Friday, July 11, 2008

Support the ICI

Currently, there is a far-reaching and well-planned effort going forward in the Wood River Valley for which we want to express our support and want to urge others—private and public—to do likewise. This is the Indian Creek Initiative (ICI) that seeks to reconnect this stream with the Big Wood River. Looking to the future, it could be the model for other similar efforts here and statewide. In other words, it has valley and statewide implications, and unsurprisingly it has garnered strong support from various state officials and agencies.

Reconnection means that Indian Creek water that is not drawn by permitted water rights holders such as the City of Hailey for municipal and power uses and by others in the Indian Creek Ranches for seasonal irrigation will be channeled to the Big Wood River. This will reverse a process of tributary disconnection in this valley of creeks like Quigley and Indian that goes back to the 1880's.

Also, it will provide a means for winter flows of the majority of Indian Creek water to be channeled back to the river. This will the lessen the sheet flooding danger that has existed ever since water was channeled to the Northridge area of Hailey for agricultural use and exacerbated by failed dry wells since development of the subdivision in the 1990's.

Unknown to many valley residents, in 1963 a serious rain on frozen ground and snow event took place resulting in flooding in the Northridge and northern downtown Hailey areas. We understand that the channel will be designed with this in mind, further protecting those in the stream's path.

As a result of the project, Big Wood River flows may also increase. Upstream water rights holders will be given the opportunity through the Wood River Legacy project to donate their water for return to the river, or lease it to downstream users. This is an option they do not now have, as the creek is landlocked.

As in any effort like this, there is a fear of the unknown, especially in regard to any effect on water rights. We would not give our support to this initiative, if we believed that it would affect Snake River Basin Adjudication (SRBA) decisions on water rights or recharge. We believe that our subdivision and our adjoining neighbors should have every opportunity to receive every inch of water that they are legally entitled to by SRBA claims, property titles, or association agreements.

This is also an opportunity for those—public and private— who, we believe, failed to properly plan, engineer, construct and oversee a solution to well-documented Indian Creek flood mitigation issues to come to a non-contentious resolution. Surely, all sides of that issue would welcome that outcome.

Admittedly, we at North- ridge will benefit from flood mitigation aspects of ICI. However, the whole Wood River Valley and in the future possibly other areas of the state will profit from the ICI example. As with other past efforts, it will not go forward without the support of many others who always seem to look beyond their own self-interest in preserving the treasures of this beautiful valley.

Northridge Subdivision Homeowners:

Geoff and Pattie Wells, Daryl and Dana Price, Nicole Brown, Gerald Kavka, Lisa Tanous, Judy Shelly, Adrienne Leugers and Drew Chilson, Bob Coplin, Dale Closner, Amy Swanson, Blake Lidstrom, Lee and Tom Dabney, Molly Goodyear and Mike Wolter

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