Nearly 90 percent of Idaho Falls Power’s energy comes from hydropower, including the five run-of-river dams the City owns and operates. Those plants on average generate about one-third of the electricity used in Idaho Falls' homes and businesses.
About half of the City's electricity comes from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a federal agency that markets power generated on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Idaho Falls residents pay 17 cents out of every dollar in their power bill to mitigate the environmental impacts of the federal hydro system on fish and wildlife.
Nationally, more than $500 million is spent annually protecting endangered fish affected by the dams and restoring their habitat.
Today more than 50 projects are underway to monitor the status of salmon, steelhead and other species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Since the first ESA listings of fish in this river basin in the 1990s, wild steelhead populations have doubled and natural-origin chinook numbers have more than tripled. This report (PDF) details some of the efforts that have led to these successful results, including:
More than 15,000 acres of riparian habitat have been improved along the tributaries critical to salmon and steelhead.
Nearly 400 miles of streams have been improved by the restoration of habitat, enhanced floodplains and side channels.
More than 3,445 miles of critical spawning and rearing habitat has been opened in the Columbia River Basin by projects that eliminated culverts and water diversions.
The number of juvenile salmon and steelhead consumed by predators has been cut significantly thanks to a number of programs, although an increasing number of sea lions threatens to undermine these efforts.