Snake River to be Lowered; Water Rescues Will be a Challenge
Idaho may be headed for its worst summer ever for drownings. Some of the tragedies are related to increased tourism and population growth. There are more people on the state’s rivers and lakes than ever before. One county in North Idaho recently had three drownings in a span of a few days.
Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Deputies work local waterways and are often dispatched to assist in neighboring counties. Recently, in places like Owyhee County and as far away as Elmore County near Bruneau Canyon. The latter is very difficult to access.
areas from Shoshone Falls all the way to Centennial Park are going to be impacted
Resources are strained. The price of fueling boats is climbing as fast as a hot air balloon. Now a new challenge looms. Snake River water levels are going to be lowered. I don’t know all the technical reasons for the decision, but areas from Shoshone Falls all the way to Centennial Park are going to be impacted. There will still be places along the river where the water will be well above your head. The challenge for rescue teams will be fewer places to launch boats. Smaller and sometimes inflatable craft will instead be needed for a response. It’s going to limit any search or rescue effort.
You’ve heard it before and now you’ll hear it again. The Sheriff’s Office can’t stress enough that you need to be wearing a flotation device. We’re talking life vests. Children under 14 are required to wear them.
I was on a luncheon cruise on the river a few years ago. The seat cushions can be grabbed and used for floating. If you would have the time to clutch one in a panic, and in a smaller boat you may not, you could lose precious seconds.