Flat Creek flood fight

By Jim Stanford on January 21, 2014

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An excavator clears ice from rocks in Flat Creek on Saturday. By Sunday, five trackhoes were working in the creek to alleviate flooding.

Flooding caused by ice formation along Flat Creek came to a head this weekend, and the town again had to assist homeowners in breaking up the ice.

After being contacted by constituents in the neighborhood, I went out there with Mayor Mark Barron on Saturday to survey the flooding, ice buildup and efforts by residents to protect their property. The flooding affected homes from Stacy Lane to Crabtree Lane and was some of the worst people had ever seen.

In a matter of hours Friday, I’m told, the level of the water and ice rose about 3 feet. This came after I tried to walk the pathway behind the post office Thursday and found it impassable.

Putting heavy equipment into the creek to break up the ice is not a delicate operation, despite the operators’ best efforts. The ice was 3 feet thick or more, and anchored to the stream bottom in places. For every trackhoe breaking it up, two more were needed to scoop up the loose ice floating downstream, else a jam could form and cause even worse flooding.

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Posted under Environment, Politics, Town Government

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face to face with Angler

By Jim Stanford on January 3, 2014

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Dick Cheney, pictured here when he was vice president, had been enjoying a peaceful holiday vacation in Jackson Hole, while chaos still reigns in Anbar, Iraq.

On my way home from skiing yesterday, I stopped at Albertsons to get a bag of salt. Been having a problem with ice buildup on the side of my house, the result of new gutters depositing melting snow onto the frozen ground.

I grabbed a 25-pound bag from outside, walked into the store and paid for it.

As I was walking out, an older man was walking in, dressed in a shearling coat and cowboy hat. He was, unmistakably, Dick Cheney.

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BuRec plans robust flow on Snake

By Jim Stanford on May 17, 2013

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Reed Finlay surveys the Snake this week with the Barker-Ewing crew in Grand Teton park. Higher flows should allow for more braided channels.

Heading into a second year of drought with reservoirs already drawn down and snow melting fast, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is planning to release nearly twice as much water as usual in the Snake River this summer.

Barring prolonged wet weather, water managers will release 4,000 cubic feet per second from Jackson Lake Dam through September.

Mike Beus

The agency projects to draw down Jackson Lake reservoir to about 18 percent of capacity. At best, the bureau will fill Palisades Reservoir to about 50 percent of capacity before draining it nearly dry to meet irrigation needs in Idaho.

Mike Beus, BuRec operations manager, presented his projections along with weather forecasts at the agency’s annual water meeting last night in Jackson. A crowd of anglers, irrigators, farmers and rafting guides attended.

Beus painted a stark picture of less water available for storage in the basin, temperatures skyrocketing to 90 degrees in Boise last week and snow melting in the high country above Jackson Lake at a rate of 2 inches per day. While this weekend’s cool, wet weather offers some relief, temperatures were 10 degrees above average for the first half of May, he said.

“The normals are changing,” he said.

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film screening benefits American Rivers

By Jim Stanford on March 26, 2013

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From its beginnings as a trickle of snowmelt off Two Ocean Pass to the thunderous cataracts of its Grand Canyon and sinuous meandering through the plains of Montana, the Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states.

A new film by Hunter Weeks follows a 30-day journey by drift boat down the river to its confluence with the Missouri at Fort Buford, N.D. Where the Yellowstone Goes chronicles the people and landscapes the party encounters while floating and fishing this majestic waterway.

Weeks will show the film and take questions Wednesday night in a benefit for American Rivers at the Pink Garter Theater. Tickets are $10, available online or at Jack Dennis Sports and Teton Mountain Lodge. Showtime is 7 p.m.

I’ve always thought of the Yellowstone as one of the uppermost headwaters of the Mississippi. Along those lines, I’d someday like to make a journey from Atlantic Creek all the way to New Orleans.

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Trust seals Hoback deal

By Jim Stanford on January 2, 2013

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The deal ensures that the Hoback headwaters will be saved.

The Trust for Public Land announced today it has raised the $8.75 million needed to buy drilling leases and protect 58,000 acres of the Wyoming Range south of Jackson from oil and gas development.

The deal ensures that fracking will not occur in some of the headwaters of the Hoback River, and up to 136 wells will not be drilled in a pristine area prized for hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding.

The trust had been racing a Dec. 31 deadline to raise the necessary funding, which will be paid to Plains Exploration and Production of Houston, the company that owned the drilling rights.

“I can’t think of a better way to start off the New Year. This solution honors the wishes of the people of Wyoming and protects a vital corner of Greater Yellowstone for generations to come,” said Will Rogers, TPL president and CEO.

The largest donation came from Hansjörg Wyss, a Wilson homeowner who contributed $4.25 million through his charitable foundation. Joe Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder and part owner of the Chicago Cubs who owns a home near Bondurant, gave $1.75 million, including an eleventh-hour gift of $750,000 that pushed the campaign across the finish line, the trust said in a release.

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