Contaminant Monitoring Strategy for Henrys Lake, Idaho

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Henrys Lake, located in southeastern Idaho, is a large, shallow lake (6,600 acres, {approx} 17.1 feet maximum depth) located at 6,472 feet elevation in Fremont Co., Idaho at the headwaters of the Henrys Fork of the Snake River. The upper watershed is comprised of high mountains of the Targhee National Forest and the lakeshore is surrounded by extensive flats and wetlands, which are mostly privately owned. The lake has been dammed since 1922, and the upper 12 feet of the lake waters are allocated for downriver use. Henrys Lake is a naturally productive lake supporting a nationally recognized ''Blue Ribbon'' ... continued below

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Irving, John S. & Breckenridge, R. P. December 1, 1992.

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Description

Henrys Lake, located in southeastern Idaho, is a large, shallow lake (6,600 acres, {approx} 17.1 feet maximum depth) located at 6,472 feet elevation in Fremont Co., Idaho at the headwaters of the Henrys Fork of the Snake River. The upper watershed is comprised of high mountains of the Targhee National Forest and the lakeshore is surrounded by extensive flats and wetlands, which are mostly privately owned. The lake has been dammed since 1922, and the upper 12 feet of the lake waters are allocated for downriver use. Henrys Lake is a naturally productive lake supporting a nationally recognized ''Blue Ribbon'' trout fishery. There is concern that increasing housing development and cattle grazing may accelerate eutrophication and result in winter and early spring fish kills. There has not been a recent thorough assessment of lake water quality. However, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is currently conducting a study of water quality on Henrys Lake and tributary streams. Septic systems and lawn runoff from housing developments on the north, west, and southwest shores could potentially contribute to the nutrient enrichment of the lake. Many houses are on steep hillsides where runoff from lawns, driveways, etc. drain into wetland flats along the lake or directly into the lake. In addition, seepage from septic systems (drainfields) drain directly into the wetlands enter groundwater areas that seep into the lake. Cattle grazing along the lake margin, riparian areas, and uplands is likely accelerating erosion and nutrient enrichment. Also, cattle grazing along riparian areas likely adds to nutrient enrichment of the lake through subsurface flow and direct runoff. Stream bank and lakeshore erosion may also accelerate eutrophication by increasing the sedimentation of the lake. Approximately nine streams feed the lake (see map), but flows are often severely reduced or completely eliminated due to irrigation diversion. In addition, subsurface flows can occur as a result of severe cattle grazing along riparian areas and deltas. Groundwater and springs also feed the lake, and are likely critical for oxygen supply during winter stratification. During the winter of 1991, Henrys Lake experienced low dissolved oxygen levels resulting in large fish kills. It is thought that thick ice cover combined with an increase in nutrient loads created conditions resulting in poor water quality. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, DEQ is currently conducting a study to determine the water quality of Henrys Lake, the sources contributing to its deterioration, and potential remedial actions to correct problem areas.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-12-26245
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/1044213 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1044213
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc844909

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Creation Date

  • December 1, 1992

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 9, 2016, 7:53 p.m.

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Irving, John S. & Breckenridge, R. P. Contaminant Monitoring Strategy for Henrys Lake, Idaho, report, December 1, 1992; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc844909/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.