Snake River

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making a high-stakes bet that it will prevail in a pending lawsuit over Snake River dredging.

BostonTx / Flickr

Environmental groups and the Nez Perce Tribe have filed a lawsuit to prevent dredging of the lower Snake River that enables Lewiston, Idaho, to be the most inland seaport on the West Coast.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Seattle, challenges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a $6.7 million dredging project scheduled to begin next month.

The lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups.

Dave Shumaker / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is famous for its crystal clear rivers. But these days, the Snake River is not one of them.

The Snake is the state’s largest river and it makes southern Idaho’s agriculture economy possible. But that industry is also polluting the Snake

The U.S. Geological Survey uses words like ‘degraded’ and ‘impaired’ to describe parts of the river. Richard Manning calls the Snake “Idaho’s sewer system.”

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The largest-ever review of water rights claims wrapped up in Idaho this week. A project that started in 1987 ended Monday when a judge signed the final decree of the Snake River Basin Adjudication

Conflicts between Idaho Power, its customers and farmers in southern Idaho in the late 1970s prompted the state to tackle the massive review. The goal was simple: to clearly define water rights in the basin to help resolve future disputes during drought. 

Since the project, Idaho has defined more than 158,000 water rights.

J Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its final plan and environmental impact statement for managing sediment accumulation in the lower Snake and Clearwater rivers in northern Idaho.

The plan calls for dredging the navigation channel of the lower Snake River at the confluence of the Clearwater River as early as between Dec. 15 and Feb. 28 this winter.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the agency has been working on the plan since 2005. The final plan is more than 3,900 pages and cost $16 million to prepare.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is boosting the amount of water flowing in the Snake River in an effort to help native fish between Palisades Reservoir and Shoshone Falls.

Michael Beus with the Bureau of Reclamation in Heyburn, Idaho told The Times-News that the faster, deeper flow will give native cutthroat trout an advantage over invasive rainbow trout.

The bureau has been increasing flows every year since 2004.

Ingrid Taylar / Flickr

Officials at the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working on a long-range plan that could lead to delisting fall chinook in the Snake River.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that officials for the first time are setting down precise standards that must be met for the fish to be taken off the endangered species list.

But officials say it's a long process with many hurdles.

columbia river
Shawn Kinkade / Flickr

The Army Corps of Engineers this spring will begin killing birds at some Snake and Columbia river dams to help protect juvenile salmon and steelhead.

The agency unveiled a plan Thursday that will allow as many as 1,200 California gulls, 650 ring-billed gulls and 150 double-crested cormorants to be killed.

The Lewiston Tribune says the action will occur at McNary Dam on the Columbia River and Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams on the Snake River.

Two teams want to re-enact Evel Knievel's famous jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

City of Twin Falls

The Twin Falls City Council will meet tonight and revisit the issue of planning a jump over the Snake River Canyon. It's the first meeting for the group since council members last week voted to deny access to city-owned land to a Texas stunt-man the city has been negotiating with for months. The council had concerns over Ed Beckley's proposed safety plan. 

BigEdBeckley.net

The Twin Falls City Council has denied a Texas motorcycle stuntman's request to lease the site from which Evel Knievel made his failed attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in 1974.

A motion to approve the lease to Beckley Media failed on a 5-2 vote on Monday.

Many council members said they were concerned that "Big Ed" Beckley's safety plan for the proposed September jump was incomplete while some questioned whether local law enforcement could handle the expected crowds.

drought, field, agriculture
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Growers of sugar beets and potatoes in eight counties along southern Idaho's Snake River could be in jeopardy after a fish hatchery's complaint it isn't getting its fair share of water.

Idaho Department of Water Resources' director Gary Spackman signed an order Wednesday telling 2,300 water-right holders they'll have to shut down irrigation if they can't reach a compromise with Rangen Inc, a Hagerman-based fish farm.

snake river, canyon
ChadH / Flickr Creative Commons

Jerome County commissioners in south-central Idaho have approved a permit for a rocket-powered jump of the Snake River Canyon the weekend before another daredevil's attempt.

The Times-News reports that commissioners approved the plan for Scott Record and Scott Traux to launch the rocket Sept. 1 from private land in Jerome County to private land in Twin Falls County.

That's a week ahead of the planned attempt by Texas motorcycle stuntman Big Ed Beckley.

tilapia
MHaze / Flickr Creative Commons

A Twin Falls fish and frog farm has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine as part to settle a case over illegal discharging of phosphorus into the Snake River.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Tuesday with McCollum Enterprises, Limited Partnership, which operates the Canyon Springs Fish Farm.

Regulators accused the company of more than 550 violations of its discharge permit between June 2008 and March 2012.

snake river, canyon
ChadH / Flickr Creative Commons

Evel Knievel's 1974 Snake River jump site and 425 acres along the Snake River Canyon are now part of the Twin Falls city limits.

The city council on Monday unanimously approved annexing the land, which includes the Centennial Trail and the city gun range.

The city obtained the property in a 2012 land swap. With daredevils seeking to use the Knievel site to launch a rocket across the canyon, city officials want to make sure they have full jurisdiction over the site.

BigEdBeckley.net

Idaho schools will get $943,000 from a Texas stuntman, in return, the stuntman has purchased the right to jump the Snake River Canyon.

The bid made by "Big" Ed Beckley in a public auction last week is due to the state of Idaho Friday afternoon. He'll wire the money to the state.

Beckley is a 63-year-old who's been jumping motorcycles since the mid 1970s.  At 285 lbs. he bills himself as the world's largest motorcycle jumper. 

Brian Thom and Ardele Hanson

Four years ago, Brian Thom, the Episcopal Bishop of Idaho, came up with a plan to ask Ardele Hanson to marry him.  He wanted to recreate a special moment by kayaking up the Snake River to a lush, green island they had visited that summer. 

In his pocket was an engagement gift, a heart-shaped necklace.  The couple sat down in the StoryCorps booth in Boise to talk about that day.

Why The Snake River In Idaho Runs Dry For Miles

Jun 17, 2013
Frank Kovalchek / Flickr Creative Commons

If you were to go to the banks of the Snake River downstream of Milner Dam near Burley, you wouldn’t see much more than a trickle of water. That’s because the federal Bureau of Reclamation shut off the river flow on June 4.

For at least 25 miles, there isn’t enough water for a kayaker to paddle through. Idaho Power runs the hydroelectric plant at the dam, and says the zero flow will impact its operations through late July.  

Greg Harness / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has reached a settlement agreement with Jerome Cheese Company that would have the cheesemaker paying more than $300,000 in fines for dumping too many pollutants into the Snake River.

KelleyTravel / Flickr

A new study says the nation’s aquifers are shrinking at an alarming rate The problem is not as bad in the Northwest, thanks to an abundance of rivers and streams. But even here, aquifers are shrinking.

Think of all the water in Lake Erie. Then double it. That’s how much water has drained since 1900 from aquifers in the U.S. When these underground water bodies shrink, it means less water for cities, farms and streams.

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