4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, 2006
Recent weather forecasts include a potential for significant rainfall in the Kootenai River basin over the next few days. This may cause a rise in water level in Boundary County. The current river level at Bonners Ferry is 1762.46. Should the predicted rainfall occur, the Kootenai River in Boundary County could reach the 1764.2 foot elevation (flood stage) over the next few days. This is a forecast provided to Boundary County and is weather dependant. This can change hourly when the weather changes. The river water level is elevation from sea level. Depending upon the duration of the rainfall, the river could continue to rise through Friday. The flood stage level does not mean there is a threat of water going over dikes/levees or any dike/levee failures. The point at which sandbagging would become necessary in certain portions of Bonners Ferry is 1765 feet.
Boundary County Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance June 13, 2006 restricting watercraft on the river. This is a temporary restriction and designed to help ensure safety of the public and personnel conducting work along the riverbanks and dike system, as well as help reduce damage to our river banks.
Plans are in place for sandbagging low-lying portions of the City of Bonners Ferry should it become necessary, even though it is not anticipated this will be necessary at this time. The Army Corp of Engineers is continuing to place rock on the north side dike/levee in Bonners Ferry, as well as working with local officials to provide technical assistance.
County Emergency Management officials are advising farmers and ranchers with property that could be affected by seepage or high water tables to be aware that livestock and equipment might need to be moved to higher ground and to plan accordingly. Landowners who have experienced any losses or any type of damage during the periods of high river levels are asked to report the damages to the Boundary County Agricultural Extension Office (208) 267-3235. Reports are voluntary and will be used to monitor overall conditions within the county; they will not constitute a request for any type of assistance.
Official from Boundary County and Bonners Ferry continue to meet with Army Corp of Engineers, Libby Dam managers, Panhandle Health District, Kootenai tribe of Idaho, National Weather Service (Spokane) and Idaho Department of Homeland Security to discuss the overall impact of the water level and damage to Boundary County. These meetings were helpful for everyone to hear the needs and develop a plan.
Boundary County Emergency Management is also looking at options for mosquito abatement due to predictions of high mosquito populations as a result of the higher water levels. Panhandle Health District has been involved in planning for mosquito control. See the attached news release from the health district for additional information.Any person who feels they are in immediate danger due to river levels should call the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 267-3151.