Repairs to close Elk River-Aquarius Road

ELK RIVER — The Elk River-Aquarius Road near here will be closed starting Monday and lasting through Aug. 9 as workers make repairs to the backcountry route.

The road, also known as Forest Service Road No. 1705 and the Grandad Bridge Road, will close at mile marker 28. More information is available by contacting Quality Services at (866) 437-7711.

Culvert work to close Palouse River Road

HARVARD — Forest Service Road No. 447, also known as the Palouse River Road, is temporarily closed between mile markers 8.2 and 10.5 to accommodate culvert replacement work at Johnson Creek.

The work started on Monday and is expected to last about two weeks. The existing culvert is being replaced by a larger structure to better accommodate fish passage.

Plans in place to retrieve motor home from river

LOWELL — Officials on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest say a motor home that crashed into the Lochsa River on June 13 will soon be extracted from the water.

A rafting party from McCall happened upon the crash and rescued the occupants, Robert and Janiel Sanchelli of Helena Mont. But the motor home has remained in the water of the federally designated Wild and Scenic River.

Forest Service spokeswoman Jennifer Becar said the agency is working with a tow company to remove the vehicle and associated debris. Becar said the delay in removing is because the company had to order specialized equipment to pull it from the river. The company also wanted to wait for the river to recede.

Proposed ecology change aims to help fish, orcas

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing to change the water quality standards for total dissolved gas during the spring spill seasons on the Snake and Columbia rivers.

Liberalizing the standards for dissolved gas in the river will allow more water to be spilled at the dams to accommodate the passage of juvenile salmon and steelhead.

“Increased spill over the dams has the potential to be a win-win for salmon, orca and power generation,” said Heather Bartlett, the department’s water quality program manager. “We are at a critical time for our orca and salmon. This is a change we can make relatively quickly to help with the long-term recovery efforts.”

Spilling more water over the dams is one of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force recommendations to Gov. Jay Inslee. But increasing spill leads to an increase in gases in the water, mainly nitrogen and oxygen. Ecology is proposing to change the amount of gases allowed in the water from April through June.

Increased gas levels can harm aquatic life through a condition called gas bubble trauma, according to a news release from the agency. The proposed changes aim to minimize the potential negative effects, while improving salmon passage and survival.

The agency is accepting feedback on the proposed changes through Sept. 26. More details on the proposal, information on public hearings, and instructions on how to submit comments are available on the ecology department’s website, http://bit.ly/2Yjswnd.

Grants will double reward for wolf trapping

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently awarded $100,000 in grants to organizations across the state, including $10,000 to help reduce expenses for wolf trappers in the Clearwater Region.

The grant to the Clearwater Chapter of Foundation for Wildlife Management will help the organization pay wolf trappers $500 to $1,000 for each wolf they trap or snare. The group seeks to help the agency reduce wolf populations by providing rewards to trappers who often spend thousands of dollars to tend their trap lines. The commission also awarded $10,000 to the foundation for wolf trapping rewards in the Panhandle Region.

Road work and stream restoration closes Emerald Creek Garnet site

CLARKIA — The Emerald Creek Garnet site near here has been closed to accommodate nearby road construction work, according to a news release from the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

A contractor is building a new road that will provide access to an estimated 20-year supply of garnet-bearing material. Stream restoration work will also occur during the work. The site will reopen when the work is complete.

Project to widen Heller Bar boat ramp gets underway; delays expected

HELLER BAR — Construction to expand the boat ramp here started this week, and boaters can expect some minor delays and congestion during the work.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is expanding the existing ramp, which is used by power boaters and float boaters entering and exiting the Snake River and the lower Salmon River.

According to Staci Lehman, a spokeswoman for the agency, the work is being staged to minimize delays. When the work is complete, the ramp will be about 60 feet wide, more than double the width of the existing ramp.

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