Fire History in the South Fork

While wildfire in on the mind here’s an interesting map where we clipped the portion of the Boise National Forest showing the fire history of the South Fork of the Boise River.

Clipped from fire history map of the Boise National Forest 1908 - 2013

Downstream of Anderson Ranch Dam there was a fire on the north side of the River in 1948 but it appears the rock bluffs on the north side were a barrier in that portion downstream from about Reclamation Village to Granite Creek.

Further downstream on the north side there was a smaller fire in 1952 that appears to have affected the lower portion of the Pierce Creek watershed, including the Prairie Road switchbacks where it climbs from the canyon on its way to Prairie.  This 1952 fire appears to be on the south side of the South Fork Boise downstream of the Danskin Bridge and through much of the Mennecke Creek watershed.

On the south side of the River just downstream of the dam for a couple of miles appears to be outside any historic fire perimeter.  There does appear to be a section that burned in 1935, which may have burned again in 1942.  Adjacent to the west is a larger fire area that encompassed the Cow Creek drainage, and the lower portion of the Cow Creek road as it drops into the canyon appears to be a perimeter on the 1926 fire.

To the west is a fire from 1986 was that was probably a reburn of some of the 1926 fire area.

Underlying this area is the 1992 Foothills Fire, extending from the Cow Creek road and along the south side of the South Fork Boise through the meadow area and approaching the rick garden and Pine Tree Hole near Granite Creek.  So it encompasses much of Cayuse Creek, a small tributary on the south side.

This is the light green area sandwiched between the 1926 fire area to the east and the 1945 fire area to the west.  The 1945 fire appears to have been in Mennecke and Bock Creeks. By the 1970s both Mennecke and Bock Creeks were noted to be tributary spawning sites for the South Fork fishery.


Stream Gages destroyed by Wildfire

Here is a video from the USGS with the story about the Pony & Elk fires destroying the stream gages on Dixie Creek and Pierce Creek, two tributaries of the South Fork of the Boise River downstream of Anderson Ranch Dam.


In addition, the end of the video has links to the stream gages click here for Dixie Creek, or check out this link for the gage at Pierce Creek.

What’s the Deal with the Tributaries?

After several posts about the Pierce Creek culvert removal project it’s appropriate to step back and have a look at the role of these tributaries in the South Fork Boise River fishery.

It would be uncommon — to say the least — that people who fish the SFB go there to fish one of the tributaries.  Many anglers may not even know these small streams exist.  Some may be attracted unwittingly to the confluence zone of these streams with the SFB to find rising fish, or good holding water provided by structure in the river channel.

Small streams play an important role in the health of a trout fishery.

First, they contain a significant amount of stream length and therefore habitat than may be at first realized.  Even a trickle of water can still provide some holding water in small pools for fish, especially those young-of -year.  Second, during certain times of the year, such as spring and early summer, the flows in these streams swell and more water can mean more habitat – space for fish to live.

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Bridge is Built; Pierce Creek now Part of South Fork Boise

By Friday November 11 the new bridge was installed over Pierce Creek and the road bed was filled and rebuilt.  Guard rails were added to the bridge and the water was turned back into Pierce Creek.  Here are some photos:

Looking downstream as Pierce Creek flows under the new bridge.

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PIERCE CREEK: Construction Starts, Cofferdam In, Culvert Out, Connection Coming

Pierce Creek Culvert 11.02.2011

Wednesday November 2 we broke ground on the Pierce Creek Reconnection Project.  The 48-inch culvert, one that has over the years turned into a fish barrier, will be removed and a new steel bridge installed.  Here’s a report on the first two days of work.

Photo at right shows the clearing and grubbing on the downstream end of the culvert.  For the first time a clear picture of the stream gradient can be fully appreciated.  And even this did not reveal a surprise (more after the jump). Prior to clearing, willow bushes and aspen trees obscured Pierce Creek between the South Fork Boise road and the South Fork Boise River.

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