Low Water Owyhee

This week, Kristin and I took off to check out the Lower Owyhee River (Rome to Birch Creek). Our school, Alzar School (www.alzarschool.com) has applied to get a permit to use this section of river in the future as it would make an excellent classroom.  The timing worked out perfectly, as we picked up our new helmets as we passed through Meridian on the way to the put in.

The river was at an extremely low level (~540 cfs, with the minimum recommended being 1000 cfs), but we needed to get on the river this week, so we squeezed down.  In reality, while the whitewater was not very difficult, the Owyhee did not disappoint as a possible location for future groups of students.  We just learned that at this flow, we should do it as a canoe trip!

One of the first things that can be studied on the way down the river is the incredible geology.  There are stunning basalt and rhyolite formations spaced out in several tight canyons.  There is also the high desert ecology... sage and juniper trees, quail, bighorn sheep, etc.

But more relevantly to our school, there is a fantastic lesson in collaborative leadership in the Owyhee's story of earning "Wild & Scenic" protection.  Our school studies leadership case studies as part of our curriculum.  Just a couple of years ago, leaders interested in protecting the river brought together stakeholders with a wide variety of backgrounds (fishermen, ranchers, whitewater enthusiasts, hunters, wildlife lovers, etc) and were able to come up with a collaborative solution that allowed for everyone to come together for the protection of the Owyhee River and surrounding drainages.

We're excited for the NW boating season to start.  Thanks to WRSI for equipping us and always providing quality helmets for our students!

- Sean Bierle, Head Teacher
Alzar School

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