Little Salmon River

New Meadows, Idaho

SWIMMING IS UNADVISABLE DUE TO HIGH WATER LEVELS AND UNSAFE RUNOFF

The Little Salmon River is a tributary of the Salmon River in the U.S. state of Idaho. The river is some 51 miles (82 km) long and drains 576 square miles (1,490 km2) of land.

It rises at 6,280 feet (1,910 m) in elevation on Blue Bunch Ridge in the Sawtooth Range of south-central Idaho, close to Payette Lake. From there, it flows north, through the broad Meadows Valley past Meadows and New Meadows, where it receives Goose Creek from river right and Mud Creek from river left. The river then enters a canyon, cutting across the western edge of the Salmon River Mountains, forming the boundary between Idaho County and Adams County and also running next to U.S. Highway 95. It receives Hazard Creek and Payette Creek both from the right, then receives Boulder Creek, the Rapid River and Squaw Creek from the left, and past Pollock, before joining the Salmon River at the town of Riggins, at 1,720 feet (520 m) above sea level.

The Little Salmon River formed as a result of a rift valley developing between the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia Plateau section of the Intermontane Plateaus. Columbia River basalt underlies much of the western and central parts of the watershed, while other types of volcanic rock of closer origin form the foundations of the eastern mountains. The entire watershed is dissected by fault-block rifting. The water table is high and soils are generally well drained and of volcanic origin. The upper section of the watershed is a broad and low-gradient, sediment-floored valley used primarily for agriculture and ranching activities, and also has most of the basin's population. The rest of the river flows in a wild, deep, and narrow canyon mostly undeveloped with the exception of the highway. Logging has also been a past activity in the valley, and tourism and fishing are growing industries. In a rare occurrence with rivers, the Little Salmon starts out in a developed, relatively flat area and flows through mountains further downstream, bearing some resemblance to the Klamath River, which also begins in an agricultural valley before cutting through mountains to the sea.

The Payette National Forest and Nez Perce National Forest cover portions of the Little Salmon River watershed, but at no point does the river flow over federally protected lands. However, the river is free flowing and unobstructed by dams or dikes. Most of the watershed receives about 20-25 inches of rainfall per year. On higher mountain slopes rainfall can be up to 40 to 50 inches annually, and on the highest west-facing mountains, precipitation can be much higher than that. About half of the river is inhabited by its namesake salmon. Other than salmon, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, several different species of trout and dace, and other species of fish, are also present. Cottonwood, willow, dogwood and alder grow along the banks of the river.

WATER QUALITY
  • Met water quality standards less than 60% of the time
  • Historical Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on . Snake River Waterkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on at
For water quality icon legend, click:   
CURRENT WEATHER
22°C
Cloudy with a few clear breaks
MONITORING FREQUENCY

Little Salmon River is sampled from June 7th to August 30th

SOURCE INFORMATION

There is currently very limited water quality monitoring of Idaho's inland swim sites. The federal Beach Act does not cover freshwater or riverine beaches, and states in the Basin do not monitor Snake River swimming beaches or recreational access sites.

As part of its Water Quality Program, Snake River Waterkeeper monitors water quality at more than 100 sites on the Snake River and its tributaries for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity/conductivity/total dissolved solids, ammonia, and nitrates. Data are collected at sample sites June-October and assigned safety ratings based on comparison to EPA's Recreational Water Quality Criteria for Human Health:

pH: 5 – 9 µg/L
Salinity/Conductivity/Total Dissolved Solids: 500 mg/L
Nitrates: 10 mg/L

A site is marked Green when single sample results meet all Human Health Criteria.
A site is marked Red when the results are equal to or above Human Health Criteria.
A site is marked Grey when there are no current results or no available information.
Sites found to exceed EPA's Aquatic Health Criteria are noted in site descriptions.

While criteria measured are useful indicators of contamination, there are many other potential sources of pollution that are not reflected in our Swim Guide, including E.coli and other bacteria, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and pesticides that harm aquatic life.

Download the free app for smartphone and learn about Swim Guide 3.0 at www.theswimguide.org. To learn more about our efforts to protect and restore the Snake River's water quality, visit www.snakeriverwaterkeeper.org.

WATER QUALITY GRAPH

Little Salmon River

New Meadows, Idaho

WATER QUALITY
  • Met water quality standards less than 60% of the time
  • Historical Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on . Snake River Waterkeeper updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on at
For water quality icon legend, click:   
CURRENT WEATHER
22°C
Cloudy with a few clear breaks

SWIMMING IS UNADVISABLE DUE TO HIGH WATER LEVELS AND UNSAFE RUNOFF

The Little Salmon River is a tributary of the Salmon River in the U.S. state of Idaho. The river is some 51 miles (82 km) long and drains 576 square miles (1,490 km2) of land.

It rises at 6,280 feet (1,910 m) in elevation on Blue Bunch Ridge in the Sawtooth Range of south-central Idaho, close to Payette Lake. From there, it flows north, through the broad Meadows Valley past Meadows and New Meadows, where it receives Goose Creek from river right and Mud Creek from river left. The river then enters a canyon, cutting across the western edge of the Salmon River Mountains, forming the boundary between Idaho County and Adams County and also running next to U.S. Highway 95. It receives Hazard Creek and Payette Creek both from the right, then receives Boulder Creek, the Rapid River and Squaw Creek from the left, and past Pollock, before joining the Salmon River at the town of Riggins, at 1,720 feet (520 m) above sea level.

The Little Salmon River formed as a result of a rift valley developing between the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia Plateau section of the Intermontane Plateaus. Columbia River basalt underlies much of the western and central parts of the watershed, while other types of volcanic rock of closer origin form the foundations of the eastern mountains. The entire watershed is dissected by fault-block rifting. The water table is high and soils are generally well drained and of volcanic origin. The upper section of the watershed is a broad and low-gradient, sediment-floored valley used primarily for agriculture and ranching activities, and also has most of the basin's population. The rest of the river flows in a wild, deep, and narrow canyon mostly undeveloped with the exception of the highway. Logging has also been a past activity in the valley, and tourism and fishing are growing industries. In a rare occurrence with rivers, the Little Salmon starts out in a developed, relatively flat area and flows through mountains further downstream, bearing some resemblance to the Klamath River, which also begins in an agricultural valley before cutting through mountains to the sea.

The Payette National Forest and Nez Perce National Forest cover portions of the Little Salmon River watershed, but at no point does the river flow over federally protected lands. However, the river is free flowing and unobstructed by dams or dikes. Most of the watershed receives about 20-25 inches of rainfall per year. On higher mountain slopes rainfall can be up to 40 to 50 inches annually, and on the highest west-facing mountains, precipitation can be much higher than that. About half of the river is inhabited by its namesake salmon. Other than salmon, steelhead, Pacific lamprey, several different species of trout and dace, and other species of fish, are also present. Cottonwood, willow, dogwood and alder grow along the banks of the river.

MONITORING FREQUENCY

Little Salmon River is sampled from June 7th to August 30th

SOURCE INFORMATION

There is currently very limited water quality monitoring of Idaho's inland swim sites. The federal Beach Act does not cover freshwater or riverine beaches, and states in the Basin do not monitor Snake River swimming beaches or recreational access sites.

As part of its Water Quality Program, Snake River Waterkeeper monitors water quality at more than 100 sites on the Snake River and its tributaries for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity/conductivity/total dissolved solids, ammonia, and nitrates. Data are collected at sample sites June-October and assigned safety ratings based on comparison to EPA's Recreational Water Quality Criteria for Human Health:

pH: 5 – 9 µg/L
Salinity/Conductivity/Total Dissolved Solids: 500 mg/L
Nitrates: 10 mg/L

A site is marked Green when single sample results meet all Human Health Criteria.
A site is marked Red when the results are equal to or above Human Health Criteria.
A site is marked Grey when there are no current results or no available information.
Sites found to exceed EPA's Aquatic Health Criteria are noted in site descriptions.

While criteria measured are useful indicators of contamination, there are many other potential sources of pollution that are not reflected in our Swim Guide, including E.coli and other bacteria, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, and pesticides that harm aquatic life.

Download the free app for smartphone and learn about Swim Guide 3.0 at www.theswimguide.org. To learn more about our efforts to protect and restore the Snake River's water quality, visit www.snakeriverwaterkeeper.org.

WATER QUALITY GRAPH



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