TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Lt. Governor Scott Bedke issued the following statement in response to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s (ISDA) confirmation that quagga mussel larvae have been found in the Centennial Waterfront Park area of the Snake River:
“I am disappointed to learn that this invasive species has infiltrated the Snake River. This is a major issue for not just the surrounding area but the entire state. If left unchecked, this can negatively affect our water quality, majorly impact the Snake River’s ecosystem, clog our irrigation pipes, and take over our ship and boat hulls. I applaud the Department of Agriculture’s early detection and quick response to this issue and have faith in their action plan to contain – and potentially treat or remove – these mussels. I urge everyone to adhere to the Department of Agriculture’s rapid response plan so we can get this serious situation under control.”
To read ISDA’s full statement on the finding of quagga mussel larvae, follow this link: ISDA confirms quagga mussel larvae in the Snake River – Idaho State Department of Agriculture
Boise, ID – Governor Brad Little and other Idaho leaders are applauding the success of the first Water Summit of the Governor’s administration, which took place Monday in the Idaho Capitol.
Governor Little, Lt. Governor Scott Bedke, and Idaho Water Resource Board Chairman Jeff Raybould gave the audience a strategic look into the status of the state’s precious water resources during the Governor’s Water Summit.
“Idaho must maintain our water sovereignty and not turn out like California or Colorado, where the federal government stepped in to address their water supply problems. Our historic investments in water since I took office just under five years ago are setting us up for success, but we have a lot of work to do. I appreciate all the participants in our first Water Summit for their dedication to working together to create Idaho solutions to Idaho’s water supply,” Governor Little said. “Our policies in Idaho demonstrate that we are true conservationists. People are moving here because of what Idaho looks like, and how we manage water is going to be incredibly important going forward.”
Meeting in front of a full house of approximately 250 people in the Idaho State Capitol Lincoln Auditorium, including numerous state legislators and hundreds online, Governor Little and Lt. Governor Bedke heard about many challenges facing the state’s groundwater resources where they are in decline. The Palouse-Basin Aquifer, the Mountain Home Aquifer, and the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) were all highlighted in that discussion.
Governor Little noted that about $1 billion has been recommended and approved by the Idaho Legislature for water infrastructure projects since he took office. Through his “Leading Idaho” and “Idaho First” plans, the Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB) has received $450 million to modernize the state’s water infrastructure statewide through grants, loans, and strategic investments in water sustainability projects.
The state’s historic investment in modern water infrastructure will help stretch water supplies with efficiency savings and water quality improvements, the Governor said. Some funds are going to water projects that restore aquifer stability and provide for sustainable water use, Raybould noted.
“Sustainability is our watchword,” Lt. Governor Bedke said. “This is all about making sure we have adequate water supplies for Idaho’s future. Our future success is dependent on water.”
On the positive side, the water supply in the state’s most populous region, the Treasure Valley, is stable, officials said. Lining six miles of the New York Canal utilizing local, state, and federal funding is expected to save approximately 29,000 acre-feet of water per year – the equivalent of flooding 29,000 acres of land to the depth of one foot. Officials also heard about water-conservation efforts in the Avimor community, north of Eagle, that are cutting residential water use in half.
Idaho also is a national leader in Cloud Seeding efforts that increase snowfall and mountain snowpack in the winter. Idaho’s Collaborative Cloud Seeding Program involving Idaho Power Co., IWRB, and water users has added an average of 1.2 million acre-feet of water supply per year in the Upper Snake, Boise, and the Big Wood and Payette River basins, Idaho Power officials said.
Being among the fastest-growing states in America adds to the state’s water challenges, Raybould said. “Clearly, we’ve been discovered,” he said. “That creates even more challenges for us, especially with water supply and infrastructure. We need to make sure we conserve our water resources the best we can while operating within the bounds of the Prior Appropriation Doctrine.”
Raybould refers to Idaho water law, which gives priority to water users who have the most senior rights or, first in time, first in right.
While tension between senior and junior users has been intense in places like the Wood River Valley and Eastern Snake Plain, the tone between water users was civil throughout the day at the Governor’s Water Summit. Case studies of water issues in Idaho communities showed a broad diversity of water users are working together to solve problems.
More discussions and regional meetings may be held in the future to discuss water topics, Governor Little said.
“This is just a starting point in the discussions we need to have. This is not about new policies but managing our resources in the best way we can. We are the true conservationists,” he said.
Overall, Little said the state’s water management should ensure:
- A sustainable water supply for urban and rural users
- Water quality is being improved on an ongoing basis
- Idaho’s sovereignty over its water resources is maintained at all times
The agenda, meeting materials, attendance summary and video of the summit are available at https://idwr.idaho.gov/iwrb/meetings/board-meeting-materials/.
BOISE, Idaho – Following the passage of House Bill 24, otherwise known as “Launch”, in the Idaho Senate today, Lt. Governor Scott Bedke issued the following statement in support of Governor Brad Little’s initiative to provide training for Idaho students for in-demand careers.
“Today we made a great investment in our students’ futures. Launch will give our next generation a sturdy platform in which they can further their education and learn new skills in whatever avenue they choose. A steady labor force starts with a proper education, and we need to continue to prioritize our students’ options to support Idaho’s industry and economy as the fastest growing state in the nation. I am proud of our elected leaders for putting Idaho’s students first.”
The Idaho Senate also passed the Launch trailer bill, Senate Bill 1167, which now heads to the Idaho House for approval.
BOISE, Idaho – Lt. Governor Scott Bedke issued the following statement on the passing of former Idaho Governor Phil Batt:
“Governor Phil Batt was the embodiment of a dedicated public servant. A man of fairness and decency, Gov. Batt served our community with a commitment to protect our lands, fight for human rights, and ensure fiscal responsibility. While his time in office predated my own, Gov. Batt was there when my political career first began; he appointed me to a federal task force that worked to keep Idaho a viable and influential voice in the lands process to uphold the beauty and wonders of our great state.
Sarah and I send our love and condolences to his family, friends, and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.”
Boise, Idaho – Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke issued the following statement after Governor Brad Little’s 2023 State of the State and Budget Address today.
“Working together, our citizens, businesses, and state leaders have positioned Idaho to become the strongest state in the country,” said Lt. Governor Bedke. “I agree with Governor Little that our combined efforts are leading Idaho in the right direction. We need to continue to stay on course and prioritize decisions that will benefit Idahoans not just today but for generations to come. I am proud of what we have accomplished together for our state, and I look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature as we strive to further strengthen public schools, infrastructure, businesses, families, and our economy. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
BOISE, Idaho – Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke was publicly sworn into office as the 44th Lieutenant Governor of the state of Idaho on January 6, 2023.
The Lieutenant Governor joined fellow Idaho constitutional officers on the Idaho Capitol’s steps on Friday afternoon for the official swearing-in ceremony.
“As your Lieutenant Governor, I pledge to support Governor Little as we work to preserve the values that make Idaho an ideal place for future generations to live, work, and raise a family,” Bedke said. “This means protecting our Idaho way of life, which includes maintaining the lightest possible touch of government, investing in our children’s quality education, and fostering a positive business climate.”
Before his election to be Idaho’s Lieutenant Governor, Bedke represented District 27 for 11 terms and in 2012 was elected as the 41st Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives, where he held the office for ten years. He is the longest-serving Speaker in Idaho history.
Lieutenant Governor Bedke is an Idaho native and fourth generation cattle rancher out of Oakley, Idaho. He and his wife Sarah have been married for 42 years and together have four children and 16 grandchildren.