Environment

Julie Falk / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a frustrating spring for southwest Idaho farmers. Abnormal weather has been causing problems and delaying planting for many of those who grow sugar beets, onions and other crops.

Canyon County Extension agent Jerry Neufeld says the constant spring rain has really slowed the process down. Farmers who normally have all their spring planting done by now are seeing their workload start to backup.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Zoo Boise is giving a quarter of a million dollars to the city to help protect the foothills. It's all part of the zoo’s conservation mission.

Zoo Boise raises conservation funds to help wildlife in need all around the world. So Director Steve Burns says giving some of that money to preserve the Boise Foothills makes perfect sense.

“This is our backyard,” says Burns.

Burns says people love the foothills, but it’s also a home for a wide variety of wildlife.

Boise Police Department / Twitter

Much of the Greenbelt is closed and underwater, due to flooding on the Boise River. But eventually, the water will recede, leaving much of the 25 miles of pathway damaged or destroyed. But Boise has a plan once the river slows down.

In many places, the Greenbelt has been totally washed out by the river, which is well above flood stage. And City of Boise Spokesman Mike Journee says there’s more damage below the surface of the path.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Boise officials have expressed concerns with federal maps that propose adding hundreds of acres to a flood plain in the city, which could increase the cost and difficulty of buying or developing nearby property.

The city disagrees with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over maps predicting the contours of a 100-year flood between Lucky Peak Dam and the Snake River. A 100-year flood is an event FEMA predicts has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in a single year, The Idaho Statesman reported.

Tim Bartholomaus / University of Idaho

An Idaho scientist is part of a team looking at Greenland’s ice sheet. It’s the Earth’s second-largest ice sheet and it’s melting, contributing to a rise in sea levels around the globe. The team’s goal was to figure out which glaciers to watch to predict how the sea level will respond in the future.

When University of Idaho geography professor Tim Bartholomaus started studying glaciers in Greenland for NASA, he thought they would be boring.

“That they’d all be the same, they just sit there, maybe they move a little bit, they melt, how interesting could this be?” he asked.

Timelapsed / Flickr

Visitors to National Park Service land in Idaho brought in almost $40 million to the state economy last year.

A new report from National Parks found that almost 629,000 people came to Idaho monuments and historic sites in 2016. They spent $31 million and created 525 jobs. That had a cumulative benefit of almost $40 million to Idaho’s economy.

There are seven facilities in Idaho managed by the National Park Service. That includes the Minidoka National Historical Site and Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Boise Police Department / Twitter

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says residents facing possible springtime flooding aren't taking seriously what he calls a potential disaster.

Otter made a plea Wednesday for people to pay closer attention to the situation on the flooded Boise River.

“We’ve got to get the word out that this is a disaster waiting to happen. We don’t need people to add to it by getting on the river or getting on the river banks,” said Otter.

Alberto Garcia / Flickr

As the Boise River continues to run well above flood stage, the heightened water level is making for ideal mosquito breeding conditions in some areas. Officials in Canyon County are identifying regions where exploding mosquito larvae populations are showing up.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

You may see some large patches of blue in the Boise Foothills, starting this week. It’s part of a program stop wildfires in the iconic trail system.

The blue dye is an herbicide that crews will apply to manage non-native grasses and problem weeds. Those are the plants that compete with native species and increase the risk of fire.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

As dam officials bump up the water flow on the Boise River yet again this week, it’s a good time to take a look at the numbers that matter during this flooding event.

This week, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to raise the water level at the Glenwood Bridge to 8,500 cubic feet per second. As of Wednesday, crews were pushing 9,240 cfs of water out of Lucky Peak Dam. Gina Baltrusch with the Walla Walla District of the Corps says about 1,000 cfs is being diverted into irrigation canals and the rest is flowing down the Boise.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife / Associated Press

Organizers of a wolf- and coyote-shooting contest in east-central Idaho say they're looking at other parts of the state for similar contests on U.S. Forest Service land following a federal court ruling.

"Having this lawsuit out of the way and having this legal precedent, we will probably consider it a lot greater now," Steve Alder, Idaho for Wildlife's executive director, said Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Bush in a 20-page ruling late last month said Idaho for Wildlife didn't need a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to hold the contest.

Dave Thomas / Flickr

The brutal winter is still affecting the Treasure Valley as record amounts of snow have yet to melt and enter the complex system of reservoirs and dams that store runoff. To prevent a crisis in the event of a heat wave and to accommodate all the water stored in the snow, dam officials are once again raising the Boise River.

ramsbee / Flickr

As the Boise River continues flowing well above flood stage, officials are watching the water for downed trees and other large debris that could prove hazardous. They’re the latest threat along the Greenbelt.

Powerful winds late last week blew seven trees into the water between Capitol Boulevard and Americana in Boise that had to be fished out. The fear is toppled trees could collect at bridges, form natural dams and cause even more flooding along the swollen river.

Google Maps

Entergy Nuclear Operations shut down its Vermont power plant in 2014. But much of the waste from the facility remains, including 200,000 gallons of low-level radioactive water. The company applied for permission to truck the water across the country to a site near Grand View, Idaho, about 40 miles south of Boise.

Boise River, Flooding
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release even more water from Lucky Peak Dam next week, up to 8,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) by Wednesday. Flood stage is considered to be 7,000 cfs, and was reached a month ago. Before they do that, a team led by engineers from the federal agency in Washington will help put up a levee to protect parts of Ada County near Eagle Island.

Chinook Salmon
Roger Tabor / USFWS Pacific

Juvenile salmon and steelhead migrating out of the Columbia River Basin in unusually high flows this year face a potentially lethal problem in spillways at dams where increased nitrogen in the water can cause tissue-damaging gas bubble trauma.

But fisheries managers say special features at dams meant to reduce nitrogen will help young fish make it to the ocean and predict survival this year will be about average based on previous high-flow years.

Boise Parks and Recreation Department

Flooding along the Boise River continues to get worse. Another section of the Greenbelt, this time near Veterans Memorial Park, was closed Tuesday. More emergency declarations were issued and a special team from the Army Corps of Engineers was deployed to Boise.

John Miller

The Owyhee Project provides water from the Owyhee Reservoir to almost 1,800 farms in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon. But despite ample snow and rain this winter, the irrigation district will charge $4 more per acre for water this season.

That’s because the irrigation system is in need of repairs, according to the Capital Press newspaper. The Owyhee project was built in 1932 and is close to reaching its expected life span.

Jim Jones

Before he was a member of the Idaho Supreme Court, Jim Jones was part of the biggest water fight in the Gem State’s modern history. Jones has a new book out that chronicles that time.

Jones was elected to the first of two terms as Idaho Attorney general in 1982. Not long after he started the job, the Idaho Supreme Court issued a decision that reversed 30 years of policy and essentially gave Idaho Power priority of control over much of the water in the Snake River.

Washington State Department of Transportation / Flickr Creative Commons

One five-year-old and one six-year-old ram were killed near Challis Thursday. In a press release, Idaho Fish and Game officials say they attempted to first capture the animals with darts, but ended up euthanizing them after those attempts failed.

Domestic sheep carry diseases that can be devastating for wild bighorn herds. A 2010 state policy outlined the practice of removing animals that have come into contact with livestock. Samples from both the sheep and the rams have been sent to a lab for testing.

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