Soil and Water Conservation Commission eyes making grant program permanent

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Concrete re-lining work on the upper New York Canal in central Boise. Boise Project Board of Control BOISE — The Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission plans to ask the Legislature during next year's session to make a temporary grant program permanent. The 2022 Legislature restarted the commission’s Water Quality Program for Agriculture by approving $5 million. The commission this year issued grants for 47 projects worth about $18.5 million when matching funds are included, said Delwyne Trefz, the administrator. The commission received 93 grant applications seeking $12 million. The projects were valued at more than $30 million when matching funds are included, he said. “The state was going to get a good bang for its buck,” Trefz said. “We’re going to go back and…
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Spokane Riverkeeper urges conservation as water flows fall

Idaho News
By Kip Hall; The Spokesman Review Kayakers paddle slowly down the Little Spokane River where it flows along State Route 291 and near where it flows into the Spokane River in this July 2021 photo. River flows that year were among their lowest over the past five years, according to United States Geological Survey data, and flows this year are approaching those levels after the river was roaring from heavy snowmelt and rain earlier this spring. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW) The organization tasked with protecting the Spokane River is urging city residents to reduce their water use, including watering lawns and plants just twice per week, during the final weeks of summer as flows plunge to droughtlike levels. “We had all this water. We had this great snowpack,” said Jerry White…
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PRESS RELEASE: BLM conservation easement enhances outdoor recreation, helps protect wildlife habitat and water quality

Idaho News
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – The Bureau of Land Management has purchased a conservation easement that enhances public access to outdoor recreation opportunities and helps protect important mule deer habitat and water quality in the South Fork of the Snake River corridor. The BLM purchased the 154-acre conservation easement on the Alan Lynn Davis property from the Teton Regional Land Trust using monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  The Alan Lynn Davis property is located on the north side of the South Fork of the Snake River in Jefferson County near Ririe, Idaho. The property is within the BLM’s Snake River Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area. BLM-managed public lands are adjacent to the property on the east and west sides. The BLM’s acquisition…
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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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Blackfoot to organize water advisory board

Idaho News
By Logan Ramsey; Post Register BLACKFOOT — The City of Blackfoot is working to form a water advisory board in order to involve citizens in preparing to conserve water as the snowpack and the natural flow of the Snake River decreases over time. The first meeting was on March 24. “We want citizen ownership of this,” said Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll. Princeton Lee, Blackfoot Water superintendent, said the goal of the board will be “to try to get the citizens to conserve water or help us change the way we use and perceive water. I feel like that’s something that the citizens of Blackfoot or users of the water system should help us craft.” This summer could be particularly hard on people who use irrigation with junior water rights as…
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Scientist presents major groundwater quality analysis for south central Idaho

Idaho News
By Rachel Cohen; Boise State Public Radio News A water quality sampling line is fed down a groundwater well in southern Idaho. Idaho Water Science Center USGS Water in south central Idaho has had nutrient issues for a long time. That’s according to Kenneth Skinner, a groundwater hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. But Skinner said, while several state and federal agencies have collected data in the Magic Valley area since the 1990s, there hasn’t been a recent analysis of regional groundwater contamination trends. That’s what he set out to complete by analyzing samples of a particularly widespread pollutant, nitrogen, from over 500 groundwater wells. Some common sources of nitrogen are fertilizer and manure. His findings, shared at the Idaho Water Quality Workshop on Wednesday, show nitrate levels in the Magic…
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