Lake Pend Oreille minimum winter lake level for 2013-2014 will be at 2,051 feet above mean sea level, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Water Management Section.
The lake is at 2,061.1 feet as of midnight Sept. 22, and the Corps is continuing to draft with goals of 2,060 feet by the end of the month, 2,057 feet by Oct. 15 and 2,054 feet by Oct. 31. The lake is expected to reach the 2,051 foot level during the first week of November.
The Corps operates Albeni Falls Dam, which regulates the level of Lake Pend Oreille. The minimum winter lake level was determined after an annual interagency lake level meeting held Sept. 19.
Inflows are typically at their lowest levels in September and early October, but later fall rains and other considerations may require some outflow adjustments to reach the 2,051 foot lake level. Once reached, the Corps expects to hold the lake between 2,051.0 – 2,051.5 feet through the end of kokanee spawning or Dec. 31, whichever comes first.
Lake Pend Oreille’s winter level is managed by the Corps after coordination with various federal, state, local and tribal officials. Since 1996 winter pool levels were set to benefit reproduction of kokanee salmon, a food source for threatened bull trout. This year’s decision is not directed toward kokanee, however, as the species’ spawning ecology is being reexamined by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The decision is in keeping with flood risk management needs and supports Flexible Winter Power Operations.
The Corps operates Albeni Falls Dam as a multiple-purpose project, providing flood risk management, power generation, fish and wildlife conservation, navigation and recreation.