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IBO’s Boise River Side Channel Project Is Underway!

By Greg Kaltenecker, Diane and Winston Moore Family Endowed Executive Director

The Diane Moore Nature Center is getting a new look! After more than a year of working diligently to secure close to 20 different permits and authorizations, the Micron team put everything in place and began construction on the IBO side channel in late September.

a map showing the Boise River at the intersection of highway 21 and warmsprings avenue. The view shows a dotted line running along the southern edge of the river where the new side channel will go
A 30% design draft of the side channel layout by River Design Group

Construction is progressing as planned and we anticipate staying on schedule and being done with excavation by mid-December!

Setting the boulder sill at the channel inlet. Photo Credit: Greg Kaltenecker

The Design/Build team, including Micron Technology Inc., River Design Group, Warner Construction Inc., SPF Water Engineering, IBO, and other key Boise State University players, succeeded in a monumental task to accomplish construction of the side channel during the 2021/2022 winter low flow season. A huge thanks goes out to so many partners, agencies, and non-profit organizations who helped make this feat possible including Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Suez North America, City of Boise, Ada County, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and many others.

Early spring 2022 will bring another flurry of activity as crews and volunteers revegetate the banks of the new side channel, helping to stabilize it and improve riparian habitat for birds and other wildlife.

large tree trunks with root wads are shoved into the mud along the side channel bank, with large boulders stacked on top. A backhoe is visible in the background.
Strategic placement of woody debris and boulders in IBO side channel. Photo Credit: Greg Kaltenecker

More than 2,000 riparian shrubs and other native species will be planted in March and April. Look for continued volunteer opportunities this spring and beyond as the feature will become one of our main priorities at the Nature Center in future years. If you haven’t already, be sure to fill out our volunteer interest form now so that we can reach out to you about planting opportunities next spring.

The side channel was designed to benefit wildlife by improving riparian habitat and creating new aquatic habitat for fish and invertebrates. The project will also improve water quality and moderate temperature fluctuations. Future boardwalks and controlled access will allow for continued human recreation while protecting sensitive habitats.

Construction crews are incorporating complexity into the side channel by engineering runs, riffles, and pools, placing boulders, woody debris, and even wildlife snags.

a view of the side channel showing varied gravel sizes, large tree trunks in the bank, and cottonwood forest in the background
Woody debris, boulders, cobble, and gravel placed in IBO side channel. Photo Credit: Greg Kaltenecker

The design and layout of the side channel looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to see it after a few years when the riparian vegetation flourishes! A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this beneficial project possible!

This article is part of our 2021 end of the year newsletter! View the full newsletter here, or click “older posts” below to read the next article.

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