Holiday boaters should see lower water below Hells Canyon Dam
Hells Canyon DamPhoto: Image by www.usbr.gov
Boaters planning a trip on the lower Snake River over the Labor Day Weekend should prepare for extremely low water conditions.
The amount of water flowing into Brownlee Reservoir is expected to drop significantly on or about Friday, August 30 due to a planned decrease in flows into the Snake from the Payette River. This could result in flows at or near 6,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) below Hells Canyon Dam.
The three-day average inflow into Brownlee, located on the Idaho-Oregon border, was 7,130 cfs as of Thursday, August 22nd, down from 8,069 cfs just a week earlier. An unusually dry winter and spring, along with high irrigation demand during the summer, has resulted in flows approaching record lows in many stretches of the Snake.
Further downstream, Salmon River flows remain low and have been below 3,200 cfs at Whitebird, near the river’s confluence with the Snake. This will also affect boaters in the lower Snake.
Water flowing into Hells Canyon powers the three-dam Hells Canyon complex, which generates a significant portion of the electricity used by Idaho Power's customers in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon.
Flow information is updated daily and can be found on Idaho Power’s website. Boaters should check flows daily and expect minimum flows to persist throughout the day with only minor increases in the late afternoon.