Records of springs in the Snake River valley, Jerome and Gooding Counties, Idaho, 1899-1947

Water Supply Paper 1463
Prepared in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Reclamation
By: , and 



Many springs and seeps discharge water from the north wall of the valley of the Snake River between Milner and Bliss, Idaho. These are fed by a large ground-water body lying east and north of the river, beneath the Snake River Plain. Much ground water is pumped on the plain, many irrigation wells having been drilled since 1946. Heavy withdrawal of ground water from wells may alter the discharge rates and regimens of the springs and may affect downstream flow of the river. For that reason, the historic record of discharge from the springs is an important part of the basis on which hydrologic changes can be determined. The records also would facilitate appraisal of the total groundwater resources of the Snake River Plain. This report brings together in a single volume all obtainable records for the period 1899-1947. The report also includes descriptive data and a brief history of work done. The springs occur in a 40-mile reach of the valley of the Snake River between Milner Dam and Bliss. Most are on the north side of the river but a few are on the south. The earliest measurements of record were made by F. S. Shirley and N. S. Dils, of the U. S. Geological Survey, in 1899. The next were by J. D. Stannard for the Idaho State Engineer and by Dils in 1902. Few measurements were made from 1903 to 1916. Somewhat more systematic measurements were made by the Geological Survey and by local agencies in 1917-20, 1923-25, and 1931, and at several intervals thereafter. In 1950 the Geological Survey began continuous, systematic measurements by installing and operating gaging stations on four representative springs and by making yearly direct measurements of all large springs. The recent records are not included in this report; they have been published yearly in a series of reports on stream discharge. The report includes lists of all published sources from which data were compiled, and cites many unpublished sources. The principal workers and agencies that have obtained records are listed also. The quality and accuracy of the compiled records, as might be expected, are not uniform, as the records were collected under varying circumstances, by many individuals, and according to changing or differing standards. The continuity is generally poor. Nevertheless, the compilation represents the base from which further work must start and is an extremely valuable record. It represents about 30 large springs and groups of springs, having discharge rates ranging from a fraction of a cubic foot per second to well over 1,000 cfs. Many smaller springs and seeps never have been measured. The fluctuation indexes for individual springs or groups range from 2 to 41 percent. The fluctuation index is the mean deviation of the discharge rate from the arithmetic mean, expressed as a percentage of the arithmetic mean. Although to some extent the indexes are a measure of the consistency of the record, they also seem to reflect actual differences in range of discharge, and they indicate that springs upstream in the Snake River valley fluctuate through a wider range than do those downstream. The fluctuations are rather slow, which reflects the equalizing influence of the large ground-water reservoir that supplies the springs.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Records of springs in the Snake River valley, Jerome and Gooding Counties, Idaho, 1899-1947
Series title Water Supply Paper
Series number 1463
DOI 10.3133/wsp1463
Edition -
Year Published 1958
Language English
Publisher U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location Washington D.C.
Description Report: v, 62 p. Plate 1: 12 inches x 12.34 inches; Plate 2: 10 inches x 19.45 inches; Plate 3: 21.50 inches x 10.38 inches
Country United States
State Idaho
County Gooding County;Jerome County
Other Geospatial Snake River Valley