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LPO expected to reach summer pool today

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Hagadone News Network | June 19, 2024 1:00 AM

Lake Pend Oreille is expected to reach normal summer pool levels today, according to an update from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the lake was at 2,061.59 feet as measured at the Hope measuring station. The anticipated summer pool this year is between 2,061.75 feet and 2,062.25 feet, “in order to not exceed historic high water elevations at the dam.”

The dam is still operating with its spare gate in place of the gate that was taken out when defects were found in the steel. Because of this, USACE is operating with caution and has a spill gate restriction in place in an attempt to avoid any further incidents.

“One spillway gate remains fully open and flow adjustments are being made through the powerhouse,” said USACE hydrology staff member David Varner.

Albeni Falls outflow was expected to decrease from 33,000 cubic feet per second to 31,000 cubic feet per second at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

While staff anticipated reaching summer pool today, Varner said things could still change depending on the weather and the recent heavy rains the region has experienced.

“Exact date is subject to adjustment depending on changing weather and hydrologic conditions throughout the basin,” he said.

Additionally, USACE is looking for public input regarding revisions to the Albeni Falls Dam Project master plan. Two meetings have been scheduled for Bonner County residents to give feedback or suggestions.

The first meeting will be held Monday, June 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Priest River Events Center. The second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ponderay Events Center.

“It’s extremely important to get input from the community on the future use of public land that USACE administers around Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River,” said Taylor Johnson, chief of natural resources at Albeni Falls Dam. “The master plan addresses land use topics such as resource objectives and future development that require input so we can shape how the community wants their public lands administered.”

However, the plan does not address fish passage, lake level management, dam operations or the current spillway gate restrictions. The main focus of the plan is to guide future development and maintenance of recreation and wildlife management areas on USACE lands.

Questions or comments on lake levels or dam operations will not be addressed at these events.