Salmon Falls Creek

Buhl, Idaho

SAFETY WARNING: THIS REACH KNOWN TO SIGNIFICANTLY EXCEED HUMAN HEALTH CRITERIA FOR SWIMMING. DO NOT SWIM UNLESS BEACH IS FLAGGED GREEN.

Salmon Falls Creek is a tributary of the Snake River, flowing from northern Nevada into Idaho in the United States. Formed in high mountains at the northern edge of the Great Basin, Salmon Falls Creek flows northwards 121 miles (195 km), draining an arid and mountainous basin of 2,103 square miles (5,450 km2). The Salmon Falls Creek valley served as a trading route between the Native American groups of the Snake River Plain and Great Basin, but now most of its water is used for irrigation.

Pollution from agricultural runoff and overtaxing of water resources is a prevailing issue in the Salmon Falls Creek watershed. With heavy groundwater withdrawal, many of the springs feeding the lower Salmon Falls Creek have decreased in volume. Because the 220-foot (67 m)-high Salmon Falls Dam has not released any water (except for that needed for irrigation) since the floods of 1984, the lower creek depends almost entirely on irrigation runoff drainage to sustain its flow. Pollutants in the runoff have, as a result, hurt the vegetation corridor in the lower canyon. Several tributaries flowing from northern Nevada into southern Idaho have been diverted, leaving even less water to replenish the lower creek.

The Salmon Falls Creek watershed varies widely in terms of different habitats. Along the lower section of the creek, plentiful water flow and numerous springs create a rich riparian environment compared to an oasis, lined with coyote willow, dogwood, golden currant, cattail, mint and poison ivy. The upper section is a slow-moving waterway that supports a small wetland and extensive meadows. In contrast, the vast majority of the upper undeveloped watershed is a shrub-steppe sagebrush grassland, much of which is used for grazing. Many bird species use the Salmon Falls Creek canyon, including white-throated swift, canyon and rock wrens, cliff swallow, violet-green swallow, barn swallow, screech owl, long-eared owl, great horned owl, kestrel, red-tailed hawk, golden eagles and prairie falcon. Mule deer also inhabit areas of the middle and upper Salmon Falls Creek basin.

Although the namesake Pacific salmon are no longer present in the creek, many fish inhabit the main stem and its tributaries throughout, but especially in Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. Many fish are stocked in the reservoir including brown trout, chinook salmon, kokanee salmon (landlocked sockeye), yellow perch, black crappie, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, and especially abundant is walleye. The Salmon Falls Creek reservoir is said to be one of the most plentiful fisheries in southern 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
34°C
Clear and sunny
MONITORING FREQUENCY

Salmon Falls Creek 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

Salmon Falls Creek

Buhl, 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
34°C
Clear and sunny

SAFETY WARNING: THIS REACH KNOWN TO SIGNIFICANTLY EXCEED HUMAN HEALTH CRITERIA FOR SWIMMING. DO NOT SWIM UNLESS BEACH IS FLAGGED GREEN.

Salmon Falls Creek is a tributary of the Snake River, flowing from northern Nevada into Idaho in the United States. Formed in high mountains at the northern edge of the Great Basin, Salmon Falls Creek flows northwards 121 miles (195 km), draining an arid and mountainous basin of 2,103 square miles (5,450 km2). The Salmon Falls Creek valley served as a trading route between the Native American groups of the Snake River Plain and Great Basin, but now most of its water is used for irrigation.

Pollution from agricultural runoff and overtaxing of water resources is a prevailing issue in the Salmon Falls Creek watershed. With heavy groundwater withdrawal, many of the springs feeding the lower Salmon Falls Creek have decreased in volume. Because the 220-foot (67 m)-high Salmon Falls Dam has not released any water (except for that needed for irrigation) since the floods of 1984, the lower creek depends almost entirely on irrigation runoff drainage to sustain its flow. Pollutants in the runoff have, as a result, hurt the vegetation corridor in the lower canyon. Several tributaries flowing from northern Nevada into southern Idaho have been diverted, leaving even less water to replenish the lower creek.

The Salmon Falls Creek watershed varies widely in terms of different habitats. Along the lower section of the creek, plentiful water flow and numerous springs create a rich riparian environment compared to an oasis, lined with coyote willow, dogwood, golden currant, cattail, mint and poison ivy. The upper section is a slow-moving waterway that supports a small wetland and extensive meadows. In contrast, the vast majority of the upper undeveloped watershed is a shrub-steppe sagebrush grassland, much of which is used for grazing. Many bird species use the Salmon Falls Creek canyon, including white-throated swift, canyon and rock wrens, cliff swallow, violet-green swallow, barn swallow, screech owl, long-eared owl, great horned owl, kestrel, red-tailed hawk, golden eagles and prairie falcon. Mule deer also inhabit areas of the middle and upper Salmon Falls Creek basin.

Although the namesake Pacific salmon are no longer present in the creek, many fish inhabit the main stem and its tributaries throughout, but especially in Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. Many fish are stocked in the reservoir including brown trout, chinook salmon, kokanee salmon (landlocked sockeye), yellow perch, black crappie, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, and especially abundant is walleye. The Salmon Falls Creek reservoir is said to be one of the most plentiful fisheries in southern Idaho.

MONITORING FREQUENCY

Salmon Falls Creek 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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