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Posted: Nov 19, 2009  20:33

Water Releases From Libby Dam Will Increase For Annual End Of December Draft


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is increasing water releases from Libby Dam this fall as the Corps begins lowering the lake for flood risk management.

Lake Koocanusa is being operated to be at or below a target elevation of 2,436 feet above sea level by the end of November while optimizing releases for power production. This operation is consistent with the ramping rates consulted on in the 2006 USFWS Biological Opinion.

River users should note that the river conditions can change rapidly and should adjust river use plans accordingly. The project may increase flows as much as 10,000 cubic feet per second per day and decrease flows as much as 5,000 cfs per day. The water level in the river below Libby Dam varies with the discharge rate. Local tributary inflow contributes a minimum amount to the Kootenai River flow volume in the late fall and winter.

The protection of human life, health, and safety of those downstream of the project is the Corps' highest priority.
The target elevation for end of December will be between 2,411 feet and 2,426.7 feet depending on the December water supply forecast. Lake Koocanusa elevation as of Nov. 18 is 2,439 feet.

Libby Dam is part of the Federal Columbia River Power System and serves multiple purposes for the region, including flood risk management, hydro-power generation, recreation, and fish and wildlife. Power generated at Libby is marketed by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).

For more information on flows, Koocanusa Lake and Kootenai River levels, call the Libby Dam automated recording at 406-293-3421.


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