Quite an influential group of people assembled this week to celebrate a really big win for the Boise River. As an ICL supporter you should give yourself a pat on the back, because you helped make it happen.
The Dixie Drain Phosphorous Offset Project has only one hurdle left-approval from Canyon County-on its multiyear path to fruition. So what in the world is the Dixie Drain Phosphorous Offset Project and why should I care?
Dixie Drain Phosphorous Offset Project?
In a nutshell, it’s a novel way to clean the Boise River, making it more hospitable to people, fish and plants.
More than a nutshell: Excessive phosphorous creates dead zones in waterways, killing plants and making it impossible for fish and other animals to inhabit the water. One of the biggest contributors of phosphorous is agricultural waste, and unfortunately, most ag waste is exempted from the protections of the Clean Water Act-meaning no one is responsible to clean it up. So, we’re left with rivers and lakes full of dead zones that no one wants to recreate in and nothing can live in.
Enter the Dixie Drain project.
In exchange for a little less phosphorous removal at its West Wastewater Treatment Plant, the City of Boise plans to remove phosphorous from the water in the Dixie Drain, a large ag drain that would otherwise not be treated. "We could accomplish our permit requirement with more filtration at the
plant, but the Dixie Drain
Project has a much better environmental return on investment and would
be less expensive in the long run compared to traditional filtration
treatment," says Boise Public Works Director Neal Oldemeyer:
ICL has been a proponent and driver of the project from the beginning, noting that not only will it clean the Boise River, it’s a precedent setting way to clean up agricultural pollution. And we mean it when we say precedent setting: this is the first pollution offset program of its kind in the country! That’s why Congressman Simpson, Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran and Boise Mayor David Bieter, among others, were in attendance at Tuesday’s celebration.
Where You Come In
You might be wondering why you should pat yourself on the back? What did you do? Well, as an ICL supporter, you enable those of us who work here to do our jobs. In this instance, we negotiated with the EPA, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the city for years, ensuring that the project would include a clear environmental benefit. We advocated support for the project at a water right hearing last year, and won. We made sure that the final outcome included a cleaner Boise River than would otherwise exist.
We could not have done our jobs without your support. So, please, take a moment to recognize not only the contribution that you made to clean up the Boise River, but that you helped us lay the ground work for cleaner rivers everywhere!