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Dry Conditions Expected in the Boise River System

BOISE, Idaho – The Boise River basin is expected to have a lower water supply than usual, this year, due to dry basin conditions.

Lucky Peak reservoir is currently discharging 2,800 cubic feet per second (cfs) to support local irrigation releases. Seasonal snowpack in the Boise River basin as of April 27 was 85 percent of median according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Precipitation totals for October 1 through April 26 were 72 percent of normal according to the Northwest River Forecast Center.

The water supply in 2021 was lower than normal, making 2022 the second consecutive low water year. Carryover in the system from 2021 was lower than average and the dry year and numerous constraints on the system will make Lucky Peak difficult to fill. 

To maximize the use of water in the system to meet irrigation, environmental, and recreation missions, Lucky Peak will target 3035’ Means Sea Level (MSL) – or 20’ below normal “lake full” conditions. The Boise system will continue to fill as natural runoff occurs and Lucky Peak will gradually fill through the month of May.  The reservoir is anticipated to reach 3,035’ MSL between May 23 and May 27 near Memorial Day weekend, will be held constant through the month of June, then begin to fall in July as it continues to serve irrigation demands.

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 accessible.

Boat ramps at Robie Creek Park, Macks Creek Park, and half of Barclay Bay will be closed while ramps at Turner Gulch and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Spring Shores Marina will be open. On-the-water fueling and marine sanitation service at Springs Shores will remain available. Popular beach and paddlecraft 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, 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.