Black Canyon Reservoir almost empty

Black Canyon Reservoir almost empty »Play Video
EMMETT, Idaho (KBOI) - You could say that Black Canyon Reservoir is a big playground for the people of Emmett. So it's no surprise that when the Bureau of Reclamation drained out most of the water, it became a popular topic of conversation on Main Street.

Especially among outdoor enthusiasts like Dale Holbrook.

"I know it runs silt down the river and it does kill some fish. Other than that, I don't know much more about it other than that I waterfowl hunt and I saw dead fish the last time they did this," Holbrook says.

Idaho's regional fisheries manager Joe Kozfkay says it's hard to say how many fish have been lost in the project. But he estimates that we lost most of the sportfish in the reservoir and a lot of young fish downstream from the dam.

And he says all that sediment accumulating in the reservoir for decades has now been washed downstream, burying fish eggs that will no longer hatch. Fish and Game is working with the bureau to manage the project.

"We have fish biologists on staff and everything has been permitted. We have watchdogs watching us," Brent Jensen says. He is the Bureau of Reclamation's Powerplant Maintenance Supervisor.

Crews will start refilling the reservoir this weekend and it should be full within the next two weeks.