News

‘Better,’ but not ‘great’: Cold spring likely to extend water for recreation, irrigation

Idaho News
By Erin Banks Rusby; Idaho Press Lucky Peak Lake and Lucky Peak Dam are seen from Lucky Peak Reservoir View Point east of Boise on Wednesday. Jake King/Idaho Press BOISE — Recreation enthusiasts are predicted to get more time than originally forecasted to enjoy Lucky Peak, Cascade, and Deadwood reservoirs this year before they are drawn down to meet irrigation demand. Thanks to a cold, wet spring, Lucky Peak is forecast to reach 70% to 75% capacity this summer, said Mike Meyers, watermaster for Water District 63, which takes direction from the Idaho Department of Water Resources. This translates to two extra weeks to enjoy boating and other water sports before additional water from the reservoir will need to start being released for irrigation purposes, pushing the drawdown date to mid-July, he said. In a…
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Our Gem: The Confluence Project is making science fun

Idaho News
Coeur d’Alene Press The Our Gem Collaboratives’ mission is to preserve lake health and protect water quality by promoting community awareness of local resources through education, outreach and stewardship. There is a unique program for high school students that embodies the kind of educational outreach the Our Gem Collaborative strives to achieve. This program not only immerses students in local water resource issues but allows them to get outside and actually experience their local environment. The Confluence Project (TCP) is a year-long program that connects students to North Idaho’s lakes, streams, mountains and aquifer through a combination of on-site studies and classroom work. There weren’t programs like this in schools in the past. This program is unique to North Idaho. The curriculum was created by graduate students at the University…
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Drought conditions improving with recent rainfalls

Idaho News
By Corey Evan; Independent Enterprise PAYETTE — On April 25, Payette County Emergency Manager Adam Gonzalez gave the Payette County Board of Commissioners an update on the present state of drought conditions in Payette County. At the board’s regular meeting, he said that recent rainfall had helped improve things over where the county stood a month prior. “There’s a lot of discussion about drought. I wanted to get ahead of the discussion a bit,” said Gonzalez to the board. “I know the Governor’s had some … discussion about it.” In discussions with Payette Irrigation District Water Master Neil Shippy, he said Shippy determined that the recent rainstorms have been a big boon for local water storage, especially the Cascade Reservoir. Gonzalez cited an Idaho SNOTEL Current Snow Water Equivalent report,…
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Celebrate Arbor Day with a Free Seedling from the Idaho Department of Lands

Idaho News
As part of the celebration of Arbor Day, Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) has partnered with the Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) to provide free seedlings to the people of Idaho. On April 29, every IDL office throughout the state will offer seedlings while they last. Forests and trees play an important role, providing clean air, removing and store carbon dioxide, sending fresh oxygen into the air, providing habitat for wildlife, clean water through our watersheds, and opportunities for recreation.  63% of Idaho’s water comes from the forests. Forests that are harvested, are required by state code to be replanted. Last year IDL planted nearly 2 million seedlings after harvests and fires. For every tree harvested, seven seedlings are planted in its place. This year efforts are underway to plant…
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Fuel spills into Palouse River

Idaho News
By Anthony Kuipers; Moscow-Pullman Daily News Containment booms are seen Tuesday in the south fork of the Palouse River in Pullman, after approximately 1,200 gallons of "red dye" diesel spilled Monday from a failed above-ground fuel storage tank at Four Star Supply. Zach Wilkinson/Daily News. Cleanup efforts continued Tuesday after approximately 1,200 gallons of diesel spilled into the south fork of the Palouse River on Monday in Pullman. According to a Washington Department of Ecology news release, an above-ground fuel storage tank at Four Star Supply developed a crack and leaked the “red dye” diesel into the water. Fuel and sheening was observed 1,000 feet downriver from the source. Four Star Supply pumped remaining fuel from the tank, which has a 10,000-gallon capacity, and initiated nearby cleanup and protective measures…
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City Council OKs water system upgrade

Idaho News
By Elaine Williams; The Lewiston Tribune A reservoir and booster station that will improve fire protection in the area near Lewiston’s high school is moving forward. Lewiston’s City Council awarded a $4.1 million bid for the project to T Bailey Inc., of Anacortes, Wash., at its Monday meeting. The price includes a steel reservoir, potable water booster station, site development and the piping and other parts needed to connect it to the existing water system. Construction is expected to start this year and be finished next spring, said Dustin Johnson, Lewiston’s public works director. Once the upgrade is ready, a building moratorium for the neighborhood around the high school will be lifted, he said. The reservoir will be on city land north of the roundabout at Warner Avenue and 12th…
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Water rights claims workshops on tap

Idaho News
Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT – The Idaho Department of Water Resources is hosting a series of public workshops next month to help area residents file water rights claims as part of the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille River Basin Adjudication. The Clark Fork-Pend Oreille River Basin Adjudication enables existing water users to claim the quantities and priority dates for their water rights and have them recognized by an Idaho Court decree. IDWR staff will be available at the Ponderay Events Center on May 3-5, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. IDWR staff will be on hand to answer questions and help people with filing water right claims first-come, first-served basis. To avoid longer wait times, IDWR recommends avoiding peak busy periods around 8 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m.…
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Five decades after Clean Water Act, half of US waters too polluted to swim or fish

National News
By Amanda Brandeis; Scripps National Correspondent SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Voted into law a half-century ago, the Clean Water Act of 1972 is still far from achieving its ambitious goals. The landmark law aimed to make U.S. waters safe for swimming and fishing by 1983. It also promised to eliminate all discharges of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985. "There were really outrageous incidents of pollution that really brought the issue of water pollution to the public’s attention," said Tom Pelton, director of communications for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was so polluted that it caught fire. Nearly always covered in oil slicks, industrial runoff polluted the water for decades. "And it happened before in the '50s and the '40s. So much oil…
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You asked: Where will Avimor get its water from?

Idaho News
By Margaret Carmel; BoiseDev The entrance of Avimor off of Highway 55. Photo: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev Police, fire, and emergency medical services aren’t the only essentials a developer needs to sort out when building a subdivision in the Boise foothills. Avimor, a growing community spanning the Ada, Boise, and Gem county lines, hopes to build nearly 10,000 homes by its completion in the coming decades. Along with the necessary road improvements, businesses, a community center, and the homes themselves, developer Dan Richter also has to build a water system to serve the homes along Highway 55. Between the combination of wells, surface water rights on the property dating back over a century, and a boost from Suez, Richter says nearly the entire project will be served by water in the ground…
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Finding an alternative water source for the Palouse

Idaho News
Moscow-Pullman Daily News The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee is currently evaluating additional water sources for Latah and Whitman counties. Robin Nimmer, a senior hydrologist in the Water Resources Division at Alta Science and Engineering, spoke at the League of Women Voters of Moscow speaker forum Wednesday about how to ensure a lasting supply of water for the communities. "We've known about water level decline for a very long time," she said. "The wells aren't flowing anymore and we actually have data that shows us the water level is declining in our aquifer." Nimmer has recently been working with the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee, which was formed in the 1980s, to evaluate alternative water sources for the region. The committee's mission since its start has been to plan for continued use…
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