Several years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB) partnered on a feasibility study of the Boise River. Feasibility of what, you might ask? The feasibility of ideas that would allow for greater flood protection, increased water storage and ecosystem restoration in the Boise basin.
The following ideas are currently on the table:
- raising Arrowrock Dam
- increasing aquifer recharge
- bridge, irrigation head-gate and push-up dam upgrades
- greater use of floodplains
- re-channeling the river near Eagle Island.
What’s Happening Now
Last week the ACOE announced the beginning of the next phase of the study: public input on the current list of ideas. This is where you come in. How? Attend one of four upcoming public meetings, listen and ask questions, and provide written comments. Can’t make the meetings? Read about the study, contact Project Manager Timothy Fleeger with questions (call 509.527.7247 or email), and provide written comments.
Four public meetings are happening this week:
- Tuesday, May 6, 6-8 pm, Garden City Hall, Garden City
- Wednesday, May 7, 11 am-1 pm, Washington Group Plaza, Boise
- Wednesday, May 7, 6-8 pm, Caldwell Industrial Airport, Caldwell
- Thursday, May 8, 6-8 pm, Ray Robison Community Hall, Idaho City
Things Making ICL Take a Hard Look
While many of these projects would be beneficial to the ecosystem and increase water usage efficiency, ICL believes that raising Arrowrock Dam is unnecessary and detrimental to important upstream habitat and recreation.
Also, while Congress authorized funds (see p. 145) for this study with the understanding that the study would investigate flood control, water supply and ecosystem restoration, last year the ACOE announced it would no longer consider ecosystem restoration because the IWRB didn’t want it to. If you believe that restoring and maintaining the Boise River ecosystem should remain a priority, this is your chance to let the ACOE know.
ICL also has concerns about negative effects on bull trout habitat, recreation losses, and how the study factors in changing water demand as land that was once agricultural becomes increasingly residential.
How You Can Be Heard
This is your opportunity to be heard. Let the ACOE know what you value about the Boise River, as well as how you do-or don’t-want your tax dollars spent in managing it.