Cottonwood Creek Daylighting Project


UPDATE – City of Boise Decides Not to Pursue Daylighting Project

November 16, 2021

Dear Members,

We are sad to make this announcement to our members.  The Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Boise has notified the Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited that they will no longer pursue the Cottonwood Creek Daylighting project. They stated in an e-mail, “after careful consideration of the design options, potential costs, and respected input from the Davis family, we have determined that the Cottonwood Creek daylighting project in Julia Davis Park is no longer a project the city will be pursuing”.

The daylighting of Cottonwood Creek is a project long‐desired by the public to improve fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality along a major tributary to the Boise River. It currently flows underground in a flume through the east side of Julia Davis Park. Its daylighting was designed to return the creek to a more natural condition.

The project has been repeatedly included by the city of Boise in numerous public plans, most notably the Boise River Resource Management and Master Plan (1999), Julia Davis Park Master Plan (2002), City of Boise Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan (2011), and Boise River Resource Management and Master Plan (2014). In 2006 and 2014, the City of Boise developed Memorandums of Understanding allowing for this project to serve as a site for wetland compensation. And in early 2018, the Boise City Council approved the appropriation of $200,000 to initiate the project.

With all good intentions and our long-term efforts, canceling the project was an unexpected result. Over $100,000 of in-kind services from the Boise River Enhancement Network, Trout Unlimited, professional firms, and public agencies have been invested since 2015, and over $100,000 in funds spent by the City of Boise. The reversal will require the Boise River Enhancement Network and other partner organizations to return more than $150,000 in donations and grants.

We will unwind existing financial agreements and determine appropriate next steps with the City of Boise.  But, first we will take a moment to grieve with you.  And, soon after return to our vision, mission, and work in the public interest with our natural partners including the City of Boise.

Darryl Kurt, President of the BREN Board of the Directors

Robert B. Tiedemann, Ph.D., Chair and Member of the BREN Coordinating Team

Tamsen Binggeli, Past Chair and Member of the BREN Coordinating Team

Michael Homza, P.E., Past Chair and Member of the BREN Coordinating Team


The confluence of Cottonwood Creek and the Boise River – March 2019







Blog Posts

Cottonwood Creek History “A Great Source of Trouble and Expense.”

Cottonwood Creek History “It Will Cost a Pretty Penny.”

Birders Gather Data for Cottonwood Creek Project

Cottonwood Creek Experiences High Flows in 2019

Growing Cottonwood Trees for the New Cottonwood Creek

The Boise River Enhancement Network is a partner in a cooperative project to ‘daylight’ Cottonwood Creek where it flows through Julia Davis Park and enters the Boise River. The creek currently runs through a stone flume under the park. A new open creek channel will be constructed for the creek benefiting fish and wildlife, water quality and park visitors, and the flume will be ‘retired.’ The project leads are City of Boise and Trout Unlimited.  Partners include the Intermountain Bird Observatory, Ada County Highway District, Golden Eagle Audubon Society, and Land Trust of the Treasure Valley. The project is funded, in part, by the US Bureau of Reclamation, the City of Boise Open Space and Clean Water Fund, and the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Cottonwood Creek watershed is 8,000 acres and heads up in the Boise foothills at 5,600 feet.

Cottonwood Creek flows in a flume from Fort Boise to the Boise River. Most of the flume is open as it passes through the East End.

A new meandering channel will be created for Cottonwood Creek in this area.

Stormwater enters Cottonwood Creek, and the new natural channel will reduce pollutants reaching the Boise River.

This rendering gives an idea of the look of the future Cottonwood Creek. Created by Ecosystem Sciences Foundation.