Flows To Increase On Boise River, But Not Like Last Year

Mar 21, 2018

Federal agencies that govern the Boise River plan to increase the amount of water flowing downstream Wednesday. But experts do not expect a repeat of the dramatic flooding seen last year.

An overwhelming water year in 2017 sent flows as high as 9,500 cubic feet per second flowing past the Glenwood Bridge in May. But John Heitstuman, a hydrologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, isn’t expecting that to happen this year.

“No, the chance would be extremely remote,” says Heitstuman.

Last year’s flooding swept away significant chunks of the Boise Greenbelt and threatened homes. But Heitstuman says this year’s releases will be much more mild. That’s thanks to less rain and snow this winter.

“Snowpack in the basin is only about 80 percent of normal,” says Heitstuman.

He says that leaves plenty of wiggle room for water managers as snow starts to melt, as well as more than enough water for irrigation needs. The Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation will start increasing flows today by 500 cubic feet per second over the next three days, bringing the river up to 1,750 cfs by the weekend.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio