Several agencies — including the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Fire Department and Ada County Parks and Waterways — met Tuesday to prepare for cleanup work scheduled for Thursday or Friday.
Water levels are expected to drop Wednesday, allowing the cleanup work to begin, Parks and Waterways Director Scott Koberg said. But that doesn’t mean the Boise River is going to be open by this weekend. It’s unclear what challenges crews may face during cleanup and officials remained vague Tuesday about an opening day.
Koberg stressed that though the agencies want to make the Boise River as safe as possible, there is no way to make it completely hazard-free.
“It’s float at your own risk,” he said. “So be prepared.”
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The fire department sends out the river debris team to clear snags and strainers from high-traffic areas along the section that’s open to floaters, said Greg Ramey, battalion chief with Boise Fire. They have to be strategic about removing debris, in part because it’s difficult to find debris at times, and also because it’s important to leave vegetation in certain parts of the river so fish can access a safe habitat. Crews focus on high-risk areas and high-traffic areas.
Ada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Rowe said they will keep a law enforcement presence on the river to encourage safe practices, like wearing life jackets. Children under the age of 14 are required by law to wear life jackets; for everyone else, deputies ask that you consider donning one.
“You don’t have to, but you should,” Rowe said.