Prompted by the need for a current, accurate, and repeatable delineation of irrigated acreage on the Snake River Plain, the U.S. Geological Survey entered into a cooperative agreement with the Idaho Department of Water Resources Image Analysis Facility and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to delineate 1980 land use form Landsat data. Irrigated acreage data were needed as input to groundwater flow models developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in a study of the regional aquifer system underlying the Snake River Plain. Single-date digital multispectral scanner data analyzed to delineate land-use classes. Source of irrigation water (surface water, ground water, and combined) was determined from county maps of 1975 water-related land use, data from previous investigations, and field checking. Surface-water diversions for irrigation on the Snake River Plain began in the 1840's. With the stimulus of Federal aid authorized by the Desert Land Act, Carey Act, and Reclamation Act, irrigated area increased rapidly in the early 1900's. By 1929, 2.2 million acres were irrigated. Ground water became and important source of irrigation water after World War II. In 1980, about 3.1 million acres of the Snake River Plain were irrigate: 2.0 million acres with surface water, 1.0 million with ground water, and 0.1 million with combined surface and ground water. About 5.2 million acres (half of the plain) are undeveloped rangeland, 1.0 million acres (one-tenth) are classified as barren. The remaining land is a mixture of dryland agriculture, water bodies, wetland, forests, and urban areas.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Irrigated acreage and other land uses on the Snake River Plain, Idaho and eastern Oregon