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Despite high water levels on the Boise Greenbelt, experts say major flooding is unlikely

The Greenbelt path is seen flooded with a couple of inches of water.  A temporary fence with a neon orange sign that reads "Path Closed Ahead" and "Caution, Water on Path" blocks one side of the submerged path, leading under a bridge. A permanent sign with a fish on it reads Boise River.
Katie Kloppenburg
/
Boise State Public Radio News
Potions of the Greenbelt in Boise are closed due to flooding.

The Boise River is flowing fast and high these days, but experts say major flooding is unlikely.

The US Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation are letting more water out of the Lucky Peak reservoir to deal with this winter’s high snowpack melt.

Dave Evetts, the data chief for the Idaho Water Science Center with the US Geological Survey, said this is because of the recent warmer temperatures.

“When you have three days that are around 80 degrees or so and the nights are well above freezing, you're going to start getting substantial snow melt from those higher elevation locations,” he said.

Some areas on the greenbelt, like the Bethine Church River Trail and a quarter-mile section under the West Parkcenter Bridge, are temporarily closed because of a few inches of water on the pathways. But Evetts says major flooding is unlikely.

“The last major flows that we had were in 2017 where the river got Over 9,000 CFS, close to 10,000 CFS,” he said, referring to the flooding that occurred in southern Idaho following a particularly snowy season.

Currently, the river flow is well below that at 6,000 CFS, which he says is on the upper end of normal. Evetts’ advice for Greenbelt users is to pay attention to erosion and find alternate routes.

“I would say definitely stay out of the water. It can be a lot deeper than you think it is,” he added.

This week, Evetts will also install a USGS webcam at the Glenwood Bridge gauge in Garden City so the public can soon watch a livestream of the river’s water levels.

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