Water managers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are planning to operate Albeni Falls Dam to hold Lake Pend Oreille to within half a foot of a lake level of 2,061 feet above sea level by the end of September.
Idaho Fish and Game has requested a winter elevation of 2,051 feet for regionally supported and important Clark Fork restoration work; however, IDFG has shifted the date for being at that level later from Nov. 8 to Nov 15. This additional week will allow the Corps to keep Lake Pend Oreille higher later into September.
The need to be down to 2,051 feet by mid-November is the issue driving the end-of-September lake level this year.
Discussions are ongoing among the Corps, State of Idaho and the Bonneville Power Administration to address lake levels in future years.
The Army Corps plans to invite more participation this year in the annual August lake level meeting. Lake level meetings in August have always been open to the public, but the Corps will inform local officials, organizations and citizens to encourage greater participation in the process.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' primary consideration in operating Albeni Falls Dam is to minimize risk to human life, health, and safety, while meeting the dam’s multiple purposes and responsibilities. The Corps will closely monitor conditions and will adjust operations with the aim of meeting the State’s winter elevation target.
Release no. 14-030