BOISE, Idaho – Several weather systems have pushed through the region since late April, resulting in improved conditions for the Boise River basin.
The cooler temperatures and wetter conditions, which have exceeded expectations, have preserved the remaining snowpack in the basin. This has resulted in the three upper reservoirs continuing to store water in preparation for the summer months. The overall system storage has increased by 59,000 acre-feet since the start of May and spring runoff is expected to continue with higher flows for the next several weeks as the remaining snowpack melts.
Currently, Lucky Peak Reservoir is discharging 2,700 cubic feet per second (cfs) to support local irrigation deliveries. To maximize use of water in the system to meet irrigation, environmental, and recreation missions, Lucky Peak will still need to target 3035 ft mean sea level (MSL) – or 20 ft below normal “lake full” conditions. Lucky Peak is still expected to reach 3035 ft between May 23 and 27, but drawdown will now not need to occur until mid-July. This will result in two extra weeks for the lake to remain constant for recreation use.
If the area experiences heavy precipitation and a quick runoff of the remaining snow, there is still a possibility that Lucky Peak may fill higher than 3,035 ft later in June. This, however, will be highly dependent on the weather and irrigation demand across the system.
Visitors should be aware of the impacts to recreation due to low water conditions. Dock strings provided by Ada County Parks and Waterways, which ordinarily serve over 80 boat-in recreation sites and five restroom facilities, will not be conveniently accessible for day or overnight use. Boat ramps at Robie Creek Park, Macks Creek Park, and half of Barclay Bay will be closed while ramps at Turner Gulch and IDPR’s Spring Shores Marina will be open.
Due to reduced ramp availability, visitors should expect longer than usual wait times for launching, loading, and parking – especially during busy late afternoon and evening hours. On-the-water fueling and marine sanitation service at Springs Shores Marina will remain available.
Popular beach and paddle craft areas at Robie Creek Park and Barclay Bay will be far from water. Boaters familiar with lake-full conditions should exercise caution as lower lake levels can pose new hazards, such as unfamiliar shoals and shallow rocky outcroppings.
Day use and camping activities at Lucky Peak remain permissible, however, charcoal cooking fires and campfires must be contained in agency-provided grills with camping limited to designated sites only. Dispersed camping and fires along exposed shoreline areas are prohibited at Corps of Engineers parks.
For real-time Boise River flows at Reclamation facilities in the Pacific Northwest Region, visit https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/rtindex/boise.html.