Oldtown, ID -- Due to near record rainfall in northern Idaho and Montana, Albeni Falls Dam released water at a rate as high as 98,000 cubic feet per second, and while flows are slowing, Army Corps of Engineers park rangers urge caution at Pend Oreille beaches.
Normally by this time of year we are releasing around 41,000, said park ranger Linda Lamb. “What this means to those who are planning on camping this holiday week is that Albeni Cove and Priest River beaches will be closed to swimming - wading is acceptable.”
Both Priest River and Albeni Cove's boat ramps are closed due to a lack of water at those sites. The closest recommended boat ramp that is open for use is Riley Creek. Launching your boat at Riley Creek and mooring your boat at Albeni Cove or Priest River is not recommended due to the high flows.
"Remember that there is a tremendous flow of water next to these beaches so please watch your children around the water," said Lamb.
The Corps is reducing outflow from Albeni Falls beginning today, and while reductions will continue, outflow is expected to remain above 60,000 cfs throughout the holiday week. Lake Pend Oreille is already at the low end of its summer operating range, and the river basin just got hit with two storm systems. Current precipitation for the month of June is 6.6 inches, more than 294 percent of the June average, which is 2.44 inches.
The Army Corps of Engineers operates Albeni Falls dam for flood risk reduction, hydropower and recreation purposes.
Pend Oreille flow and level information can be found on-line at:
Release no. 12-014