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While we go about banging heads on a plethora of conservation topics, here's one that simply deserves some applause. I missed seeing the notice requesting volunteers... but will make it a point not to next year.

Madison River Foundation Rescues Fish From Irrigation Ditches
On October 13th, 21 volunteers gave their time and effort to rescue trapped fish in the west Madison irrigation ditch. This is an annual event that happens when the irrigation ditches are drained. Over 1000 fish were returned to the river on this day and numerous trophy fish on days that followed. While many fish were rescued, tens of thousands of fish perished ranging in size from 2 inch fry to trophy size. The result of this event is just a drop in the bucket to the solution.
 

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Awesome effort yes. Maybe not so awesome regarding the intake design on ditch irrigation systems.

The fact that irrigation ditches are so effective at funneling fish out of the main river makes me wonder. Maybe we could use some "irrigation ditches" to replace lost side channel habitat, and the massive carrying capacity that went with it. Of course the primary difference being the ditches would connect back to the main channel. No water loss and fish would be deposited back into the watershed, ready for the sea, instead of on a field as fertilizer.

Just a thought. All I know is that single channel hydrology sucks.
 
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