Monday, February 24, 2014

Is rebuilding Teton Dam still an option?





Is rebuilding Teton Dam still considered a viable alternative?  Could new reservoirs be constructed on Canyon Creek, Badger Creek, or in the area of Hog Hollow?  Will the Island Park Reservoir or Ashton Reservoir be expanded?  Could water conservation in the cities of Driggs and Victor, aquifer recharge, and on-farm efficiency projects substantially increase available water? These questions will be the focus of Friends of the Teton River’s next Water Wise presentation, on Wednesday, February 26th.  The presentation will begin at 7:00 PM, with opportunity for questions following.

Sarah Lien, of Friends of the Teton River, will present the newest information available on the Henry’s Fork Basin Study.  The Bureau of Reclamation recently released the Final Report, which catalogs the various water supply alternatives that the Bureau of Reclamation and State of Idaho, as co-founders of the study, have studied throughout the past two years.  These include projects such as rebuilding Teton Dam; enlarging Island Park Reservoir and Ashton dam; building an off-stream reservoir in the Hog Hollow area with water supplied by the Teton River and the Falls River; building a new 180-foot tall dam in the Canyon Creek area, with water supplied by Spring Creek and Canyon Creek; and building dams on Moody Creek and Badger Creek.  Additional alternatives are also being considered.  These include managed ground water recharge projects, agricultural conservation and management, municipal and industrial water conservation alternatives, and market based alternatives.
The Henry’s Fork Basin Study investigates water supply options aimed at replacing the water storage lost when the Teton Dam failed in 1976.  The study was funded with a $400,000 appropriation from the State of Idaho, plus a $400,000 federal WaterSmart grant from the Bureau of Reclamation, and has been ongoing since June 2010.  While diverse public input has been encouraged throughout the course of the study, the schedule and location of meetings has been prohibitive for many Teton Valley residents.  February 26th will provide an opportunity for Teton Valley residents to be informed about the study, ask questions, and learn how to provide input. 
The presentation will be held at the Driggs City Center Building, in the Senior Center, located at 60 S. Main Street in Driggs, on February 26th.  The presentation will begin at 7:00 PM, with a question and answer period to follow.  For more information on this presentation or the Water Wise Community Education series, please call Friends of the Teton River at 354-3871 or visit www.tetonwater.org.  More information about the Henrys Fork Basin Study is available at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/programs/studies/idaho/henrysfork/.

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