Just in time for prime summer season, the Ada County Commission is turning lemons into lemonade.

Earlier this year, a power failure at the Barber Dam stopped flow past the dam overnight, drying up miles of the Boise River and killing untold numbers of fish.

The dam is owned by Ada County and operated by international power company Enel Green Power. In response to this accident, ICL immediately began asking both for answers. I’m pleased to report that they are delivering.

On May 27, Ada County held a public meeting explaining what happened and the measures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The public was invited to speak, and many people did. Common themes were appreciation for the river as a recreational amenity, concerns about impacts to the fishery from the dewatering, and requests that the county and Enel show their appreciation for the river by committing to a restoration project.

In late June, Ada County convened a concerned stakeholders group as an Environmental Advisory Board. The EAB’s first task is identifying a river restoration project to be jointly funded by Enel and the county. But they aren’t stopping there. The EAB’s long term job is broadening the dialogue between the Ada County Commission and its constituents about environmental concerns and opportunities in our community. ICL is pleased to be an EAB member and thanks the County Commission for showing the necessary leadership to prioritize the health of all of Ada County’s natural resources.

BSU Public Radio reporter Frankie Barnhill broke the Barber Dam story when she showed up to work that February morning and looked out her window at the river to discover there was no river.   She continues to follow the story-listen to her latest piece!