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River drawdown bares Metaline Falls for first time in 27 years

Sun., Sept. 12, 2010

A rare Pend Oreille River drawdown behind Boundary Dam reached its low point Saturday, exposing Metaline Falls for the first time in 27 years.

A dam maintenance project required the drawdown of more than 30 feet to elevation 1,959 feet, said dam operators for Seattle City Light.

The falls were a significant deterrent to early navigation in the region.

Completion of Boundary Dam in 1967 changed the nature of the canyon.

At full pool, 1,990 feet, Boundary Dam Reservoir’s influence extends upstream about 18 miles, past the town of Metaline, to Box Canyon Dam.

Pool levels were tentatively scheduled to be brought up again today and back up to near full pool on Monday.

Then the levels will fluctuate to as low as 1,970 feet for several days, said Lonnie Johnson, Boundary Dam supervisor. He noted that the schedule hinges on how smoothly the work proceeds.

Boundary Dam campground remains closed during the dam maintenance.

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