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Big Lost River Basin

Big Lost River Basin Hydrologic Investigation

The Big Lost River Basin is located in south-central Idaho within Butte and Custer Counties. The basin serves as an important tributary to the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. 

From 2018-2022, IDWR conducted a project to characterize the surface and groundwater hydrology of the Big Lost River Basin. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provided funding for the project through a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) grant. DOE participation in this project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action taken by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for alleged violations of the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Management Act. 

IDWR partnered with the Idaho Geological Survey (IGS) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to complete the following objectives: 

  • Installed stream gages and performed multi-year seepage studies to examine surface water-ground water interactions between the Big Lost River and the aquifer system
  • Developed a hydrogeologic framework and groundwater budgets for the basin  
  • Installed new monitoring wells to expand water level data collection efforts 
  • Conducted a water quality study
Piezometer nest in the Big Lost
Piezometer nest installed in the Big Lost River Basin
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