Water released from dam system could flood areas of Boise Greenbelt

Posted at 7:31 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 21:38:17-05

All eyes are on the Boise River right now as hydrologists begin the balancing act of releasing water from the dams to make room for more to come.

If you see water on the Boise Greenbelt, don't panic.

Greenbelts are nice to walk on and a way to get around town but also serve as a buffer zone between neighborhoods and the river. In other words, it's okay if water flows over them and that could be the case in days to come.

The Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started the process early this year of releasing water from the Treasure Valley's 3-dam system.

The areas of the greenbelt where flooding is likely to occur is near the Cottonwood Apartments, at Logger Creek under the Parkcenter Bridge and the Main Street tunnel near Esther Simplot Park.

One of the hydrologists and water operations manger for the Boise-based Bureau of Reclamation office, Brian Sauer, cautions people to not get too close to the river's edge as erosion could make it easier to slip and fall into the chilly and fast-moving water.

The flood stage here is at 7,000 cubic feet per second. Flows will be at 6,000 cfs by Friday evening.

"Normal summer time flows are in the area of 700-1,000 cfs running through town," Sauer says. "So, this is substantially higher than we typically see in the summer time during the recreation season."

The cooler temperatures don't detour some from hitting the waters at the new Esther Simplot Park.

"As soon as the pond thawed out, there were people out here paddling the other day," says Jo Cassin, co-owner of Idaho River Sports.

Cassin says they have flood insurance and are armed with sandbags to deploy, if need be. Overall, she's looking forward to a good water year.

"In here, people are excited," Cassin says. "Of course, we worried about people that get flood damage at their homes but recreationists and paddle boarders are excited."

For real-time Boise River flows at visit