U of I researching artificial beaver dams as stream restoration tool

Idaho News
By John O'Connell; University of Idaho A beaver dam analog at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch. University of Idaho. University of Idaho researchers are testing artificial beaver dams as a tool to restore degraded stream systems, thereby improving riparian habitat and bolstering the late-season water supply. Known as beaver dam analogs, these structures comprise the same materials beavers use in nature, including willow boughs, sediment and stone. They cause water to pool and spill beyond the banks. The spillage supports marshland vegetation before seeping into the groundwater and re-emerging later in the season downstream. Beaver dam analogs provide an option to restore habitat where resources are insufficient to support beavers or where beavers would pose a nuisance. A team of researchers with U of I’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences…
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Study finds freshwater fish contain high levels of ‘forever chemicals’ contamination

Idaho News
Scripps News A new study from Environmental Working Group scientists found that eating just one freshwater fish could be the equivalent of drinking a month’s worth of water contaminated with PFOS. That’s a set of “forever chemicals” in the same family as PFAS. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are found in nonstick and water-resistant consumer products. PFAS are commonly referred to as forever chemicals because they do not break down in the environment. “For anyone consuming freshwater fish, we actually think this is likely their largest source of exposure to these compounds,” said David Andrews, EWG senior scientist and one of the study’s lead authors. The scientists analyzed data from over 500 fish fillet samples that were collected across the U.S. from 2013 to 2015 under monitoring programs by…
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Snake headwater reservoirs benefit less from recent storms

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Palisades Reservoir on the Upper Snake River in eastern Idaho. Comstock Upper Snake River managers are watching the basin’s important east side, where headwater areas so far have seen comparatively less benefit from recent Pacific storms. Snowpack to date for the Oct. 1 water year is looking good, but total precipitation in the east is trailing the other smaller sub-basins, said Brian Stevens, area water operations manager for the U.S.Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office in Heyburn, Idaho. “The eastern side of the Upper Snake basin is by far the largest contributor to runoff volumes in the system, and we still need above-average precipitation for the rest of the winter and spring — into late June — to have potential to fill the system,”…
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Little calls for more spending on water, roads, rural infrastructure

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Idaho Gov. Brad Little will again ask the Legislature to spend substantially on water and road infrastructure, and other work that benefits the agriculture sector and rural communities. The proposed spending of money available in the short term — from a state budget surplus and federal economic stimulus funds — targets long-term benefits, said Alex Adams, the governor’s budget director. Water infrastructure exemplifies ongoing needs, he said. Last year’s grant requests to help pay for system improvements easily exceeded the increased money available, and much of the new money to add storage capacity went to a few big projects. Continuing to make long-range, strategic investments in roads, water and other key areas bodes well for quality of life and reduces burdens on local budgets, Little…
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Idaho DEQ awards more than $59 million to municipalities for water improvements

Idaho News
By Kelcie Moseley-Morris; Idaho Capital Sun (Getty Images) The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality announced grant awards of more than $59 million from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to improve 11 drinking water and wastewater systems across the state, according to a press release. The $59.1 million in construction grants are part of $300 million distributed through the State Revolving Loan Fund in 2022 and Gov. Brad Little’s Leading Idaho initiative. “Water is our most valuable resource, and we absolutely must keep up the infrastructure to ensure water is clean and plentiful for this generation and future ones,” Little said in the release. “These investments also could keep your property taxes low. Property taxes are determined locally, but the investments we made in water and other infrastructure needs at…
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About Facebook Kuna’s power, water, tax incentives, employees, roads — and urban renewal

Idaho News
By Margaret Carmel; BoiseDev Proposed data center for Meta Platforms Inc. in Kuna, Idaho. Via Meta Facebook’s parent company Meta announced this week it’s bringing a new data center to town and with it came a slew of questions. Two years after Governor Brad Little signed legislation giving a tax break for data centers, Meta announced to great fanfare its plans to bring a facility to Kuna and bring 1,200 jobs and water infrastructure with it. But, how will this project impact industrial growth east of Kuna? What will Meta’s promised water project look like? Here’s what we know (and don’t know) so far. Water, water, water There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Meta’s promise to “add more water than we consume” to Boise’s watershed. Aaron Scheff,…
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Groundwater Replenishes Much Faster Than Scientists Previously Thought

Research
By Rachel Fritts; EOS Groundwater makes up most of the world’s liquid fresh water and might play a bigger role in sustaining streams and plant life than previously thought. Credit: Dr. Andrew Fisher/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.  Source: Geophysical Research Letters A large part of the world’s liquid freshwater supply comes from groundwater. These underground reservoirs of water—which are stored in soil and aquifers—feed streams, sustain agricultural lands, and provide drinking water to hundreds of millions of people. For that reason, researchers are keen to understand how quickly surface water replenishes, or “recharges,” groundwater stores. But measuring a vast, fluid, underground resource is easier said than done. In a new study, Berghuijs et al. found that recharge rates might double previous estimates. The research team produced an updated model of groundwater recharge using a recent global synthesis…
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EPA Announces $263 Million WIFIA Loan to Boise, Idaho to Modernize Wastewater Infrastructure and help recharge the Boise River water supply

Idaho News, National News
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $263 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Boise, Idaho, to support its Water Renewal Services Capital Investments Project. With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping the City of Boise improve wastewater treatment processes to protect the Boise River’s water quality and ultimately recharge the drought burdened Boise River with high quality effluent. “Maintaining and upgrading water infrastructure is essential for the health of a community like Boise, which is a fast-growing city struggling with drought,” EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox said. “Thanks to this WIFIA loan, the City of Boise can upgrade wastewater treatment technology to better safeguard the Boise River and even help recharge its water supply while providing good-paying jobs.”…
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EPA Announces FY 2022 Enforcement and Compliance Accomplishments

National News
EPA Press Office WASHINGTON – Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announced the FY 2022 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results report, highlighting increased inspections in the aftermath of the pandemic, reductions in significant noncompliance under the Clean Water Act, and aggressive actions to target the most serious water, air, land, and chemical violations that impact communities across the countryTaken together, OECA’s criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement cases reduced, treated or eliminated pollutants by 95 million pounds and required violators to pay over $300 million in penalties, fines and restitution. In keeping with EPA’s Strategic Plan, OECA focused on working to mitigate the effects of climate change and advance environmental justice in the enforcement program.“In FY 2022, EPA’s enforcement and compliance program used a…
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Idaho Transportation Department confirms oil leaking into Lake Coeur d’Alene

Idaho News
By Bill Buley; KREM 2 Credit: Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Idaho Transportation Department confirmed Monday that oil is leaking from construction equipment that fell into Lake Coeur d'Alene more than 30 years ago, reports the Coeur d'Alene Press. A sheen of oil observed on the water near Higgens Point was first reported on social media late Wednesday. ITD and Department of Environmental Quality officials surveyed the site Thursday morning and containment booms were set along about 75 feet of shoreline. "We will be adding additional booms to try to keep the oil away from the shoreline and contain it," wrote Megan Jahns, Idaho Transportation Department spokeswoman. A diver on Friday was unable to see the source of the leak due to darkness. Another dive is expected…
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