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Bear River Runs as Idaho Flows Boom

Posted: 03/17/2017
by Kevin Colburn

Yesterday AW Volunteer Charlie Vincent received a call from PacifiCorp with a heads up on pending BIG flows in Black Canyon. Next weekend (3/25 & 26) is the first scheduled release of the season, but the flows in the canyon are already 560cfs and are forecast to exceed 1000 by Monday (3/20).  These flows are in addition to the 1000 cfs full capacity that is passing through the plant. The current forecast is for the flows in the canyon to continue to be boatable 24-7 for close to 2 weeks if not longer. Flows in the canyon are expected to peak at least 1500cfs and potentially higher. This is not the main runoff yet, just an early season low snow melt event.

Please check the flow line (1-800-547-1501) or PacifiCorp website prior to heading out. Please be aware that during the flow study in the late 90’s, the 1500cfs flow was reportedly not for the weak at heart and many people chose to skip this flow. You should expect something like North Fork of the Payette at similar flows.

We are looking for feedback if boaters want the full 1500 cfs for this year’s scheduled releases. We may not have a choice, it will be very dependent on the upstream Soda Reservoir inflow. But PacifiCorp is asking if we want them to hold back any water if they can from the potential 1500+ cfs flow in the canyon during the scheduled releases. Email Charlie at charliev(at)xmission(dot)com if you have an opinion to share.

Associated Projects

Bear River Restoration (ID)
Hydropower relicensing on the Bear River offered an opportunity to restore aquatic resources and recreational opportunities on this river.