Panel on lakes invites call-in - Pend Oreille's winter level on meeting agenda

Kevin Taylor
Spokesman-Review Staff writer


What sort of a superhero can duck into a phone booth and change the winter water level of Lake Pend Oreille?

Why, it could be you.

Anyone interested in attending Monday's meeting of a new state commission that deals with lake issues is asked to attend by telephone.

An announcement of Monday's meeting of the Pend Oreille Lake, Pend Oreille River, Priest Lake and Priest River Commission includes the line "Meeting location: Telephone Conference Call." Interested people are asked to call (719) 867-0370 and punch in the code 104309 to attend the meeting by speakerphone. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.

The Pend Oreille winter lake level is on the agenda, as is scheduling another meeting to discuss water quality issues.

The Army Corps of Engineers recently stole some thunder from the commission, setting the winter lake level at 2,051 feet above sea level several days before the commission was scheduled to meet and discuss the issue last week.

Lake Pend Oreille's winter level has been argued in federal court as part of a tug of war between power generation and leaving enough water to cover kokanee spawning beds.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge ruled last fall that the lake level should be kept at 2,055 feet for three straight years and 2,051 feet every fourth year. The fluctuations are part of an experiment being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Idaho Department Fish and Game to see how water levels affect spawning beds.

The lower level is preferred by the corps, which draws down the lake to generate hydroelectric power at the Albeni Falls Dam.


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