Boise Valley Fly Fishers
Since 1971


Owyhee River Gravel Augmentation Update

21 May 2024 11:10 AM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

BVFF has been working on a gravel augmentation for the lower Owyhee river (below the Owyhee Dam) for several years. We started in November of 2021 by doing a study of the depth, water velocity and bottom structure that brown trout were using to spawn and then used that information to evaluate a proposed gravel augmentation location. Gravel augmentations are expensive endeavors, so we applied for a grant from FFI and ODFW to help pay for the project.

Anytime you do work in a river, you are required to have a stream alteration permit from the Army Corps of Engineers as well as approval from the local department of water resources and permission from the landowner., which in this case is BLM. As we navigated the permitting process, we learned that we would need an engineering analysis to show the impact to the flood zone. It took some time, but we found an engineering firm that was willing to do the analysis and we raised the necessary funds through Idaho Gives and a club “Greenbacks for Redds” program.

When we got back to the permitting process we found that the players at the different agencies had changed, so we had to start those discussions over. After numerous meetings we obtained all of the necessary signatures and were able to submit our Stream Alteration Permit to the Army Corps of Engineers. We expect the permit to be completed by August, at which time we will reapply for the ODFW grant (which expired) and if all goes well, we will do the gravel augmentation in late October, after the flows drop to winter levels.

This gravel augmentation is 100 cubic yards, which is ten times larger than the ones we have done on the Boise River. But don’t worry, we’re not moving it by wheelbarrow! The day before, the gravel will get staged near the site and the Owyhee River Ranch has volunteered to use their front-end loader to transfer it into a gravel shooter/slinger which will throw it from the road into the river with the goal of laying down a 6 inch base of gravel through the run.

We still have some planning work to do, including working with Malheur county on a traffic control plan and coordinating with Sunroc and the gravel shooter company, as well as volunteers to help on the day of the augmentation. We will post the event for volunteer signups once we have the permit and the date. If you are interested in helping with any of the remaining tasks, please reach out to us at

Many thanks to those who contributed to Idaho Gives and bought Greenbacks. Inflation has increased the cost of the augmentation. If you want to help support it, consider buying a “Greenback” at the BVFF-Store. 

Thanks to the Vale BLM office and ODFW fish biologists Dave Banks and Kirk Handley for their continued support on this project. And my thanks to Forrest Goodrum and Jon Fishback for their help on the initial grant proposal and budgeting on the project.

For more background on the Owyhee gravel augmentation, see this previous conservation blog article., and you can see our stream alteration permit and drawings here.  

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The Boise Valley Fly Fishermen, Inc is a non-profit corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, incorporated in the State of Idaho
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