Zoo Boise is worried about the safety of its animals, as flood waters continue to rise along the Boise River. The city, which owns the zoo, is building a "Muscle Wall" to keep the water back. The flood barrier will be 2,000-feet-long and two-to-four feet tall.
City engineers say it will be similar to the flood barrier that was built to protect a gravel pit near Eagle Island.
Managers at the zoo say it's a proactive step. They say if the zoo were to flood, more than 200 animals would have to be moved. That would be logistically difficult, expensive and stressful for the animals. Doug Holloway, the head of Boise Parks and Recreation, says they're taking the step "out of an abundance of caution."
Evacuating the animals could cost as much as $600,000. The flood barrier should only cost $130,000 and most of that will by covered by grant money from Ada County Emergency Management. The barrier should be up in a few days.
The Boise River is at 9,300 cubic feet per second. Flood stage is 7,000 cfs. City managers say they have been warned by federal officials that the current weather conditions could cut down on the amount of advance warning if more water will be released by the Lucky Peak Dam. Instead of three or four days, the warmer weather could mean just a 24-hour notice. That would leave the zoo with little time to evacuate.
The flood barrier will stay in place until the high water recedes.
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