Feds deny dam project


A proposed dam that would inundate the last free-flowing section of southeast Idaho’s Bear River was denied earlier this week, thanks to our coalition work in Idaho.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) yesterday recommended that the Twin Lakes Canal Company’s license application for the dam be denied, as the dam isn’t in the public interest and would damage the river. Twin Lake’s dam would have inundated a place called Oneida Narrows, a 4.5-mile stretch of river that 60,000 people float and fish every year. The Narrows are an important Bonneville cutthroat trout fishery, and the river area is home to nearly 50 species that Idaho considers sensitive. The FERC’s decision keeps this one river stretch – the only one of its kind in southeast Idaho – just like it is.

We hope this denial pounds the final nail in the coffin on this dam that we and our partners have fought since the late 1990s. Nearly three-quarters of the people living within 40 miles of the Narrows say they want the Bear River here to stay free flowing. We’ve worked with Bear Lake Watch, Bear River Watershed Council, Great Salt Lake Keeper, Idaho Rivers United, Oneida Narrow Organization, American Whitewater, Franklin County Fish and Game and Trout Unlimited to convince the state of Idaho to deny a water right for this dam. We also worked with the Bureau of Land Management to protect the Narrows as a white water recreation area.

Big thanks to the FERC for recommending to deny the dam’s license. Some places are too special to flood. We’re awaiting the commission’s final order, which should come down within the month.

Click here to hear us talking about the great news on KUER radio out of Salt Lake.

-- Kathy Rinaldi, Idaho Conservation Coordinator