Sediment from the construction of U.S. 95 from Bellgrove
to Mica Creek in 2001-02 impacted Mica Creek, the South Fork
of Mica Creek and fisheries, according to the Idaho Department
of Environmental Quality (IDEQ).
The conclusions were based on a scientific study of the project
and observations from the IDEQ staff.
During the 2001/02 winter, some construction problems were
experienced related to storm water runoff issues on the project.
The Idaho Transportation Department and IDEQ formally agreed
to study the possible impacts of the sediment in May 2003.
A detailed methodology was approved by IDEQ to guide the comprehensive
The study included drilling sediment cores, underwater photography,
analyzing fish resources and habitat, examining water turbidity
and impacts to recreation and water intake systems.
The three-volume report was delivered to IDEQ in March and
accepted in April.
The next step
IDEQ and the transportation department will jointly develop
a draft corrective action plan for the identified impacts.
The draft corrective action plan will be made available to
the public for comment.
We will use the plan to make the South Fork of Mica
Creek a substantially better waterway, Jim Ross, ITD
chief engineer said. It is our responsibility, when
mistakes are made, to correct them quickly and to restore,
and if possible, improve damaged areas.