Team Hughes consists of a number of organizations that have partnered to bring the special aquatic qualities back to the Hughes Meadow. Located approximately 17 miles north of Nordman, Idaho, in the Hughes Fork watershed, the meadow has not been fully functioning for about 70 years. In the 1940’s, the military planned to construct a “secret” airstrip in the Hughes Meadow. They diverted the natural stream channel into a manmade ditch along the western edge of the meadow. This ditch lacks the habitat, structure and diversity necessary to support the spawning and rearing of bull trout and west slope cutthroat.
In late 2014, partners interested in the HARP took an initial field trip to Hughes meadow to assess the potentials for restoring the natural channel of Hughes Fork. Some of these partners include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the UD Forest Service, the Kalispel Tribe, Priest Community Forest Connection, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Fish and Game and other interested parties. Since that time, two summers of field surveys and calculations have taken place with the intent of implementing the project in 2017.
The primary purpose of the project is to restore hydrological form and function to Hughes Meadow which will bring multiple benefits to that environment. The project will improve spawning and rearing habitat for fish, improve native wetland and riparian vegetation that are beneficial to native wildlife and reduce invasive non-native vegetation.
The Decision Memo approving implementation of the HARP was signed in December of 2016. The intention was to complete the project in September of 2017. Unfortunately, a fire flared up on Hughes ridge and began creeping to the meadow in late June 2017. By September it was decided that it was unsafe to bring a crew and equipment into the site and the implementation of HARP was postponed until 2018.
Douglas Construction of Priest River has been awarded the contract to implement the Hughes project.