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Political Science Chair Donna Lybecker amongst Pocatello’s leaders involved in creating the Portneuf River Vision Study

Political science chair and professor, Donna Lybecker, was recently involved on a project with city officials to create a document highlighting the future of the Portneuf River, titled “The Portneuf River Vision Study.”

Political Science Chair Donna Lybecker amongst Pocatello’s leaders involved in creating the Portneuf River Vision Study

Political science chair and professor, Donna Lybecker, was recently involved on a project with city officials to create a document highlighting the future of the Portneuf River, titled “The Portneuf River Vision Study.”

Lybecker got involved after Hannah Sanger, environmental educator for the City of Pocatello, began to develop a plan for how to look at the future of the Portneuf River within the City of Pocatello. Along with a need to work on the levees and channeling along the river, the goals were also to revitalize environmental, recreational an economic opportunities and reconnect the community with the river corridor.

The City of Pocatello, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, decided to bring together a variety of stakeholders, and ultimately the public, to create a visioning plan on what they should do with the river, along with making the necessary safety measures. Sanger involved stakeholders from ISU, including Lybecker, Colden Baxter, professor of biological sciences, and Donna Delparte, professor of geosciences, realtors, residents who lived along the river, city officials, environmentalists and Simplot employees, among others.

First, the group started talking about what they wanted to see done with the river. They created visionary documents and brought them to public meetings. The public was able to hear what was going on with the river and gave their input by drawing on maps, sending in comments and pictures, putting stickers on ideas they liked and participating in a survey.    

The stakeholder group compiled all of the ideas and input, along with the regulations for safety, and created the Portneuf River Vision Study. The document shows what Pocatello citizens think would be great to see along the river, and highlights possible future redevelopment ideas, including streambank restoration, canoe access point, building an amphitheater and splash pools for kids.

Lybecker said a large group of participants were supportive in making the Portneuf River part of our city, including making the parks prettier and more accessible.

The process of creating the Portneuf River Vision Plan took 18 months from start to finish. As the next step, the Vison Study identified priority projects, such as trail and river clean-ups and streambank restoration, upon which the City will focus, along with working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve the concrete channel and levees along the river.

 

 

 

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