- LAURIE PEARMAN
- The Boise River float season had a record-setting opening this summer, with Barber Park opening facilities on June 12.
River rafters beware, though. On Monday, June 29, the Bureau of Reclamation will release more water from Lucky Peak Reservior into the Boise River, increasing flows by 400 cubic feet per second, bringing the flow up to 1,200 cfs through the city. Increasing the flow creates a swifter, colder Boise River. Daily flow information can be found here.
According to a news release from the Bureau of Reclamation, the increased flow provides additional water for salmon migration in the lower Snake and Columbia Rivers. To satisfy the 2008 Upper Snake Biological Opinion from the NOAA Fisheries, the state is required to release 427,000 acre feet of water for salmon health, which comes from the Snake, Boise and Payette rivers.
A possible solution to help augment runoff for salmon is to build a 283-foot dam on the Weiser River, creating a 750,000 acre-foot reservoir just a few miles above the town of Weiser. The lake would be almost as large as Lucky Peak, Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch reservoirs put together.
Much of that water could be used for salmon health, relieving pressure from the Boise, Snake and Payette rivers. However, creating such a dam would mean losing recreational benefits and wildlife habitat along the Weiser River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the state.