The Libby Dam.

The Libby Dam.

Summer water levels will be lower at Koocanusa

Lake water levels to be 15-20 feet below full by the end of August, based on forecasts.

The water levels out at Lake Koocanusa are expected to be lower over the course of the summer, but there shouldn’t be too much of an impact for recreational users, according to officials from BC Hydro and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The conditions have been blamed on an average snowpack and precipitation that was more rain that snow.

“There’s pretty good snowpack—and when I say pretty good—I’m talking 80-90 per cent of average in the upper part of the Kootenay Basin, but once you get down into Cranbrook and into the States, there’s virtually no snow,” said Joel Fenolio, the Upper Columbia Senior Water Manager with the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers.

“….It was a wet winter, it was about 115 per cent of average as far as precipitation but it all basically ran off and into Libby.”

Prior to the rain over the last few days, Fenolio noted that the water level forecast have been dropping and that the reservoir will likely be roughly 15 to 20 feet from full in August. At full flow, the lake level is at elevation 2,459 feet.

According to Fenolio, this year has been the driest year since 2009-2010, in terms of maximum elevations at the Libby Dam.

“In the last four years, we’ve been pretty  wet and we were able to refill Libby above 2,450, so it seems to appease a lot of the recreational enthusiasts normally,” he said.

In terms of water supply across the region, it’s looking pretty average, according to Darren Sherbot, a manager of operations planning with BC Hydro.

“The story starts evolving once you get south of the border, unless you’re on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland where it’s much below normal,” Sherbot said. “Here it’s average.”

Most of the precipitation manifested into rain rather than snow, he added.

“In terms of the weather, it was above average all across the East Kootenay, but it manifested in rain rather than snow so the reservoirs across the East Kootenay system tend to be primed in advance of the melting snow,” Sherbot continued.

“…Levels across Kootenay Lake will probably be peaking at 1,748 or less, so no issues there and we’ll probably see typical levels across the summer or slightly lower, depending on what our flows are.”

In terms of the water flows on sturgeon recovery in the Kootenay River, there isn’t going to be enough water supply to do two peak flows to help the spawning fish move further upstream.

Jason Flory a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who is working on white sturgeon recovery efforts, noted that a double peak—which they’ve done for the past two years—helps get the fish upstream, which helps with spawning.

The population of hatchery-raised sturgeon—with 15,000-30,000 released into the river system at under two years old—seem to be thriving, but the fish are having trouble reproducing in the wild.

“They still spawn but they’re not producing any juveniles,” Flory said. “They’re spawning in an area that’s covered in sand and silt. So the eggs get fertilized, they drop down there, get buried and they die.

“So half the approach is to put rocks there so they don’t get covered, then the other half of the approach is for them to migrate upstream to Bonner’s Ferry where there’s no sand and silt, it’s all rocky at the bottom.”

 

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read