The flows in the Snake River above Shoshone Falls are going to increase 10 times making waterfall watching at the falls near the city of Twin Falls pretty good by next week.
Boaters and anglers are also being advised of the flow increases in the Middle Snake River. It's all because of higher flows needed below Hells Canyon Dam to flush salmon to the Pacific Ocean.
Water releases below Milner Reservoir are ramping ramp up by 500 cubic feet per second (cfs) each day through Wednesday, with an additional 1,000 cfs being added June 16 and 17 until the total additional flow reaches 4,000 cfs. The bigger flows should reach the falls by early next week. There should be slightly higher flows at the falls over the weekend, too.
In some parts of the Snake River, the effect will be dramatic. The flow above Shoshone Falls near Twin Falls was recently pegged around 400 cfs. When flows reach 4,400 cfs, it's going to be super waterfall watching for sightseers visiting the Snake River’s most scenic falls.
The stretch of the Snake River immediately below Milner Dam had been virtually dry, with the river regaining its flow downstream as a result of springs and agricultural runoff. The water being released from federal reservoirs at Jackson Lake and Palisades will flow below Milner as it makes its way down the length of the Snake, into the Columbia River and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.
These are the first in a series of carefully timed releases overseen by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association to keep water levels high enough to allow salmon to complete their migration to the ocean, Idaho Power Company said.
Photo of Shoshone Falls last winter - By Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman