The Barber Dam in east Boise lost power one night in February of 2015. Once offline, the flow of water through the hydroelectic plant stopped – causing the river to run dry for about eight hours. It turned out that Enel Green Power – an international company -- was leasing the facility from Ada County, and the company's alarm system had failed.
Once news of the outage broke, biologists and environmental groups raised concerns about the fish likely killed from the low flows. In response, Ada County and Enel have agreed on plans for a river restoration project this fall. Joe Kozfkay of Idaho Fish and Game says the project could be a big help to the fishery.
“This is a large scale one and we hope this can be replicated throughout the river to improve habitat for trout," says Kozfkay. The project will include moving about 50 boulders into the river near Barber Dam to give brown and rainbow trout more cover. Kozfkay says the idea is to give the fish more protection from predators. Ada County is contributing $30,000 dollars for the project while Enel will provide $15,000. “I think that Ada County really stepped up and I think that Enel partially stepped up,” says Kozfkay.
Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio