The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is removing and replacing concrete in the spillway at American Falls Dam. Some recreation access may be restricted. Idaho Power is part of a water quality technical team working to minimize any downstream impacts.
AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) is removing and replacing concrete in the stilling basin and spillway face at American Falls Dam beginning next week. Idaho Power operates the American Falls Hydroelectric Power Plant. The dam and spillway are owned and operated by the USBR.
Idaho Power and state agencies are working with the USBR to inform the public regarding reservoir access and fulfill the company’s obligations related to water quality downstream of the project, which will take place August through December this year and next.
Idaho Power is part of a water quality technical team that is providing input to the USBR regarding water quality planning before and during the project. Other team members include the USBR, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
The company does not anticipate any impact to Trenner Park, American Falls Park or the Power County Boat Ramp, which are all on the south side of the river. Snake River access below the powerhouse and in the dam’s tailrace, and the West Boat Ramp could be disrupted by work area restrictions and construction traffic.
Reservoir fisheries could be impacted depending on the extent to which the water level needs to be drawn down to complete the repair work. Water releases from American Falls are highly variable throughout the year, and rapid changes to water levels below the project are possible.
Downstream irrigators should not be impacted by the repair work. The USBR is responsible for downstream delivery of water for irrigation and may use Lake Walcott to assure adequate water supply to make up for reduced American Falls outflow caused by the spillway. construction.
The current American Falls dam and power plant were built in 1976. The concrete wear on the stilling basin is the result of more than 40 years of normal use. This proactive restoration work is the result of regular safety inspections.
About Idaho Power
Idaho Power, headquartered in vibrant and fast-growing Boise, Idaho, has been a locally operated energy company since 1916. Today, it serves a 24,000-square-mile area in Idaho and Oregon. The company’s goal to provide 100% clean energy by 2045 builds on its long history as a clean-energy leader that provides reliable service at affordable prices. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects at the core of its diverse energy mix, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest prices for electricity. Its 2,000 employees proudly serve more than 570,000 customers with a culture of safety first, integrity always and respect for all.