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 will hold their next quarterly meeting Friday September 23rd from 10 -1 at the Beardmore Bldg, Priest River, Idaho. See agenda. If you would like to view the minutes from past meetings please visit our “Meetings” page.
Pend Oreille Lake Levels: Lake Pend Oreille has reached summer pool which varies between 2062′ and 2062.5′ above sea level. It should stay at this level through late September. In 2014, 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.
Fall 2016 Update:
Outflow at Albeni Falls reduced to 7 kcfs today, September 5, at 800 PST.
The elevation at Lake Pend Oreille, as measured at the Hope Gage, will remain in the summer operating range of 2062-2062.5 ft until September 21st. The end of September target lake elevation is 2061 ft. These higher September elevations are to support the BNSF Railway bridge repair.
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:
Projections for future operations at Albeni Falls Dam can be found here:
Priest Lake Levels: The Priest Lake lake level sits at three feet on the gage and should remain there throughout the recreational season. You can access the current lake level here http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=12393000.
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. This situation brought about a number of questions about the Priest system. The Idaho legislature designated $300,000 to study three issues on Priest including the operation and structure of Outlet Dam; the impacts of raising the lake level in preparation for drought events; and the breakwater structure at the mouth of Thorofare. To read more in depth about these studies please link to the “Issues” page.