The Boise River, which winds through the heart of the city of Boise, includes open water habitat as well as adjacent riparian habitat, which mostly consists of cottonwood and willow. This site extends from the Lucky Peak dam to the Glenwood Bridge in Garden City.

Ornithological Summary

Bald Eagles winter in area and utilize the river for sustenance. Large flocks of waterfowl (particularly Canada Goose, Mallard, and American Wigeon, but also Wood Duck, Common and Barrow?s Goldeneye), and gulls (California and Ring-billed) also use the river during the winter months. Osprey can be seen on the river throughout the spring and summer months, as well as waterfowl (Canada Goose, Mallard, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser), waterbirds, (Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American Coot) and shorebirds (Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper). A Great Blue Heron rookery is also located within this IBA.

Conservation Issues

Given the location of this site, residential and commercial development, as well as recreational development and overuse are all serious issues. Recreation and development may result in serious disturbance to birds in the area. However, during the winter months, when bird use is the highest, recreational use of the river is quite low. Water pollution and water diversion/channelization is a potential problem, as well as the effects of drought in the area.


Habitats include the Boise River itself, with adjacent riparian habitats, consisting mostly of cottonwoods and willows.

Land Use

The Boise River, which winds through the heart of the city of Boise, is used for many different purposes. Water supply is a significant use of the river. Recreation may be the next biggest use, where large numbers of people raft the river each summer, fish and birdwatch year-round, and hike along the greenbelt and other managed trails bordering the river year-round. The Barber Pool area is used for environmental education, and additional programs at this location are being developed.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.