Forest officials: flow and channel changes have created dangerous conditions along portions of the Boise River
Recent heavy rains and mud slides in last year’s burn along the South Fork Boise River has dramatically changed the flow of the river in several spots, particularly in the lower and popular boating section of the river, according to officials of the Boise National Forest.
“Two recent rescues demonstrate the changed rafting conditions, and exhibit the dangers especially for floaters and fishing enthusiasts,” said Boise National Forest spokesman Dave Olson.
One rapid between the Danskin Boat Launch and the popular take out at Neal Bridge is now classified as nearly a Class 5 rapid – meaning the most difficult and potentially life threatening, Olson added.
Specific areas of concern include :
• Little Fiddler Creek – passable but influenced by a new slide
• Buffalo Creek – Now a Class 4+ rapid with a recommended portage (the portage will be challenging)
• Downstream from Buffalo Creek about 1 mile - There are trees in the river with a tight passage to river right, but it is extremely narrow.
• A new slide about 2 miles above Neal Bridge
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently released a short video that shows some of the new rapids and debris flows into the river. You can view the video here
“The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows beginning August 18th, from 1,700 cubic feet-per-second to approximately 2,400 cfs between Anderson Ranch Dam and Arrowrock Reservoir, which will change the river character,” Olson pointed out. “The goal with the increased flow is to remove sediment, logs and at least some of the slides that have entered the river. Flows will return to 1,700 cfs August 29.”
The conditions are based on a river assessment done August 9th.
The river is anticipated to continually change throughout the year and users need to be very alert.
“Throughout the Elk and Pony Complex burned area, there continues to be concern with flash floods. Campers or recreationists need to be very careful in any area near water, and especially at the mouth of a creek during thunderstorm or high rain events. Water and mud could quickly overrun a camp, or even those out for just the day,” Olson stated.
Additional information is available at the Mountain Home Ranger District Office at 587-7961.