The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, water managers have released the planned Lake Pend Oreille elevations for Oct. 1-15. The Corps operates Albeni Falls Dam, which regulates the level of Lake Pend Oreille.
The lake is typically drafted from full to 1 to 2 feet from full each September and then down to the winter operating level by Nov. 30. Inflows are typically at their lowest levels in September and early October, but fall rains and other considerations may require some outflow adjustments to reach target elevations.
Lake Pend Oreille’s winter level is managed in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game to benefit reproduction of the lake’s kokanee population. Kokanee, which are small, lake-resident sockeye salmon, are not native to the lake, but their population has been in decline, and they serve as a food source for Lake Pend Oreille’s threatened native bull trout.
The winter operating level has yet to be requested by the fishery agencies. The Corps will send out a news release when the decision is made, which is expected mid-October.
Predicted elevations above mean sea level as measured in feet at the Hope Gage are:
-- Sept. 30 -- 2,061.0
-- Oct. 15 -- 2,057.0
Awareness of lake level changes allows the public to protect themselves and their property -- safety is the Corps’ number one priority.
The Corps operates Albeni Falls Dam as a multiple-purpose project, providing flood risk management, power generation, navigation and recreation.
Information about the lake levels for Lake Pend Oreille is available on-line at: http://www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/nws/hh/basins/pend.html