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'Rooster Tail' display to happen next weekend at Lucky Peak

The ‘Rooster Tail’ is a popular springtime attraction that results from the discharge of water through the original release structures of the dam, directing water high into the air.

For the first time in five years, the Army Corps of Engineers will put on the 'Rooster Tail' display at Lucky Peak Reservoir.

While many are concerned about how the ‘Rooster Tail’ will affect the already high Boise river levels, Keith Hyde, park manager for the Corps of Engineers, says it will actually be putting out the same amount of water.

"We don't have to do this, but it's one of those attractions and people love it. We start getting calls about February, 'when's the rooster tail? When's the rooster tail? We want to come out and see it,'" Hyde said.

The ‘Rooster Tail’ is a popular springtime attraction that results from the discharge of water through the original release structures of the dam, directing water high into the air.

The weekend of April 22-23, Lucky Peak will display the ‘Rooster Tail’ for the first time in five years.

"It's pretty impressive, seeing all that water fly through the air. It gets to about 150 ft. or so," Hyde said.

The Army Corps of Engineers will release water out of the gates that were originally used daily until 1986, when construction of the Lucky Peak power plant began.

And why the display won’t impact current river levels, they cannot create a ‘Rooster Tail’ anytime they want.

"The water in the system is owned by irrigators so we can't waste a drop," Hyde said.

And the powerhouse needs water to generate electricity.

"So when we are in flood protection mode, and the water managers need to release larger amounts of water to maintain space in the system, that's the time that we can do a display," Hyde said.

A lot of people mistake the current cone valves across from discovery park for being the ‘Rooster Tail.’

"Well actually that's just the water that has to come out of this system that the powerhouse can't use right now."

So to make the ‘Rooster Tail’ display, the Army Corps of Engineers simply turns off one valve and opens the gates from Lucky Peak reservoir.

"Actually there's no change in the flow down the river at all, it's just coming from a different place," Hyde said.

As Boise River flows continue to run extremely high and fast, remember to be safe.

"Play safe around the water. It is freezing cold; it is moving fast. We don't want any accidents on the Boise."

The driving tour of the ‘Rooster Tail’ takes about an hour, so if you have free time next Saturday or Sunday, be sure to take a look because we don't know when this will happen again.

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