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American Whitewater Signs settlement for 16 Releases on Bear River, Idaho

Posted: 09/13/2002
By: John Gangemi
On August 28, 2002, Rob Lesser representing American Whitewater marched down to the Governor's office at the Idaho State Capital building to sign the Settlement Agreement for the Bear River hydropower relicense proceeding. Rob's signature on that document brought to a close one of the toughest relicense battles yet faced by American Whitewater staff.

The Bear River, located in southeast Idaho contains several whitewater reaches the most notable of which is the six-mile Class IV+ Black Canyon of the Bear. The relicense process for the Bear started in the mid-nineties. The battle lines were quickly drawn pitting anglers and state resource agencies against restoration of whitewater flows. PacifiCorp, the utility operating the projects, in a battle of its own with just about every stakeholder, opted to work on a settlement agreement in late 2001. The Settlement Agreement option allowed PacifiCorp to maintain some control over the allocation of water resources rather than letting FERC determine those distributions back in Washington, DC. American Whitewater expended considerable staff time at negotiations in Pocatello, Idaho and legal expense before reaching an acceptable settlement. The Settlement Agreement calls for 16 whitewater releases annually between April 1 and July 15. PacifiCorp will provide real-time flow information accessible by the internet and phone as well as improve public access. In addition, PacifiCorp has committed $16 million for restoration of Bonneville cut-throat trout in the Bear River.


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.

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September 2021

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Events
Bear River Releases Grace,ID runs 05/03/08 - 09/12/21
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