Letters From the West

Army Corps plans Eagle Island floodplain project

A view of Eagle Island in 2002 where the Army Corps plans restoration.

A view of Eagle Island in 2002 where the Army Corps plans restoration.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a series of restoration measures around and upstream of Eagle Island to reduce flooding.

The plan, released Monday, calls for creating emergent wetlands along the shoreline of the gravel pit ponds; creating cottonwood tree groves by planting trees and enhancing conditions for cottonwood seedling recruitment; controlling weeds and turning the Boise River side channels into better trout habitat. The plan would improve 41.6 acres of habitat.

The public has until July 23 to comment on the draft plan. Corps Walla Walla District staff will host a public open house to discuss the study’s findings Thursday, June 27 at 5 p.m. at the Boise Watershed Environmental Education Center, at 11818 West Joplin Road in Boise.

River flow control, irrigation degraded the floodplain in this area, the Corps said. The project goal is to preserve, restore and improve the ecosystem in and around the head of Eagle Island to a more naturally functioning and self-sustaining state.

The draft feasibility report, EA and other documents related to this project can be downloaded from or viewed online.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West