KIFI Breaking News

Jefferson County levee damaged, emergency declared

LORENZO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Jefferson County Commissioners have declared an emergency because a levee near Lorenzo was damaged by persistent high flows on the Snake River.

The declaration enables the county to assist Flood Control District No. 1 in protecting the levee from further damage and potential breach.

“The damage to the levee is significant and could lead to flooding if it is not addressed,” said Commissioner Scott Hancock.“We are committed to the protection of life and property and are working diligently with the flood control district to address this issue.”

About 400 feet of the levee has been severely impacted since the damage was discovered on May 12.

Crews have been diverting strong river currents away from the bank, stabilizing the bank with large rocks and improving access to the site in preparation for long-term repair and restoration

Although flows have decreased somewhat since springtime highs, additional high flows are expected as the Palisades Reservoir fills with additional snowmelt.

If a levee breach did occur, approximately 65 Jefferson County homes could be affected.

“We want the public to know that we are monitoring the situation very closely and working very hard to stabilize the levee before we see higher flows,” Hancock said. "We want the public to be aware of the threat, and that actions are being taken to mitigate it.

In addition to the emergency declaration, Jefferson County and Flood Control District No. 1 have been working with the State of Idaho to request additional assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

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