Collaborative Efforts of Agencies and Landowners Yield Win-Wins: Capital Press Article July 11, 2014

When Hobbies Attack at FCA!

As everything we do at FCA revolves around innovation and invention, it’s no surprise we have some pretty creative thinkers on staff. Today we thought we’d share just a couple examples of how FCA’ers bring their creativity to work.

Genevieve Scholl-Erdmann heads up FCA media, public relations, and metrics data reporting. She is also an art historian and, ipso facto, a painter. Earlier this year, we were all very excited to receive our custom-made scale model of a typical Farmers Screen installation for use in demonstrations in our booth at conferences.

When the model arrived, just in time for the River Restoration Northwest conference in February, we were really excited. The construction of the miniature Farmers Screen and the way that it worked, was perfect. But, we wanted to enhance the surrounding landscape to represent what installations really look like in the field.

So, Genevieve got to escape from behind her desk to have some fun with paints and brushes for a few days. Now our scale-model Farmers Screen is easier to understand. Here’s a fun “Flipagram” of the painting coming together.

Be sure to visit our booth at a conference soon and check it out!

And here it is on its maiden voyage:

Dan Kleinsmith is FCA’s project manager and also an exceptionally talented photographer. Just as he has done with the Farmers Screen, Dan is always exploring new technologies in his photography, designing and engineering cool gadgets to achieve the results he wants and sharing his knowledge, process, and images generously. In the past couple of years, Dan has brought his photographic innovations to work at FCA to create time lapse videos of Farmers Screen installs. These turned out to be a really great way for new clients to learn what to expect when their new modular Farmers Screen is installed.

In his spare time, Dan has also built his own quad copter and mounted FCA’s GoPro camera to it. He has flown it over operating Farmers Screens, creating short films that, again, give our new and potential clients a clear picture of how the Farmers Screen works and what it looks like in the ground. Below is the time lapse of the Sixmile Creek modular installation and a quad copter fly over of the Three Sisters Irrigation District 160 CFS Dual Farmers Screen.

Now we’ve just got to figure out how to bring Roy Slayton‘s hobby into our workday. Our resident spirits-master has just opened a new craft distillery on Hood River’s beautiful waterfront with his business partner, Chris Taylor. Check them out at

Always at the front of the line for a good thing, here’s Julie buying their first bottle. Cheers to hobbies and bottoms up!


River Restoration Northwest and Idaho American Fisheries Society Conferences: FCA on the Road

This just in from Roy:

FCA Sales Manager Roy Slayton

Sometimes I think we take for granted this place that we live and work in. The Columbia River Gorge is home to spectacular vistas, fantastic outdoor recreation of all kinds, and each winter, it is home to a world-class restoration conference – River Restoration Northwest (


At FCA, we keep the River Restoration Northwest conference on our calendar not because it takes place our veritable backyard but because it is an exceptional event. The quality of the presentations, the venue (Skamania Lodge is fabulous), and the interest that we have always received about the Farmers Screen from the over 300 attendees, keeps us coming back year after year.  The conference features a jam-packed three-day presentation schedule and really nice socials. River Restoration Northwest has always been one of our favorites and will be for years to come.

Right after that week of close-to-home networking, it was time to load up for a 1,500 mile journey to Idaho Falls, Idaho for the Idaho American Fisheries Society annual gathering ( FCA had never been to this conference before but after looking over a sample attendee list, we knew that this was a good place for us to be. So, in between snowstorms here in the Gorge, we loaded up and headed east … and we continued that heading for 11 hours.  Once there, we were greeted with firm handshakes, familiar faces, and cold beers — we knew we had made a good choice with this conference.

Business Luncheon-Members-B(02-12-2014)_compressed

Day after day this conference proved to be a phenomenal networking opportunity. It seemed that half of the folks we met with already knew about the Farmers Screen and had some sort of involvement or knowledge of one of our past projects. By the end of the conference, I felt like we had made some great connections. Many of these were with new people and organizations who had knowledge of some potential screening projects where FCA might be able to become involved to help protect fish.  This is what always makes a long trip worth it.

Many thanks to the organizers of River Restoration Northwest and the Idaho American Fisheries Society conferences – we will be back!

Till next time, all the best.


Great article on lamprey passage at McNary Dam – go, lamprey, go!

Orvis and Trout Unlimited’s 1,000 Miles Campaign. We love this!

Bravo to Orvis and Trout Unlimited for working together to reconnect 1,000 miles of fishable streams. Click here to learn more and support this worthy project.

Lamprey Screening Research Underway at USGS

We are very excited about the work being done by Matt Mesa and his team at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, Columbia River Research Laboratory to benefit juvenile lamprey. EarthFIX reporter Courtney Flatt visits the lab in this video. (Obviously, we are also excited to see the Scott Ditch Farmers Screen, installed earlier this year near Naches, WA appear in the video!)

A Very Icy Farmers Screen

We are so thrilled with this video sent to us by our client Bob LeBlanc at Crystal Lakes Fish Hatchery near Fortine, Montana. For the past week or so, the air temperature lows have been near -20 degrees below zero at the screen location, and the water temperature at around 35 degrees. There is a layer of surface ice in the screen flume, but water is still flowing well through the screen, over the weir wall, into the attenuation bay, and back to the return channel.

Learn more about the Deep Creek modular project here. Thanks again to Bob for the video!

On the Road

This just in from Roy:

FCA Sales Manager Roy Slayton

It was 7 days away from home, 1500 miles of highway, 2 conferences and countless conversations about the Farmers Screen.  It’s been a great couple of weeks for myself and Les Perkins.

We started by making the drive down to Bend, Oregon, for the Northwest Hydroelectric Association’s Small Hydropower Workshop. We’ve always had a great experience at this workshop and we weren’t going to miss this one. It’s proven to be a solid couple of days of networking and learning.This year’s workshop was right on point. We were able to talk with folks who are planning projects as well as those who have recently implemented projects. We were also given the opportunity to present the findings from FCA’s recently released Irrigation Hydro Case Study, funded by the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Be sure to read the study to learn about how two distinct irrigation districts located in the Hood River watershed executed their hydro projects and the impacts that they have had on the stream systems.

The presentations at the workshop were great; the setting was ideal for the group; and the mountain biking was fantastic.

FCA'ers and Friends Mountain Biking in Bend

FCA’ers and Friends Mountain Biking in Bend

Yes, we were able to get out on our bikes. When in Bend you have to ride a bike at least one day. We weren’t the only attendees with that idea, seeing as we had 7 bikes in the back of the truck on the way to the trail head.

We were also able to get out to visit FCA’s largest installed Farmers Screen project to date for a tour. We rarely get to participate in tours at this site due to the distance from Hood River. So when Pam Thalacker, Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID) Administrator, agreed to lead a tour for some conference attendees, we jumped on it. We invited a couple of equipment suppliers and engineers to go on-site to see TSID’s 160 CFS Farmers Screen and to hear about the daily operations of TSID. Pam did a wonderful job of describing how the project started, the details of how it turned into a reality and how the Farmers Screen has helped the District with their daily operations.

Chatting with equipment manufacturers during the TSID tour.

Chatting with equipment manufacturers during the TSID tour.

We’d like to thank everyone for the presentations, the interest in the Case Study, and of course the connections that we made with water users who might need some assistance with fish passage at their intakes.

From Bend, we pointed things north to Hood River for a weekend with family before we headed east to Missoula, Montana for the 2013 Pacific Northwest Fish Screening and Passage Workshop.

With the weekend over and 600 miles ahead of us, it was an early start Monday as we were headed to Missoula for the workshop. FCA Project Manager Dan Kleinsmith joined us for this important conference. But before we pulled into Missoula, we made a stop by one of our most recent modular Farmers Screen installations (Sixmile Creek) to see how it looked after the vegetation at the site had had some time to recover from construction. We hadn’t seen it since the first time the client had turned the water on, so it was wonderful for all of us to see how great the screen is performing.  I think between the three of us we must have posted a dozen pictures of the Sixmile Creek screen on the FCA Instagram page. Proud FCA’ers.

Soon after we arrived in Missoula we were greeted by some familiar faces, handshakes and lots of questions about what we had been up to since we had last seen them. Within an hour we were deep into conversation with folks from Hydrolox, US Fish and Wildlife, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, River Design Group and the conference hadn’t even officially begun! Talking about new ideas, issues that we have all encountered, projects that moved forward, projects that didn’t, and how we can all work together to protect fish – such a great feeling.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth for a visit.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth for a visit.

The conference was fantastic. It began with my favorite part: when all of the states agency representatives from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana give updates on what they have been working on over the past couple of years. It’s a great chance to hear about the challenges that are out there, the ways that they overcame those challenges, and to applaud just how talented their teams really are.  Seeing photos and video while listening to the screen shops talk about how they were able to complete some difficult projects is very inspiring. Screening intakes isn’t easy. If it were, we wouldn’t have so many unscreened diversions.

I was particularly interested in the new screen that Idaho Fish and Game was working on, as well as hearing about how the challenges that they were facing prompted them to work on something new and innovative. To me that’s what this conference is all about: the challenge and the solution. Sometimes that challenge is monetary, sometimes it’s geographic, and a lot of times it’s the availability of water, but none of those issues ever stop us from looking for a solution.

After a couple of days of storytelling and presentations, it all ends just as it had began. Lots of shaking hands and good wishes from your friends and colleagues from different states.  We load up the booth, we grab a cup of coffee on the way out of town and take to the road. 600 miles to go.

Till next time, all the best.