Environment

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.

Idaho Fish and Game

Record snowfall in southern Idaho has communities on edge as reservoirs and rivers fill with water. Flooding is also threatening an endangered species of fish.

The threatened fish hatchery sits along the Boise River near Eagle Island State Park, which is above flood stage due to snow and rain. Idaho Fish and Game officials say rising waters could reach electrical pumps used to keep the salmon alive.

Tiberiu Corbu / Flickr

Spring might be here, but gray skies and rain are making it feel more like winter. The storms passing over much of the state are bringing lots of precipitation – and high winds – but things should be drying up soon.

Before nine this morning, over an inch of rain had already come down at the Boise Airport where the National Weather Service has their office. But along with rain – and even a dusting of snow, this storm is packing a powerful breeze.

“The winds here at the airport were about 20 to 30 mph,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Wojcik said.

Amelia Templeton / OPB

A group of western politicians, industry leaders and other stakeholders convened at Boise State Tuesday. The Andrus Center for Public Policy hosted the day-long conference, which included remarks from Congressman Mike Simpson, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and a few Idaho county commissioners.

NMID

Water will start flowing through Boise’s irrigation canals starting next Monday. The Treasure Valley’s largest irrigation district says they expect to have plenty of water this season.

For 112 years, the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District has been providing irrigation water to the Treasure Valley. Next week’s launch of the irrigation season will be the 113th consecutive year for the District.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

About 600,000 young spring chinook salmon have died at a northern Idaho fish hatchery after an electrical problem stopped water from circulating.

The Nez Perce Tribe tells the Lewiston Tribune the fish died at the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery on Friday when an electrical circuit breaker tripped and a warning system to alert hatchery workers failed.

The salmon were a few weeks old and scheduled to be released next spring and return as adults in 2020.

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Counties in all parts of the state have declared various, weather related emergencies. As of Tuesday, 27 counties were listed as being impacted by weather conditions to the point of emergency status.

The latest counties to get disaster status are in the northern part of the state; yesterday Governor Butch Otter declared states of emergency in Latah, Benewah, Shoshone, Clearwater, Bonner, Kootenai and Boundary Counties due to fears of avalanches and flooding.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials have approved an Idaho wildlife conservation plan to avoid potential listings under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on a state plan that identified 205 Idaho species of concern. Grizzlies, salmon and sage grouse were all on the list, as well as monarch butterflies. Wildlife officials are working on taking Yellowstone grizzlies off the Endangered Species List.

ap

A conservation group has created maps identifying key landscapes in three Western states most likely to sustain native species amid climate change and is distributing money to protect private lands in those areas through use-limiting easements or outright purchases.

The Nature Conservancy says it has $6 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation that it's now distributing among land trusts that must come up with five times the amount in matching funds for approved easements or acquisitions.

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