For Immediate Release:

(BOISE) Elmore County’s plan to divert water from the Boise River Basin to Mountain Home has been approved for permitting by a hearing officer from the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) on Tuesday, April 2.

The Idaho Conservation League, City of Boise, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Boise Project Board of Control, and more than a dozen Treasure Valley irrigation groups opposed the plan.

Marie Callaway Kellner, ICL’s water associate, said, “We’re disappointed with IDWR’s ruling. The South Fork of the Boise River is prime habitat for Idaho fish and a valued natural resource for anglers and recreationists. While IDWR’s decision protects minimal flows in the South Fork Boise, it ignores scientific evidence showing that the river needs consistent higher flushing  flows to maintain healthy fishery and wildlife habitat.”

She continued, “Elmore County’s experts didn’t recognize the negative economic impact of their proposal on the South Fork of the Boise River. It’s estimated that fisheries on that waterway contribute about $9 million to the local economy.”

Kellner said she will consult with other interested parties on next steps.

Elmore County officials first applied to IDWR in 2017 to divert 200 cubic feet per second or 10,000 acre feet per year of water from the South Fork of the Boise River. The county will have to build a high lift pump and pipeline to move water from Anderson Ranch Reservoir to the Mountain Home Irrigation District in an effort to recharge its aquifer and supplement irrigation.

This project will be the largest interbasin transfer of a water right on record in Idaho.