OUR BOISE RIVER is not only the lifeblood of our city, but the focus of most of the news these days. Flows are increasing to “flood stage” in excess of 7,000 cubic feet per second causing damage to the prized Greenbelt and threatening the high end houses near the banks–all the way through the valley.
To get accurate, unobstructed stream flow measurements, hydrologists ride out to the middle of the river upstream from the Glenwood bridge on a little cable car. They lower an airplane looking device into the water and the current turns the “propeller” to indicate the water speed which is combined with the depth to calculate the CFS.
The flooding is cause for poking fun at the TV reporters who like to wade in the water–bare legged or with boots–on camera.
It has also prompted calls to insurance agents about flood insurance–there is a waiting period and it costs about $12 per $1,000 worth of coverage. That’s $3,600 for a $300,000 house and there aren’t many that cheap along the river.
Then there is the classification of one of the “most threatened” rivers in the country, thanks in part to a proposed gold mine near Atlanta on the Middle Fork of the Boise. Developers say their plan to use a cyanide leaching process to extract the gold from the ore is “bulletproof.” Those of us who take our drinking water and fish out of the river aren’t eager to see if our Kevlar vests are effective. Doubt if you see this “national recognition” on the Boise City or Chamber of Commerce web sites.
Finally, remember the hassle about the “warning signs” the GUARDIAN wanted along the river when the tree blocked the flow? Must be “risk management” and legal folks had a change of heart and allowed the Parks Dept. to warn people of danger spots.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.