Boise-area residents value and love the Boise River for its proximity to downtown, the recreational opportunities it offers, and the water it provides for local farmers. But the Boise River is not the same river it once was. The meandering series of shallow channels that criss-crossed the valley floor in the late 19th century has been replaced with a far more defined river channel bordered by residential and other urban uses. The Boise River now receives storm run-off containing pollutants which people in the 1890s could not have imagined. The local irrigation districts have to contend with keeping the water clean in their canals, as well, faced with runoff from the fertilizers used on their members’ fields. And, the specter of climate change has rendered all users uncertain of their water supply’s future. This messy set of concerns only begins to describe the complex web of issues related to Boise River management. (If you examine this historic video narrated by former Boise City Council member Bill Onweiler you will get a sense of the River’s history and its significance to the City of Boise 1970: The Boise River Greenbelt.)
To encourage conversation and collaboration, a group of local organizations is hosting a series of Brown Bag lunches leading up to their October 18th conference on private and public opportunities for ecosystem restoration on the Lower Boise River. SHRA is pleased to be a sponsor of these programs.
The Lower Boise River was the subject of a recent Feasibility Study by the Idaho Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Feasibility Study was aimed in part at evaluating potential sites for additional water storage infrastructure – i.e. dams. Now, the group of local water leaders hosting this program series are going to talk about other opportunities which the river presents. Participants include members of the non-profit community such as Idaho Rivers United, as well as members of the irrigation and scientist communities. The series presents the opportunity for the myriad people and groups that use the Boise River to talk about and envision its future. Please plan to come to the Brown Bag lunches and especially the event on October 18, which will feature a keynote address by Boise State University president Bob Kustra.