Water

Water
7:02 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Farmers Urge EPA To 'Ditch' Proposed Clean Water Act Revisions

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

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Environment
10:47 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Updated 'Shade Rule' Aims To Protect Idaho Fish Habitat

Credit Oregon Department of Forestry / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has long restricted cutting down trees along stream banks as a way to keep water cool for trout and a salmon. On July 1, an updated version of the so-called shade rule goes into effect.   

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Event
1:51 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Supreme Court Justice Scalia To Speak At Idaho Water Conference

Justice Scalia at a book signing in San Francisco.
Credit Shawn / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will visit Boise in August to give the keynote speech at a conference marking the end of a nearly 30-year water adjudication process.

The University of Idaho announced the upcoming event is sponsored by the Idaho Supreme Court, the Kempthorne Institute, and U of I’s College of Law.

Scalia is speaking at a conference celebrating the end of the Snake River Basin Adjudication process which negotiated water rights in Idaho. That adjudication started in 1987.

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Environment
1:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Idaho Takes Over Water Pollution Permits

Idaho is starting the process of taking over wastewater permitting from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, under a law that quietly cleared the Idaho Legislature earlier this year.

Water
9:59 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Snake River Water Flows Increased To Help Fish

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.

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Environment
9:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Feds To Spend $38 Million On North Idaho River Cleanup

The Coeur d'Alene River Basin is one of the country's largest Superfund sites.
Credit Threefatcats / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials plan to spend $38 million in northern Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin this summer cleaning up toxic pollution left from a century worth of mining in the region.

The Environmental Protection Agency tells the Coeur d'Alene Press that up to 125 residential and commercial properties will be cleaned up.

Agency spokesman Ed Moreen says that more than 17 miles of paved roads in eight upper basin communities will be repaired or replaced.

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Fish
9:56 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon Make A Comeback

Credit Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

The Snake River's fall chinook salmon are making a comeback.

There were just 78 wild chinook salmon counted at the Lower Granite Dam in 1990. Last year, more than 20,000 of the wild salmon were counted, and 75,846 wild and hatchery-born fall chinook total.

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Water
4:25 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Slow Snow Melt Means Record Low River Flow Through Boise

In early April, the Boise River in Boise was flowing at about three times its current rate.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Flow in the Boise River set a record low this week. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, flow Thursday at the Glenwood bridge on Boise’s west side was the lowest ever recorded on May 8. 

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Water
6:32 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tribes Optimistic About Returning Salmon To Upper Columbia Basin

File photo. An aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, the border between Oregon and Idaho.

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

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Water
3:58 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Water Supply Rebounds Across Most of Northwest After March Storms

On this map of current snow conditions, blues and greens are good. Red, orange and yellow represent below average snowpack.
Northwest River Forecast Center

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest according to the latest regional water supply forecast.

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Water
2:09 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Two Idaho Rivers Make Most Endangered In America List

The Lochsa River flows through Idaho's Clearwater National Forest along scenic Highway 12.
Credit Keith Ewing | Idaho Fish and Game / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's Clearwater and Lochsa rivers have made it on a list of top 10 most endangered rivers in America. The list is put out every year by American Rivers, an advocacy group that works to protect and restore rivers in the U.S.

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Water
11:05 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Boise River Flow Increases Sixfold, Water Managers To Maintain Current Level

Flow in the Boise River has increased significantly in the last several days. Whitewater - absent for much of the winter - can be see in this location in east Boise.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Those managing water flow in the Boise River Basin say they plan to keep the river at its current level for the foreseeable future.

The river is been flowing at roughly 1,800 cubic feet per second at the Glenwood Street bridge in Boise.  The flow last week was around 300 cfs and then increased steadily over the weekend.

Snake River Area Office Water Operations Manager Brian Sauer says the outflow at Lucky Peak reached 1,800 cfs for the first time this season at 8 a.m. Monday.  Flood level is 7,000 cfs.

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Drought
8:55 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Drought In Idaho's Elmore County Means It's Now A Disaster Area

The latest drought map of Idaho, issued March 27, 2014 by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a southern Idaho county to its list of Idaho regions considered natural disaster areas because of drought.

The department designated Elmore County a primary natural disaster area, making farmers and ranchers in the county eligible for natural disaster assistance. Other Idaho counties with federal natural disaster declarations include Ada, Boise, Custer, Owyhee, Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Twin Falls.

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Water
5:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Idaho Seeks Preliminary Permit From FERC As Part Of Weiser Dam Study

Flooding on the Weiser River near Cambridge kept state crews busy in early March. Better flood control would be one goal of a new dam on the river.
Credit Idaho Transportation Department

 Idaho water managers this week filed an application for a preliminary permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. The state's Water Resource Board continues to study the feasibility of building a new dam on the Weiser River. 

The Galloway Dam Site would include a 40-60 megawatt hydropower plant.  The project would be located 13.5 miles upstream of the confluence of the Weiser and Snake rivers.

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Columbia River
5:00 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Fish Experts Plan A Salmon Water Slide On Cracked Wanapum Dam

File photo of the fish ladder at John Day Dam on the Columbia River. The fish ladders at the Wanapum and the Rock Island dams are dry.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:24 pm

The ongoing issue with the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is now creating a problem for migrating salmon.

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Environment
9:56 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:00 pm

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

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Water
9:08 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Worried Washington Farmers Plead For Help To Water Fruit Trees

Becuase of the drawdown. this irrigation pipe for cherry orchards that lies four miles downstream from Rock Island Dam cannot reach water in the Wanapum pool.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:20 pm

In central Washington, state officials and farmers are scrambling to save orchards at risk of drying up because of a drawdown of the Columbia River.

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Water
7:57 am
Thu March 13, 2014

How One Snowstorm Can Change Idaho's Seasonal Water Outlook

Brian McInerney is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
Credit Julie Rose / For Boise State Public Radio

Randy Julander measures snowpack for the U.S. government’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. It’s his job to tell water users what they can expect to see flowing down their streams and irrigation canals come spring.

When Julander answered my recent phone call, he was way up in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. He was having some mixed feelings.

"Gosh, it’s clear skies and the sun is hotter than a two-dollar pistol. I’m sitting here at 8,500 feet and in shirt sleeves," Julander said.

"Does that seem like a good sign?" I asked.

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Water
7:30 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Recent Rain Turns Concern To Optimism For Idaho Rafting Companies

Credit Cascade Raft and Kayak

The stretch of rain and snow across much of Idaho in the last few weeks has transformed what looked to be a terrible water year into a pretty good one. It’s not just farmers who are breathing easier now. Many in Idaho’s tourism industry, like whitewater rafting companies, rely on snowpack and stream flows as well.

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Water
12:22 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Latest Snowpack Map Shows Continued Improvement In Idaho's Water Supply

Click on the map to enlarge.
Credit NRCS/USDA

The latest map showing the water content of Idaho’s snowpack reveals the state continues to make up significant deficits seen early this winter.

Idaho has 21 basins where the Natural Resources Conservation Service measures snow accumulation and then assesses how the water content compares to that of a normal year. As of Thursday, all but five are at 80 percent of their average, or greater.

The Boise River basin is at 95 percent. The Payette River basin is 94. Most areas in central, northern and eastern Idaho are now above 100 percent of their normal snowpack levels.

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