Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wood River Wave project hits a snag

Irrigation canal district objects to use of head gate as bridge

Express Staff Writer

    A plan to transform a concrete dam on the Big Wood River in Bellevue into a recreational asset may need to change in order to satisfy the No. 45 Irrigation District, which operates a head gate nearby.
    The dam diverts water from the main channel on the west side of the Big Wood River into the head gate, which is adjusted throughout the year to control water flows that irrigate thousands of acres of farmland south of Bellevue.
    Resident Craig Wolfrom Monday presented the Bellevue City Council with a $7,000 conceptual plan for the “Wood River Wave,” an artificial wave feature that he said would be popular with kayakers.
     The plan describes a $720,000 rebuild of the dam that would utilize adjustable underwater air bags to create waves for boaters, and a picnicking area and parking area.
    The plan also includes the use of the No. 45 Irrigation District’s head gate as a pedestrian bridge across the irrigation canal, which raised concerns with Pepin Corso-Harris, a water user on the irrigation district canal system.
    Corso-Harris wrote a letter to the Bellevue City Council stating that despite having numerous meetings with Wolfrom about the proposed wave structure, most of her concerns had not been addressed in the plan.
    Corso-Harris wrote that the 8-foot head gate “bridge” was not safe for pedestrians and should not be used as a bridge. The head gate and the dam are on city property. Therefore, the city and the irrigation district share responsibility for what happens there, she said.
    “The more people there are at the head gate, the more liability there will be for us,” she wrote.
    Mike Harris, who is also an irrigation district user, mentioned other concerns at the Monday meeting, including the build-up of gravel that he said would be caused by the submerged air bags.
    “Removing that gravel could cost tens of thousands of dollars,” Harris said.
    Wolfram said he was eager to gather more questions from the City Council and other parties before coming back with answers.
    The plan for the wave structure, which was written by engineer Scott Shipley of H2O Design in Lyons, Colo., states that the wave structure would have to be permitted by federal, state and local authorities before moving forward. Shipley wrote that design and permitting could take two years, with the construction phase lasting three months.
    The low water flows in Bellevue would allow for only one “drop” in the wave feature, whereas a similar plan for Ketchum would allow for seven drops, due to higher water flows some 13 miles north, Wolfram said.

    In other Bellevue news:

  • The Bellevue City Council agreed to sign the Southern Wood River Valley Fire Service Automatic Aid Agreement.
  • Amberle Behr was awarded Fire Fighter of the Year, and James Hoover was commended for five years of service to the Bellevue Fire Department.


About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.