The Boise National Forest has released information about a road closure northeast of Deadwood Reservoir that could affect elk hunters. Forest road 579 is scheduled to have a temporary closure from Sept. 16 – Sept. 29 to replacing an existing culvert with a larger one called an Aquatic Organism Passage (AOP) structure. The planned AOP will accommodate post fire flows or runoff as a result of the Bearskin Fire.
“We want to give the public, particularly archery hunters, enough notice since some may have plans to hunt in this area of unit 34 (Sawtooth Zone) during construction,” said John Kidd, Lowman District Ranger. “They need to plan accordingly because a section of Forest road 579 is expected to be closed and impassable for a short time. Once the project is awarded we will send out another notice closer to implementation.”
A detour around the road closure will be via Forest roads 555, 591, 510, 582 and 563 (see attached map). Forest users should also travel cautiously since they may encounter logging traffic along the detour route.
The Bearskin Fire Burned Area Emergency Report completed in 2017 recommended this treatment to avoid impacts to water quality and riparian areas. The existing culvert is a migration barrier and upgrading this culvert to an AOP structure will open up about 0.6 miles of stream habitat to bull trout colonization within the Deer Creek drainage as well as reduce sediment delivery to critical bull trout habitat.
The work will also reduce the risk of culvert failure which could damage the popular NFS road which is used by summer recreationists and winter snowmobilers.