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October 10, 2011

Water Lowered For Salmon Below Hells Canyon

Idaho Power began its annual Fall Chinook Program by reducing outflow from Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River to 14,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The reduced flow is scheduled to last until Dec. 5, providing steady flows for Chinook salmon during their spawning season.

The program is part of Idaho Power’s commitment to protect and preserve the environment surrounding our dams and generation facilities. It is also part of the requirements of our federal license to operate our hydroelectric facilities on the Snake River.

Prior to the weekend, the flow out of Hells Canyon was around 23,000 cfs. During September and early October, Idaho Power lowered the level of Brownlee Reservoir, upstream from Hells Canyon Dam, to make room for inflows that exceed what is being released.

Brownlee Reservoir was at 2,014 feet above sea level at the beginning of the Fall Chinook Program -- 63 feet below full. It will begin refilling as inflows from the upper Snake River exceed the amount of water being released downstream. Average inflow to Brownlee Oct. 7-9 was 21,710 cfs.

Release levels will be evaluated going forward to accommodate higher-than-average releases from federal Bureau of Reclamation dams on the upper Snake River, as well as wet fall weather.

Idaho Power began its Fall Chinook Program in 1990; the following year, 47 salmon redds, or nests, were counted in the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam. In 2010, a total of 2,944 redds were identified – the highest number since counts began.

For updated Snake River flow and Brownlee elevation and boat ramp information, please visit

Additional information about Idaho Power’s Fall Chinook Program is available at

Information on reservoir levels on the Upper Snake River can be found at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s website,

About IDACORP, Inc.:
IDACORP, Inc. (NYSE: IDA), Boise, Idaho-based and formed in 1998, is a holding company comprised of Idaho Power Company, a regulated electric utility; IDACORP Financial, a holder of affordable housing projects and other real estate investments; and Ida-West Energy, an operator of small hydroelectric generation projects that satisfy the requirements of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. IDACORP’s origins lie with Idaho Power and operations beginning in 1916. Today, Idaho Power employs approximately 2,000 people to serve a 24,000 square-mile service area in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects as the core of its generation portfolio, Idaho Power’s 492,000 residential, business and agricultural customers pay some of the nation’s lowest prices for electricity. To learn more about Idaho Power or IDACORP, visit or

Contact: Brad Bowlin, communication specialist
Idaho Power
(208) 388-2803 or

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