seeing him enjoy it.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated.  We Really appreciate it.

Creel Study Updates and Winners.

Team Betts Brothers, with their winning 21" Brown Trout that won the tournament.  Caught, loved, photographed and released.
The Betts Brothers won with a 21" brown, but Team USA was right behind them with a beautiful 20.5" Brown. Don and Mark , two local boys, won the largest brown outside the trophy section. That fish was 17.5", photos to come. Mark and Joe Usyk took the biggest Brook Trout Category with an beautiful 8" brookie caught in Middleville believe it or not. They won a JP Ross Fly Rods Co. Beaver Meadow. Honorable mention to the Smith Team that caught over 30 fish in the tournament on both fly and spin gear. And Chew Smitty and Ed Williams were a close 3rd place and fished their face off all the way to dark.

In Summary, it was very clear that from the data, which we will post, that the Protected Trophy Section of the West Canada Creek does in fact Harbor and grow more big fish in this creek. Spin tackle seemed to catch way more small fish then fly (less than 10"). Also the section of stream around Poland seems to be another worth section of Creek that seems to have good potential for growing large fish, but currently that section is not protected.

It will take very long to raise the $30k to do a full blown study on the West Canada Creek. Likely Trout Power will first work with the state and Cornell to identify gravel bars and potential spawning area to be protected. We also will need volunteers to help us review the health and state of the over 60 tribs that go into the West Canada.

Cold Water Refuge is also key, and the Mill Creek project with Trout Unlimited and New York State DPW has been approved. This creek also drains the potential Asphalt plant that is still being considered. We will have to watch that stream very closely and make sure it is not impacted at all by anything.

Funding: It looks as though Trout Power 2013 was profitable and after such expenses as over $3000 in signage, and over $3000 in merchandise costs, (much of which was given away as promo items), and other advertising costs in the 3000-5000 range, we likely will have money available for more temp sensor equipment, and a lot of new signage promoting wild fish and releasing big fish back to the creek to spawn. Our Sponsors were a huge help this year, especially Oneida County Tourism. Without them and the huge numbers of participants, this initiative surely would have died.

Thank you all for making Trout Power your own!!! It is key that we all describe Trout Power as being "our initiative" not "those guys." More info will come up on www.troutpower.com this week in small bursts.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Here's a note from Juli, Mom to Logan Webster who was honored at Friday night's Trout Power
GALA & Silent Auction

"Thank you all so much for tonight. Logan has his alarm clock set for 5:57am in hopes of making it dawn until dusk tomorrow... although he wouldn't mind a time out at the farm's bass pond! You have made this crazy shy kid's dreams come true! It's a blurry picture, but he was tickled pink tonight. He came home and told the rest of the adults how to identify a wild fish and his assignments. We have definitely "caught the power!"
                                                                        -Juli Webster

Logan Webster in front of the "Trout Power" Jeep
2013 Honorary Trout Scout 

Thank You again to all those who participated or donated Friday evening.  Nearly $5,000 was raised from the Silent Auction items alone for the Trout Power initiative and we're very grateful.  

Net proceeds for all Trout Power donations and funds go directly toward data collection and research on the West Canada as well as signage, PR, and furthering the education of our surrounding communities about this amazing, fresh water resource and its' potential as a self-sustaining Wild Trout fishery.

Thank You especially from Logan and His Family and Trout Power to Fly Master for all their support!

Thank You as well again to The Crystal Chandelier who did a fabulous job Friday night.  We are grateful!