The Lake Pend Oreille, Pend Oreille River, Priest Lake and Priest River Commission, also known as the “Lakes Commission,” is based in Sandpoint, Idaho. To learn more about the make up and/or mission of the Commission, please visit the “About” page.
The Lakes Commission’s next quarterly meeting will be on December 15, 2015 at Dover City Hall. The agenda will be available soon.
Pend Oreille Lake Levels: The level of Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River in Idaho is now dropping. The lake will drop about two feet a week until the first half of November when it will be held around 2051′ above sea level through until January. Through the winter the lake level may fluctuate between 2051′ and 2056′ to aid power production.
Short term modeling forecasts are provided by the Northwest River Forecast Center. Their projections for Albeni Falls Dam inflow, outflow and the Lake Pend Oreille at the Hope gage can be found here:
Last year the Army Corps and the State of Idaho reached an agreement that will bring more certainty to the recreational season on Pend Oreille. Typically the lake will stay at full pool through the third weekend in September or September 18, whichever is later. The pool can then be drawn down one foot by the fourth weekend or the 25th of September. The agreement also clarifies operations and rational behind these operations for the other seasons. To view the entire agreement please click here.
Priest Lake Levels
Priest Lake water will begin to drop after the first week in October. The levels should have finished dropping three feet by the first of November to ensure safe spawning for kokanee on the lake.
The summer of 2015 brought record high heat, high evaporation, low snowpack and low rainfall. This led to difficulties in holding the lake level at full pool while allowing water to flow into the Priest River. Through constant monitoring a small outflow of about 42 cfs was retained into the river even at the peak of the heat while maintaining full pool on the lake. Hopefully this situation will not occur in the future, but it did bring to light many of the decisions that will need to be made in the future about the operation of Outlet Dam.
Save the Priest Lake Thorofare! The Thorofare is a three mile river that connects the Priest Lake with Upper Priest Lake. For a hundred years the Thorofare has been kept open to motorized traffic by a quarter mile long breakwater that keeps the waterway from filling in with sediment and becoming non-navigable. The breakwater has been falling apart for some time and recently has allowed a lot of sediment to come in. Navigating the Thorofare is becoming more difficult and in time it will become impassable to motorized vessels. Restoring access and repairing the breakwater will require significant funds and much planning, but the efforts are underway. If you would like to learn more about the project or provide financial to support, please visit www.priestlakethorofare.com.