Camas Prairie, Elmore County, Idaho

Tag Archives: Water Rights

“Transmission Lines Would Run From the Southern Shore” …

What the Anderson Ranch Reservoir view might look like when the Cat Creek Energy project is finished.

Elmore County’s own engineering study said this of the Cat Creek Energy project:

“Very limited information on the electrical line from the powerhouse to the
substation is presented. Voltage and construction information are absent. We surmise this line (34kV?) would run from the southern shoreline of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, ascend to the canyon rim through open forest habitat and then cross mixed grass land and shrub steppe to the substation. The line has the potential to cause a number of impacts to wildlife which would need to be addressed.”

In 2016, the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Board said the the vast majority of the project was “Not Compatible” with the surrounding environment when they denied Cat Creek Energy the permits to build a large-scale energy project in our backcountry.

Who hasn’t fished, boated, camped or driven along Anderson Ranch Reservoir? I can’t imaging anyone in Elmore County that hasn’t been along the shores of our finest body of water. This is what Cat Creek Energy considers “compatible” with the surroundings?

Take Action

Call, write to and/or email your government representatives and tell them you are opposed to the entire Cat Creek Energy project.

or, be bold and write a letter to:

Cat Creek Energy LLC
398 S. 9th St., Ste 240
Boise, ID 853701

List of addresses:

Reference: Attachment 2 found at Attachment 2 - Independent Review of the Cat Creek Energy Wildlife Management Plan

Can Cat Creek Energy be Trusted With Anderson Ranch Reservoir Water?

Yikes! Cat Creek Energy – A Problem, Not a Solution!

In a document published on Feb. 1, 2016, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game said the following of Cat Creek Energy’s plan to keep a new reservoir on Little Camas Prairie filled and functional with Anderson Ranch Reservoir and South Fork of the Boise River water:

“The rapid dewatering of ARR (Anderson Ranch Reservoir) in late summer/early fall already stall kokanee escapement into the SFBR until the mud flat delta stabilizes. Kokanee are vulnerable to predation and delayed during this time. It is likely a daily 2+ foot fluctuation will exacerbate this problem and potentially strand kokanee.”

Reference: See page 4 from this downloadable pdf document – Idaho Fish and Game on the Cat Creek Energy Project - Feb. 1, 2016

Stop the Cat Creek Energy Project (CCE) – Spread the Word

On October 20 & 21, 2018, we set up an information booth and spent the day at Carl Miller Park in Mountain Home, Idaho talking to the people who attended the 5th Annual Mountain Home Highland Games & World Fair.

Our goal was simple … Raise awareness about the Cat Creek Energy Project and how bad the project is for the residents of Elmore County.

The Cat Creek Energy Project is bad for Elmore County

What We Discovered – Many Locals Were Unaware of the CCE Project

A vast majority of the people who stopped by our booth were unaware that a corporation based in Gooding County wants to build a mega-energy project in our mountains just 21 miles from Mountain Home.

While we did talk with a few individuals who were from out-of-state, most of those who were interested in learning more about the ill-conceived project were from the Mountain Home area and knew nothing about the CCE Project. This means we have more work to do.

Video Highlighting Why Cat Creek is Bad for Elmore County

By The Numbers:

Booth Statistics – Number of Adults Interested in the Cat Creek Energy Project (CCE)

  • # of people who talked to us at the booth about the CCE Project: 104
  • # Opposed or Strongly Opposed to the CCE Project: 81
  • # who neither support nor oppose the CCE Project: 18
  • # who support the CCE Project: 5

Please help us stop the Cat Creek Energy Project. How? You can share a link to this website with your friends, co-workers, and neighbors, “like” our Facebook Page (@SBarRanch) and write to your federal, state and local government leaders. Tell them you are opposed to the entire project.

Who Doesn’t Want Cat Creek Energy to get Rights to Anderson Ranch Reservoir Water?

In May 2017, Cat Creek Energy, LLC applied to draw 101,000 acre-feet of water from the South Fork of the Boise River water basin. This water would actually be pumped up to a new reservoir on Little Camas Prairie from Anderson Ranch Reservoir via a series of penstocks located across the lake from Evans Creek Campground.

Anderson Ranch Reservoir, 2018.

This proposed new reservoir, Cat Creek Reservoir, is scheduled to be built just one mile or so north of Little Camas Reservoir and very close to three possible greater sage grouse nesting grounds, called a “lek.”

September 24, 2018, marked the deadline for individuals, groups and even other government agencies to file a protest against Cat Creek Energy’s water permit with the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR). By that deadline, 19 protests were filed against that water permit application.

Who Are Those 19 Protesters?

Here are just some of the names:

  1. The Boise office of the Bureau of Reclamation (
  2. The Idaho Conservation League (
  3. The Boise Project Board of Control (
  4. SUEZ Water Idaho, Inc. (
  5. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (
  6. The City of Boise City (
  7. A consortium of water related companies and irrigation districts that include: Ballentyne Ditch Company, Boise Valley Irrigation Ditch Company, Canyon County Water Company, Eureka Water Company, Farmers’ Co-operative Ditch Company, Middleton Mill Ditch Company, Middleton Irrigation Association, Inc., Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District, New Dry Creek Ditch Company, Pioneer Ditch Company, Pioneer Irrigation District, Settlers Irrigation District, South Boise Water Company, and Thurman Mill Ditch Company.
  8. S Bar Ranch (Facebook @SBarRanch or

Again this is just eight of the 19 entities that filed a protest for many different and various legal/practical reasons.

These 19 protest letters filed with the Idaho Department of Water Resources tells us that the Cat Creek Energy pumped-storage hydroelectric facility is an ill-conceived plan.

IDFG is concerned that the requested water diversion and associated hydroelectric project could adversely affect important public fisheries and Endangered Species Act protected bull trout populations within affected river and reservoir reaches of the Boise River system.~ Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Reference: Water-Permit-Protests-CatCreekEnergyOct2018.pdf at

Results From the Oct. 5, 2018 Cat Creek Energy Public Hearing

If the Cat Creek Energy project gets approved, this is what you can expect to see on Little Camas Prairie.

A public hearing regarding the Cat Creek Energy and Elmore County Development Agreement was held on Friday, October 5, 2018. However, Cat Creek Energy lawyers and the county commissioners could not come to a satisfactory agreement over water issues and Cat Creek bowed out of this public hearing that they requested in September 2018.

With Cat Creek Energy withdrawing their draft amendment to the development agreement, the Elmore County Commissioners decided there was no reason to take public testimony on the issue. Chairman Wes Wootan and Commissioner Corbus voted to close out the public hearing immediately following a quick briefing by Buzz Grant, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) legal counsel.

Mr. Grant indicated that Cat Creek Energy is aware that the incomplete Development Agreement needs to be finalized by December 31, 2018, or the conditional use permit for at least one portion of the mega-project will expire and be null and void.

The county fully expects Cat Creek Energy representatives will come back to the negotiating table in the future. Concerned citizens, the S Bar Ranch, and many others are closely monitoring all the shenanigans and legal maneuvering of Cat Creek Energy, LLC and will continue to post updates both on this website and on our Facebook page at @SbarRanch /

Please help us get the word out by sharing this blog and/or Facebook posts.

Commissioners Select Oct. 5 for a new Cat Creek Energy Public Hearing

Testify during the Oct 5 hearing.

Public testimony will be accepted at a 1:30 p.m. hearing on Friday, October 5, 2018, in the Elmore County Courthouse regarding the Cat Creek Energy project. This public meeting was made necessary when the county commissioners refused to approve Cat Creek Energy’s previous draft amendment during a September 7, 2018 hearing pertaining to a development agreement between the fledgling energy company and the county.

During that Sept. 7th hearing, Commissioner Corbus lectured the lawyers and spokesmen for Cat Creek Energy for trying to undermine the county’s efforts to obtain a water right from the South Fork of the Boise River. The major concern that the commissioners had with the proposal was the lack of detail Cat Creek provided for the money they could be charging the county for any water they might deliver to the citizens.

This new hearing and the proposed amendment is obviously an effort to smooth things over after the two parties walked away from the deal. In previous meetings, Corbus indicated that Cat Creek Energy categorically stated Elmore County wouldn’t have to worry about getting the water down to the Mountain Home area as Cat Creek Energy could get it there. However, Corbus said the actions and protests Cat Creek threw in front of the county was a sign that the energy company didn’t mean what it said.

According to Elmore County documents, “Any and all interested persons shall be heard at said hearing and the public is welcome and invited tsubmit testimony. Testimony will be limited to the Amendment of the Development Agreement and its terms and conditions.

Anyone who wishes to testify, but is unable to attend, may submit written testimony prior to the hearing by sending it to:

Elmore County Land Use and Building Department
520 East 2nd South Street,
Home, Idaho, 83647

Download the Public Hearing Notice by clicking here …  Oct. 5, 2018 Public Hearing - Cat Creek Energy Development Agreement

or, the same information in a public link at

S Bar Ranch Letter to Congressman Mike Simpson

This is what the road leading to the Cat Creek Summit Scenic Overlook would look like with wind turbines.

Chris Stephens, owner of the S Bar Ranch located on the western portion of Camas Prairie wrote to Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson and the rest of the Idaho Congressional Delegation explaining why the proposed Cat Creek Energy project is incompatible with the local environment and the wishes of many local residents and ranchers.

Please download and review this letter at …  S Bar Ranch Letter to Idaho's Congressman Mike Simpson

Here is a copy of the letter the S Bar Ranch mailed to Congressman Raul Labrador …  S Bar Ranch Letter to Idaho's Congressman Raul Labrador

To view the letter to Senator Crapo please click here … S Bar Ranch Letter to Idaho's Senator Mike Crapo

Here is a snippet from that letter:
I believe that this Project has not been fully vetted by the Federal and State agencies,
including but not limited to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National
Environmental Protection Agency, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Idaho Public
Utility Commission, and the State of Idaho Department of Water Resources, who oversee our
Federal government’s and State’s critical wildlife, fish habitat, and environment. It is my
opinion, and the opinion of many other people that this Project should not proceed until all
parties fully understand what affect this Project will have on our land and the citizens of Elmore

We hope you will take the time to research why this mega-project, slated to be built in Elmore County, is not compatible with Idaho’s time-honored tradition of being good stewards of our land.  Once you do the research you may wish to write to your Idaho Congressional Delegation to ask them for help in delaying this project until all issues have been explained and satisfactorily negotiated.

Idaho Congressional Delegation and Mailing Addresses:

Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District
Congressman Mike Simpson
2084 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-5531

Idaho’s 1st Congressional District
Congressman Raul Labrador
1523 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202- 225-6611

Idaho’s Freshman Senator
U.S. Senator James E. Risch
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2752

Idaho’s Senior Senator
Senator Mike Crapo
239 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202- 224-6142