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.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers wants to dredge a deeper channel for barges in the waters behind southeastern Washington’s Lower Granite Dam. Idaho’s Port of Lewiston says the work is important to keep the local economy moving. But some environmental groups opposed to the plan.
Damming the lower Snake River in southeastern Washington has turned the nearby town of Lewiston, Idaho into the Northwest’s most inland seaport. But the build-up of sediment is making the water too shallow for barges to navigate the waters behind the Lower Granite Dam.
Early in the last century, people living in Hells Canyon didn't have much contact with the outside world. Their lifeline were the mail boats that braved the challenging Snake River. Former Lewis Clark State College professor Carole Simon-Smolinski has been studying Hells Canyon. She'll talk about the mail boat tradition tonight in Boise. She says the boats started running around 100 years ago.
Ice jams on the Salmon River are causing flooding concerns. The National Weather Service reports continued sub-zero temperatures in Lemhi County. The cold weather could mean the river will flood low-lying areas this week.
David Evetts is with the U.S. Geological Survey in Idaho. He says there is one ice jam north and one south of Salmon. Evetts says it’s common for ice jams to form in the area, but flooding isn’t always the end result.