Debris could enter Lake Pend Oreille, boaters should use caution

Published May 12, 2017

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ officials have declared the log-boom breach at Clark Fork Drift Yard an emergency and are warning boaters to watch out for logs and other floating debris in Lake Pend Oreille.  Debris from the Clark Fork River may pass through the breach creating a safety hazard for all recreational boating activities.

Emergency repairs to the breach, discovered last week during periodic inspections, have thus far been thwarted by high river flows from recent storm activity and snowmelt runoff.  Corps’ officials are planning emergency maintenance with work expected to commence as flows decrease and make repairs possible.

The Corps gathers most debris from the Clark Fork before it enters the lake and stores it in the Clark Fork Drift Facility until it can be disposed. A piece of the log boom, a barrier of logs chained together to contain debris, failed last week which could allow logs and smaller debris to enter the upper lake.

Until the breach is fully repaired, the Corps advises boaters and the public to use caution, and be alert for logs and debris which can float just beneath the water surface.  The cause of the breach is under investigation.

The Corps of Engineers is the largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation in the nation. Lake Pend Oreille is one of 403 lakes and river projects in 43 states which provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities.

“Safety is a top priority at Corps lakes and we want boaters to be aware of, and on the lookout for, debris that may enter Lake Pend Oreille,” said Albeni Falls Dam Operations Project Manager Ryne Linehan.

Scott Lawrence

Release no. 17-019