News

Restrictions on Salmon River to protect spawn start Aug. 15

Idaho News
Magic Valley Times News Salmon spawning. Restrictions on the Upper Main Salmon River within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area begin Aug. 15. These restrictions are in effect each summer to provide spawning salmon their best chance to successfully lay their eggs in the gravels of the Salmon River, over 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean. On Aug. 15, the following stretches of river are closed to boating: Buckhorn Bridge to Stanley, Mormon Bend to Yankee Fork, and Torrey’s Takeout to the Eastern boundary of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. At this time, Indian Riffles and Torrey’s Hole are designated Quiet Zones. Quiet Zones require boaters to seek deep water, remain in their boats, and minimize paddling or other activities that may disturb spawning fish. Lower O’Brien Campground, the river side…
Read More

Health Advisory Issued for Harmful Algal Bloom at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir

Idaho News
Magic Valley Times-News The Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir has shown an elevated level of cyanotoxin, according to the Department of Environmental Quality, on Monday. A public health advisory has been issued warning people to avoid contact with the water. Discovery of elevated levels of a cyanotoxin —  a harmful algal bloom — at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir has prompted the South Central Public Health District to issue a public health advisory. Recent tests from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality shows levels of a cyanotoxin, microcystin, are now at unhealthy levels in the reservoir. Exposure to this toxin can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. When recreating at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir the public is advised to take the following steps to protect their health: Avoid exposure to water…
Read More

Idaho Department of Water Resources won’t shut off groundwater users – at this point

Idaho News
By Clark Corbin; Idaho Capital Sun The south fork of the Snake River runs for more than 60 miles across southeastern Idaho. (Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management) The Idaho Department of Water Resources won’t be shutting off the water for hundreds of groundwater users pumping off the Eastern Snake Plan Aquifer in Idaho at this point in the summer. Last week, Idaho Department of Water Resources Director Gary Spackman found that there was no water demand shortfall for surface water users based on mid-summer water supplies and crop demand, the department announced in a press release issued Thursday. As a result of Spackman’s decision, it will not be necessary to curtail, or shut off the water, for the junior groundwater users, according to the press release. That’s good news…
Read More

Water use soaring

Idaho News
By Bill Buley; Coeur d'Alene-Post Falls Press A sprinkler sprays water on a Coeur d'Alene lawn on Monday. Bill Buley COEUR d'ALENE — In June, the city of Coeur d'Alene pumped 780.8 million gallons of water.  If that sounds like a lot, it is.  That was 350 million gallons more than the same month last year when the city pumped 430.8 million gallons. Terry Pickel, Coeur d'Alene water department director, attributes the soaring water use to hot and dry conditions and residents' efforts to keep lawns green by running sprinklers. July is shaping up much the same.  "I would certainly expect to see a significant July increase as temps are soaring," he wrote in an email to The Press on Monday. The city is considering a water conservation ordinance to…
Read More

Summer heat can cause dangerous conditions in Idaho’s rivers and lakes

Idaho News, Research
By Drew Pendleton; Dept. of Health and Welfare As temperatures increase, so does the likelihood of a cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (cyanoHAB). CyanoHABs are caused by cyanobacteria, and the toxins they produce are harmful to humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife. CyanoHABs can change and increase rapidly if conditions are right. They favor warm water, sunlight, and specific nutrients in the water. These blooms can last throughout the summer into fall. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) samples and analyzes Idaho water bodies for cyanoHABs. The test results are provided to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and local public health districts, and they decide if a health advisory should be issued. For information on advisories, visit the DHW’s Idaho Recreational Water Advisories map for more information. The…
Read More

Reservoirs across Idaho nearing or at capacity

Idaho News
By Ruth Brown; Idaho Capital Sun Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The Upper Snake River Basin’s reservoir capacity is nearing its limit as the Portneuf River continues to flood, but the National Weather Service isn’t concerned about spillover from reservoirs in southeast Idaho. Bureau of Reclamation data from Wednesday showed the Henry’s Lake and Grassy Lake reservoirs are at 100% capacity, while most of the reservoirs in the Upper Snake system are between 91 and 98% capacity. Milner Reservoir is only 74% full, and Jackson Lake Reservoir is 71% full. Collectively, the Upper Snake River System is at 88% of capacity, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. There is a minor flood warning in place along the Portneuf River at Pocatello, affecting Bannock County. But Tim Axford, meteorologist at the National Weather…
Read More

NRCS bulletin on refining FY24 source water protection local priorities

National News
Deirdre White; ASDWA The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released its new national bulletin on “Refining Source Water Protection Local Priorities for FY 2024.” The purpose of the bulletin is to provide an opportunity for NRCS State Conservationists to work with partners (including state source water protection programs) to update the high priority source water protection (SWP) areas in each state. This bulletin is issued each year to refine the areas and continue to implement the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill that requires NRCS to dedicate at least 10 percent of its conservation program funds for source water protection. State source water protection programs are encouraged to contact and continue working with your NRCS State Conservationists office and State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and/or the source water…
Read More

Local elementary students learn everything about H2O at Water Awareness Festival

Idaho News
By Seth Ratliff; Local News 8 IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Organized mayhem at Tautphaus Park as fifth and sixth graders gather for the Water Awareness Week Festival. The event was put on by the Department of Environmental Quality to teach kids the importance of water while having an explosive good time. "The hopes is that they can they can see how fun science is," DEQ scientist Rick Jensen said. "Understanding the special properties that water has and that it really is a special resource and worth preserving." The festival included presentations and activities from the National Weather Service, Idaho Departments of Environmental Quality, Water Resources, and Fish & Game and more. "It's really effective for us to come and  reach a lot of kids at once..." Fish and Game…
Read More

Rainstorms are moving into Boise. Will there be more flooding? Here’s what to expect

Idaho News
By Shaun Goodwin; Idaho Statesman Boiseans have been spoiled the past few days with temperatures in the 80s and no rain, but good things never last forever. Starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday afternoon, about half an inch of rain is expected to fall in the city, and high temperatures will drop to the mid-60s over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. “We’re going to be kind of unstable (Thursday) and we could be seeing some thunderstorms,” Chuck Redman, a meteorologist in Boise, told the Idaho Statesman. “And then the main low-pressure system itself, the main weather maker, is going to be coming over us on Friday.” Redman expects a consistent and dreary pattern for Boise, while the mountains north of the Treasure Valley will be subject to…
Read More

Climatologists: El Nino coming, could be a strong one

Idaho News
By Don Jenkins; Capital Press Federal climatologists Thursday predicted the return of El Nino, a phenomenon associated with warm Northwest winters and low snowpacks. The odds favor a weak El Nino forming between May and July and gaining strength in the fall, according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. The center projected a 41% chance that a strong El Nino will prevail by the winter. It would be the first strong El Nino since 2014-15, a winter of historically low snowpacks in Oregon and Washington, and the first El Nino of any strength since 2018-19. El Nino's opposite, La Nina, has reigned the past three winters. Spring forecasts are shaky, but wind anomalies and a wave of warm water moving toward South America support the prediction that El…
Read More