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 June 4, 2015 from 9 am until noon at the Dover City Hall. Please take a look at the agenda.
Pend Oreille Lake Levels: This winter Lake Pend Oreille has been above it’s winter operating range multiple times due to early snowmelt and high precipitation this year. The water is now rising and should reach full pool during the second half of June. The Army Corps held a public meeting about operations at Albeni Falls Dam recently in Priest River. The meeting focused on the operations of the dam over last winter and this spring. Speakers included representatives from the Corps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bonneville Power Administration and the Chairman of the Lakes Commission, Ford Elsaesser. If you would like to view the slides from the meeting click here.
The Governor sent out a press release last Friday stating the Army Corps and the State of Idaho have reached an agreement that will bring more certainty to the recreational season on Pend Oreille. The agreement also clarifies operations and rational behind these operations for the other seasons. To view the entire agreement please click here.
Help protect our swim areas from invasive flowering rush. Flowering rush is an invasive aquatic plant that can heavily infest bays and breed swimmer’s itch. This plant is infesting City Beach and Dog Beach. There is currently no treatment for this plant available in public areas except through hand removal. Please join us this year and help dig it up. The Dog Beach is being co-sponsored by the Long Bridge Swim and will be held on April 11 at 8 AM. The City Beach dig is co-sponsored by the City of Sandpoint and Cedar Hills Church and will be held on April 25 at 10 AM. We hope to see you there. Come ready to have some fun getting muddy!
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.
Priest Lake Fishery management is currently being evaluated. The main lake is dominated by lake trout which has damaged the native fishery. Lake trout are suppressed in the upper lake to help maintain a native fishery. Idaho Department of Fish and Game has decided that the lake trout suppression for the upper lake is not sustainable and is now trying to decide what to do in the next management plan. Fish and Game is currently doing a number of studies on the fish species in the lakes, as well as, on angler use on the lakes. A stakeholder group meets bi-monthly to learn about the fishery and discuss the future management of the lake. Please see the “Issues” page to learn more.