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ICL Protects Idaho's Waters

How ICL works to protect Idaho's waters.

Hot Topic: Raising Arrowrock Dam Creates Problems, Not Solutions

A reputable Treasure Valley study predicts that by 2060, the valley will need 83,000 acre-feet more water per year than we currently use. That has prompted some to call for raising the Arrowrock Dam by an additional 74 feet. However, such a drastic change would have permanent negative impacts on the people and environment of Idaho. Adopting water conservation measures is a faster, less destructive and more economical choice.

Arrowrock Dam Proposal_Ecoflight photo

The same 2010 Water Resources and Information Management Engineering study also found that a 15% reduction in outdoor residential water use would save 82,000 acre-feet of water per year, and that 184,000 acre-feet a year could be saved if water delivery infrastructure was improved to cut waste. Conservation would bring about those benefits for future needs almost immediately.

Arrowrock Dam Proposal2_Ecoflight photo

The South Fork of the Boise River is also a blue ribbon rainbow trout fishery and premier whitewater run. The Middle Fork of the Boise River provides camping and boating for thousands of Idahoans every year. Both forks are eligible to be federally protected wild and scenic rivers for their recreation and scenic values.

The dam raise would flood the current boating and fishing take-out on the South Fork, and put the Middle Fork’s Willow Creek and Cottonwood Campgrounds under water. It would require relocation of the Middle Fork Road into sections of the Boise National Forest currently protected as roadless, to the detriment of the wilderness values that the Idaho Roadless Rule attempts to protect. 

Both forks also provide critical habitat for Endangered Species Act listed bull trout. If the dam is raised 74 feet, nine additional river miles are lost and reservoir is created. This warms water and degrades water quality, two things fatal to bull trout, not to mention other cold-water dependent aquatic species.

For all of these reasons and more, ICL believes an Arrowrock Dam raise causes problems instead of provides solutions. If you have not already, please contact ICL's water associate, Marie Kellner, or sign up for ICL email alerts in order to stay abreast of public comment opportunities related to this proposal.

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We are working hard to protect Idaho waters throughout the state.

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