Reclamation asks public to watch for changes in water depth downstream of American Falls Dam

Media Contact: Erika Lopez, 208-378-5101, ealopez@usbr.gov

For Release: August 28, 2020

View of the American Falls Dam from downstream on the Snake River.
View of the American Falls Dam from downstream on the Snake River.
HEYBURN, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation would like the public to be aware of possible changes in water depth in the Snake River downstream of American Falls Dam from now until mid-October. During rehabilitation of the American Falls Dam concrete spillway, potential changes of approximately 1–2 feet in river depth may occur rapidly from American Falls Dam downstream to Lake Walcott. The spillway rehabilitation, which began June 1, 2020, will continue through 2020 and resume in June 2021.

“The safety of the public on and along the river is a top priority,” said Ryan Bliss of Reclamation’s Upper Snake Field Office. “If an adjustment to river flows is imminent, you may hear the sound of a horn if you are near the dam or within the City of American Falls, but farther downstream there may not be an audible warning. We strongly encourage anyone near the water to be aware of their surroundings,” he added.

Reclamation is actively working with Idaho Power Company, Power County Emergency Management, and the Power County Sheriff throughout the construction periods. If a significant flow change is expected to occur, Reclamation will notify the Power County Emergency Management and the Power County Sheriff, so they may provide additional public notifications. The Power County officials also will monitor the downstream area during significant flow changes to provide assistance if needed.

Reclamation plans to operate American Falls Reservoir consistent with previous years during the 2020 and 2021 construction periods. Up-to-date water storage conditions at the reservoir as well as information regarding releases from American Falls Dam can be found at the project website at https://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ea/idaho/americanfalls/index.html.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.

Relevant Link:

https://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/ea/idaho/americanfalls/index.html