Parts Of Boise Greenbelt Underwater As Snowpack Melts

May 23, 2018

With southern Idaho reservoirs near capacity and mountain snowpack continuing to melt, the Boise River is taking on a lot of extra water.

Caution signs detour cyclists and runners from part of the Boise Greenbelt near the Parkcenter Bridge with a few inches of water covering parts of the trail.

Those signs stood for months while city crews worked to repair significant flooding damage as last year’s record snowpack flowed through the city.

Danielle Louie was on a run nearby with her husband, Tyson, Wednesday afternoon.

“We saw the caution sign and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe the tree is too low,” Louie says. “I really didn’t expect the river to be up so high.”      

The U.S. Geological Survey pegs the river flow at about 5,250 cubic feet per second – far lower than the Boise River’s flood stage at roughly 7,000 cfs.

Last year, the river reached at least 9,300 cfs as it ate away chunks of its banks – and parts of the Greenbelt with it.

“I wouldn’t want any more erosion to happen on the Greenbelt. It’s one of Boise’s prized gems and I’d like to keep in intact as much as possible,” says Tyson Louie.

A Boise Parks and Recreation spokesperson says they’re not concerned about the high water permanently damaging the beloved trail system at this point.

The other two closed areas, the Bethine Church River Trail and Dallas Harris Pedestrian path, are both entirely underwater.

The Army Corps of Engineers says it’ll hold off releasing water over the next few weeks if the risk of flooding doesn't ease up.

Federal officials expect a full supply of irrigation water for farmers this summer due to the heavy snowpack and leftover water from last year.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio