Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chinook seasons open Saturday

The spring Chinook salmon fishing season will open April 25, on parts of the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and Snake rivers.

The Chinook salmon return to Idaho this year is forecasted to be similar to the returns observed in 2014. As of April 15, over 13,500 Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, while 70 fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. 

Fish and Game tailored the 2015 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.

In the Clearwater Basin, except for the South Fork Clearwater River, limits are set at four fish per day, only one of which may be an adult. The possession limit in these parts of the Clearwater River drainage will be 12 fish, only three of which may be adults.

In the South Fork Clearwater, lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake River fisheries, anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit in these fisheries will be twelve fish, of which only six may be adults.

These areas will be open seven days a week. The season limit will be 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to Sept. 1. 

Only Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Only adult Chinook salmon must be recorded on the salmon permit. An adult Chinook is any adipose fin-clipped Chinook 24 or more inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Chinook salmon less than 24 inches (jacks) count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit. 

An angler must cease fishing for Chinook salmon once they have retained their daily, possession, or season limit of adult Chinook salmon or their overall (fish of any size) daily or possession limit of Chinook salmon, whichever comes first. 

Other rules and special restrictions for the Chinook salmon fishery are in the 2015 spring Chinook salmon brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=110. 

The Commission will consider Chinook salmon fisheries on the South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon Rivers at its May 20 meeting in Lewiston. Fish return to those areas later than to the Clearwater River and Rapid River Hatcheries, giving managers more time to develop fishery proposals for those areas.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lolo Trail Muzzleloader Club Spring Fling is May 2

By Dusti Howell 

The Lolo Trail Muzzleloader Club would like to invite shooters, spectators and traders to our black powder, patched and round ball firearms Annual Spring Fling shooting event on Saturday, May 2.

The event is held at Wolverton’s Cabin, 2852 Wells Bench Road, Orofino, and the start time is 10 a.m. The fee to participate in the shoot is $7 per person.

Prizes for the top three Mountain Men, Mountain Women, and Young Trappers will be awarded. The main events are a rifle and pistol trail, hawk and knife throw, and rifle paper shoot. Extra points are awarded for dressing in 1800 attire, but doing so is not mandatory.

Our other event is our “running deer.” This is a moving deer target and the fee is $1 per round. The winner gets half of the pot! 

After the shoot there will be a potluck, with the club providing barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs. Please bring a side dish, beverage, and your chairs. We will present the winners and draw for the door prize. 

We will also be selling drawing tickets at six for $5 dollars or $1 each for a Thompson Center .54 caliber muzzleloader rifle (pictured). The winner’s name will be drawn July 19, at our second shooting event of the year, our 39th Annual Rendezvous. This event is July 17-19 at Reggear’s Tree Farm, Loseth Road, Orofino.

LTML can’t wait to see all of you there!

For any questions regarding both events you can view our flyers on “Orofino Chamber of Commerce” website and/or e-mail lolotrailmuzzleloaderclub@yahoo.com and/or call Dusti Howell at (208) 476-9471, Guy Walker at (208) 435-4814, or Larry Kaufman at (208) 827-0018.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Corps proceeds with Dworshak forest, vegetation management; awards sale of beetle-infested Dworshak timber harvest

On March 3, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the sale of 122 acres of timber in the area east of Dent Bridge at Dworshak Reservoir. The approximately two million board-feet of timber was selected for harvest to contain and control an outbreak of Douglas fir beetle.

The timber sale was awarded to the Idaho Forest Group, of Grangeville, under a competitive-bidding process. Harvest will begin after the migratory bird nesting period, no sooner than Aug. 1. Proceeds from the timber sale - bid at $40.94 per ton or approximately $444,125 - will be used for site restoration after harvest, plus preparation for future timber sales and Dworshak natural resources efforts.

Forest and vegetation management activities are a year-round effort on the 29,318 acres of land surrounding Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. 

During the weekend of March 7-9, Natural Resources staff at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir worked with Clearwater-Nez Perce National Forest fire crews to conduct prescribed burning in the vicinity of Dicks Creek and Elk Creek Meadows. This prescribed burn is part of the Elk Creek Meadows Stewardship Project initiated by the Corps several years ago to restore ponderosa pine ecosystems. Logging in this area has been completed. Prescribed burning will reduce fuel loads left from logging, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance the area for ponderosa pine regeneration. 

The Corps is also developing a Vegetation Management Environmental Assessment (EA) for Dworshak lands based on the project's five-year vegetation-management plan to address forest-health issues and habitat-restoration projects. Planners anticipate inviting public comments for the Vegetation Management EA and an associated draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) planned for spring this year.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Corps proceeds with Dworshak forest, vegetation management; awards sale of beetle-infested Dworshak timber harvest

On March 3, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the sale of 122 acres of timber in the area east of Dent Bridge at Dworshak Reservoir. The approximately two million board-feet of timber was selected for harvest to contain and control an outbreak of Douglas fir beetle.

The timber sale was awarded to the Idaho Forest Group, of Grangeville, Idaho, under a competitive-bidding process. Harvest will begin after the migratory bird nesting period, no sooner than August 1. Proceeds from the timber sale - bid at $40.94 per ton or approximately $444,125 - will be used for site restoration after harvest, plus preparation for future timber sales and Dworshak natural resources efforts.

Forest and vegetation management activities are a year-round effort on the 29,318 acres of land surrounding Dworshak Dam and Reservoir. 

During the weekend of March 7-9, Natural Resources staff at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir worked with Clearwater-Nez Perce National Forest fire crews to conduct prescribed burning in the vicinity of Dicks Creek and Elk Creek Meadows. This prescribed burn is part of the Elk Creek Meadows Stewardship Project initiated by the Corps several years ago to restore ponderosa pine ecosystems. Logging in this area has been completed. Prescribed burning will reduce fuel loads left from logging, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance the area for ponderosa pine regeneration. 

The Corps is also developing a Vegetation Management Environmental Assessment (EA) for Dworshak lands based on the project's five-year vegetation-management plan to address forest-health issues and habitat-restoration projects. Planners anticipate inviting public comments for the Vegetation Management EA and associated draft FONSI planned for spring this year.

Friday, March 27, 2015

P and Z “shootin’ for May” to finish amendments to city zoning ordinance

By Elizabeth Morgan

At the regular meeting for Planning and Zoning (P&Z) on March 17, commissioners focused on wrapping up the last few modifications for the final draft to submit to the council and eventually, to present at a public hearing. The general consensus of those present was “to shoot for May to finish it up.”

The changes have been discussed, modified and re-modified over the past year as to how best plan for future growth in zone designated as C-2. There are several different areas marked as C-2 throughout the town and on Riverside, but one area in particular comes to mind when setting the pace for C-2 zoning

Unique because the street serves as a main thoroughfare through Orofino, Michigan Ave. is currently zoned C-2 a commercial zone with many exceptions, a mix of businesses, single family dwellings, churches, and a school.

Lot sizes are certainly varied from 4,800 to 6,000 and beyond. Commissioners have determined to allow the size of the lot to be indicative of the type of business and parking requirements permitted.

Building Official Todd Perry felt it would be necessary to finish revising the wording and review a couple items with the city’s attorney before the new document is ready to share with the public at a public hearing.

Commissioners are looking forward to finally getting the proposed changes on paper, as they have muddled through several different copies of an old version amongst them, which at times, added to the confusion.

P and Z is still seeking to fill two vacancies on the board. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers. Interested applicants are invited to inquire further information at City Hall.

Communities unite to end sexual violence

During the month of April, in honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month, YWCA organizers along with members of the Sexual Assault Response Team invite all local community members to participate in joining together to raise awareness about sexual violence. 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month’s events include the hanging of teal colored ribbons in downtown Orofino on Monday, March 30. This will be done by the local chapter of the YWCA, along with members of the police and sheriff’s department and other volunteers to increase awareness of the problem of sexual assault. 

Coffee shops will also be provided with information labels to put on coffee cups and putting table cards in local restaurants to provide information about this problem.

The month will end with “Denim Day” which symbolizes our solidarity with sexual assault victims and our commitment to their defense and support. This is in response to a rape case several years ago in which the judge ruled that since jeans cannot be removed without the help of the wearer, the rape victim must have consented.

Wearing jeans on this day is our statement that all people deserve to be safe from sexual assault and victims of this crime need to be heard, believed and respected, and the responsible persons brought to justice. 

For more information, please contact Staci Taylor at the YWCA 208-476-0155. The YWCA is a community program that provides advocacy for people who have suffered domestic and sexual violence.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dworshak gears up for warm-weather recreation

Enjoy springtime in picturesque north Idaho at outdoor recreation facilities operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir.

Merrys Bay day-use, Dam View, and Canyon Creek campgrounds open April 1. Dent Acres campground will open April 13, with campsite fees at $10 per day by self-deposit registration. Regular-season camping will start May 21, with full hook-up sites available for $18 per night. Reservations for the regular season can be made by calling 877-444-6777, or by reserving online at www.recreation.gov.

Dent Acres Boat Ramp opened March 16. The nearby ramp restroom will be open. Canyon Creek, Bruces Eddy and Big Eddy ramps are already open. 

Visitors wanting to launch boats may encounter large houseboats using the ramps to exit the reservoir. Park rangers ask boaters to be patient or use a different ramp, as loading and removing the houseboats can require considerable time on the ramp. 

The State of Idaho Parks and Recreation recently notified the houseboat owners and the Corps that they no longer intend to offer moorages for houseboats as part of their lease to operate Dworshak State Park recreation facilities because of increased liability, staff safety and anticipated moorage failure. 

“What started as a test to determine feasibility of a large-boat marina to provide additional recreation opportunities and economic benefits to the surrounding community has run its course,” said Dworshak Natural Resource Manager Paul Pence. “Over the past decade or so, the moorage buoys have failed because of high winds and the fluctuating rise and fall of the reservoir. We’re down to one functional buoy, and several vessels whose buoys failed have been tied off to various Corps structures - it’s not safe for the boaters or the public property. 

“With no new concessionaire or user group willing to invest in a large-boat marina, it’s time to call this experiment done,” Pence agreed with the State’s decision to no longer renew the annual moorage rental contracts. “It would take a big pot of money to build and maintain the infrastructure needed for these large vessels, and recreation budgets have continually declined.”

Despite a recreation budget almost half of what it was in 2006 (approx. $1.23 million versus about $778,000 in 2015), staff at Dworshak makes the most of what they have to continue improving the quality of recreation on and around the reservoir and providing safe and fun experiences for visitors. 

Safety is the Corps’ top priority! Please, remember to allow plenty of line when tying-off vessels along the reservoir shoreline to allow for water-level fluctuations. Corps officials advise boaters and others using waterways, both in Dworshak Reservoir and below the dam, on the Clearwater River to be alert to changes in water elevation and volume of flow. The weather may be warming up, but the water in Dworshak Reservoir is still very cold. Always be aware of hypothermia, and wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. 

The region’s snow pack and weather impact flood risk, and consequently Corps Reservoir Management decisions. Current snowpack for the Clearwater sub-basin is 72 percent of normal, and Dworshak Reservoir is just 30 feet from full pool. 

“A low snow year creates good early season recreation conditions for Dworshak since not as much space in the reservoir needs to be reserved for potential inflows,” said Pence. “The higher pool elevation makes it a short hike to the shoreline campsites.” 

Given 2015’s current snowpack outlook, weather and continuing environmental operation requirements, visitors can anticipate seeing the following water-management operations at the Dworshak reservoir through April:

March 1 - water supply forecast for April to July runoff is 74 percent of normal March - currently releasing minimum discharge to conserve water and slowly refill the reservoir April 1 - flood risk management target elevation 1,577.7 feet (22 feet below full pool) April - transition from flood risk management draft to refill; anticipate elevation of 1,580 feet by April 30

For updated water level and boat ramp information, call 800-321-3198. For more information regarding facilities access and current conditions, call 208-476-1255, or stop by the Dworshak Dam Visitor Center, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The visitor center also has fun displays for kids, including a water safety room where they can play in a boat, create water safety posters and try on life jackets.

For more information about activities, programs and recreation opportunities at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir, stop by the Visitor Center, or connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dworshakdam.