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Lake Coeur d’Alene annual drawdown starts today

WATERSPORTS — The annual fall drawdown of Lake Coeur d’Alene will begin today, Avista officials say.

The lake will be gradually lowered about a foot from full pool elevation of 2,128 feet by Sept. 30.

The drawdown will continue an additional 1.5 feet a month until reaching its winter level of of 2,122 feet.

The drawdown will increase flows in the Spokane River, giving anglers a boost by perking up the fishery, but dam operators do not plan to open the dam’s spill gates. 

The river above Post Falls Dam should remain open to boating until November, Avista said.

Nine Mile Reservoir drawdown starts Friday

WATERSPORTS — The water level of Nine Mile Reservoir will be lowered 3 to 6 feet starting Friday to accommodate work underway at Nine Mile Dam.

Avista Utilities is replacing original 1906 turbine generating Units 1 and 2, and associated equipment. The project requires the reservoir to be drawn down below normal levels until the end of the year.

The reservoir will be drawn down more sharply to about 12 feet during the middle of October for approximately one week, officials said. This drawdown will allow Avista to replace additional equipment.  Avista will take two days to draw the reservoir down in an effort to minimize erosion and other effects on aquatic resources. 

Avista plans to take advantage of the extended October drawdown to construct a Nine Mile Boat-Take-Out just upstream of the dam, and will increase efforts to remove invasive flowering rush plants along the shoreline.

Landowners should secure docks and plan recreation activities with the drawdowns in mind.

State, Avista join to stock trout in Lake Spokane

FISHING — About 155,000 catchable-size rainbow trout are being stocked into Lake Spokane in the first season of a 10-year agreement between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Avista Utilities.

Lake Spokane, sometimes called Long Lake, is the Spokane River reservoir west of Spokane, created by Avista’s Long Lake Dam.

While the reservoir is popular among anglers fishing for bass, crappie and perch, trout fishing will improve with the annual stocking of rainbows, each about 8 inches long and expected to grow quickly. 

The stocking already has begun with trout from the state’s Spokane Fish Hatchery and Trout Lodge, Inc. in Soap Lake. The fish are sterile so they cannot reproduce with native fish in the river system. They are marked with clipped adipose fins for ease of monitoring harvest through creel surveys that will begin in 2016.

WDFW district fish biologist Randy Osborne and Avista Environmental Specialist Tim Vore thank members of the Spokane Fly Fishers and Inland Empire Fly Fishing clubs for volunteering time to the trout stocking program.

“Avista has long been providing public fishing and boating opportunities,” said Vore, “but this is an excellent new opportunity to fish and enjoy Lake Spokane.”

Randy Osborne, the state’s district fish biologist, says anglers can expect the trout to be down in the cooler water of the reservoir this summer, and therefore more conducive to boat fishing.

  • Click here for details on boat launching facilities.

But this fall and next spring, when the stocked trout are bigger, casting near the surface off of the docks or public shorelines will also be productive.

Lake Spokane water levels to drop tonight

BOATING — Avista Utilities will start lowering the water level of Lake Spokane (Long Lake Reservoir) today by an additional one and one-half feet to facilitate work downstream of the company’s Long Lake Dam, the company has just announced.

By Thursday morning, May 1, the water level will be at an elevation of 1533.75 feet. Avista expects the lake level to return to the higher elevation of about 1535.2 feet by Thursday evening.

Property owners and lake-users need to tend or remove boats from the water and secure docks and boathouses to the lower-water conditions. Floating and removable docks are less susceptible to damage from shifting or changing water levels.

 Info: Washington call (509) 495-8043.

Cda power outages

COEUR d'ALENE - More than 2,000 people in the downtown Coeur d'Alene area experienced power outages for a bit more than an hour Saturday afternoon when windy conditions caused trees to blow into power lines.

Avista Utilities spokesperson Laurine Jue said an interrupted “feeder,” a major electrical distribution line, was the source of the high volume of outages.

“An entire feeder was affected,” she said. “When a feeder goes out, it certainly affects a significant number of customers.”

Climatologist Cliff Harris recorded a wind gust of 47 mph at 10:38 a.m. Saturday.Read more. Devin Heilman, Cda Press

Anyone affected by Saturdays power outages?

Lake Spokane drawdown to begin Monday

RESERVOIRS — The annual drawdown of Lake Spokane, the Spokane River reservoir also known as Long Lake, is set to begin on Monday (Jan. 6), Avista Utilities announced today in a media release.

In 2013, the drawdown started on Jan. 23.

Once the drawdown begins, operators expect to lower the reservoir up to one foot a day for two or three weeks until it reaches its winter elevation of 13-14 feet below maximum summer elevation of 1,536 feet.

Under the right weather conditions, which include sustained periods of single-digit temperatures and little or no snow on the exposed lakebed, the drawdown is expected to help control Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds found in Lake Spokane. The drawdown also allows property owners to complete state and locally permitted repair and construction projects along the lake shoreline.

The lower winter elevation will be maintained until runoff conditions begin. Water levels can change with weather conditions in the upper Spokane River drainage.

For updates on changes at Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Coeur d’ Alene Lake, check the Avista website or call: Washington (509) 495-8043; Idaho, call (208) 769-1357.

Lake Coeur d’Alene fall drawdown begins today

LAKES — The slow annual fall drawdown of Lake Coeur d’Alene is beginning today.

The lake level will be gradually lowered through Post Falls Dam about a foot by the end of September, giving property owners time to secure boats and docks for the winter season, Avista officials said today in a media release.

After September, the drawdown rate will increase to about 1.5 feet a month until reaching the winter elevation of 2,122 feet. The summer level of the lake behind Post Falls Dam is about 2,128 feet.

The drawdown will increase flows in the Spokane River, giving anglers a boost by perking up the fishery, but dam operators do not plan to open the dam’s spill gates. 

The river above Post Falls Dam should remain open to boating until November, Avista said.

Breaking Ground at Huntington Park

Flanked by earthmovers and pickups, with the Riverfront Park gondolas gliding overhead, Scott Morris talked fondly Tuesday of the year 1889, city parks, Spokane and the company he runs, Avista.

“We, in a sense, grew up together,” Morris said to a gathering of about 50 people from the city and Avista. The energy company was founded almost 125 years ago, and Manito and Riverfront parks were created, in part, by cooperation between his company and the city.

And now there’s another partnership between the city and energy company, and it will end with more outdoor public space.

As Morris and Spokane Mayor David Condon climbed into two bulldozers and moved some dirt around, a new Huntington Park moved that much closer to realization. The four-acre park runs along the lower Spokane Falls on the south side of the river. Huntington and Riverfront parks will be connected by a plaza running between City Hall and the old Washington Water Power building.

Idaho/WA combat metal thieves

Avista linemen Mitch Colvin, left, and Bill Shaffer worked with a crew to install a replacement pole in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday. Included in all replacement poles is a metal guard to deter the theft of copper wiring.

BOISE – Metal thieves who steal from electrical substations and other utility installations in Idaho now face stiffer penalties, particularly if their pilfering interrupts service.

And if the thieves are injured in the act, utilities now enjoy immunity from legal liability.

It’s part of an overall crackdown on metal theft that also includes new requirements that scrap dealers photograph those who sell them metal and gather other information that authorities could later use to identify them, if necessary.

Have you ever been the victim of any kind of theft? What was taken and from where?

Rain forces closure of Post Falls boating access

BOATING —  Recent heavy rain in the region doubled the flows in the Spokane River within a 24 hour period and prompted Avista to open one of the spill gates at the Post Falls Dam.

The City of Post Falls boat launch and swim beach at Q’emiln Park was closed today. For public safety reasons, whenever any of the spill gates at the Post Falls Dam are open, river recreation is prohibited in the area between the Spokane Street Bridge and the Post Falls Dam.

With more rain in the forecast over the next several days, the boat launch is expected to be closed through the weekend. 

Just last week, the Post Falls Dam spill gates were all closed and the Q’emiln Park boat launch was opened on June 12. This typically occurs sometime between Memorial Day and the July 4 holiday, and on average about June 22. But this year’s below-normal spring precipitation and snow pack resulted in below normal river inflows into Coeur d’Alene Lake allowed Avista to close all the Post Falls Dam spill gates earlier than average. However, recent heavy rains have quickly changed the water levels.

For current information on anticipated elevation changes on Coeur d’ Alene Lake, Lake Spokane and the Spokane River, call Avista’s 24-hour telephone information line. In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357; in Washington, call (509) 495-8043 or check the Avista Utilities website.

Boating facilities open early at Post Falls

BOATING – Below normal spring runoff has allowed Avista to stabilize Lake Coeur d’Alene at summer levels and expand boating opportunities about a week earlier than normal.

The Spokane River was opened Wednesday to recreation between the Spokane Street Bridge and the boater safety cables upstream of the Post Falls Dam.

The Post Falls boat launch and swim beach at Q’emiln Park also has opened.

 You can also check weather and water flow information on the Avista Utilities website.

Thursday GSI BizStreet morning discussion features Avista CEO Morris

Scott Morris

 

Avista CEO Scott Morris comes downtown this week, taking part in the Thursday morning GSI-sponsored BizStreet morning session.

The PR material says: “Learn what Avista is doing to serve its customers, maintain an engaged workforce, be strong community partners and attract investors.”

The schedule: coffee and chat: 7:45 a.m.-8 a.m.; program from 8 to 9 a.m.

Location: 801 W Riverside, Suite 100; $25 for GSI members, $50 for others.

Register

Obama nominates REI’s CEO for Secretary of Interior

PUBLIC LANDS — Sally Jewell, Recreational Equipment Inc. Chief Executive Sally Jewell is being nominated by President Obama to lead the Interior Department in his second term.

Jewell, 56, has served as the Washington-state-based outdoor retailer's CEO since 2005. She started her career as a petroleum engineer working in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Colorado for Mobil Oil Corp. She then moved to the banking industry, before joining the REI board in 1996 and becoming chief operations officer four years later.

She has been credited with expanding the Washington state-based retailer's Internet operations and contributing company resources to environmental stewardship.

Jewell was on the Avista Corp. board of directors from May 1997 through May 2003.

If confirmed by the Senate, she will replace current Secretary Ken Salazar, who plans to step down to return to Colorado.

REACTION

-Tim Wigley, president, Western Energy Alliance, which represents the oil and natural gas industry in the West.

Her experience as a petroleum engineer and business leader will bring a unique perspective to an office that is key to our nation's energy portfolio.

-Chris Wood, president and CEO, Trout Unlimited

Sally Jewell would make a great Secretary of Interior. Her background suggests that she would bring needed balance to energy development on public lands. Her stewardship of REI demonstrates that she understands the interests of anglers and hunters and would serve as an aggressive advocate within the White House for protecting fish and game habitat and hunting and angling opportunity. She is a practical, no-nonsense leader who would bring a sense of purpose to implementing the oil and gas reforms that have remained largely on the shelf. She is a strong pick.

-Sen. Patty Murray:

President Obama has chosen an accomplished leader as the next Secretary of Interior. I have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Sally Jewell, who has proven to be an effective CEO in the business community, and will bring that skill set to the Cabinet. She understands the tremendous asset that our public lands are, particularly to the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation based economy. Additionally, American families could have no greater advocate for their continued use, enjoyment and protection of our National Parks and natural treasures. I look forward to working with Sally and President Obama as they shape and implement policies at the Department of Interior.

 -Jim Lyon, National Wildlife Federation senior vice president for conservation programs:

        Sally Jewell is a business leader who knows that conserving America’s natural resources is fundamentally linked to a healthy and strong economy. Outdoor recreation contributes $730 billion to America’s economy and delivers $49 billion in tax revenue annually, but faces a critical challenge as Washington considers even more cuts to conservation programs on top of steep cuts already made. Hunters, anglers, hikers, kayakers, bird watchers and all who value and cherish the outdoors and wildlife will benefit from her first hand understanding of Americans’ passion for protecting our natural treasures.

-Mike Nussman, American Sportfishing Association president and CEO:

From an industry perspective, Sally Jewell understands the important role that our public waters and lands have in supporting the nation’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy. Given its responsibility for managing approximately one-fifth of the nation’s lands and waters, the Department of the Interior has a significant role in providing recreational fishing opportunities and conserving the nation’s fisheries resources.

Avista begins drawdown of Lake Spokane

RIVERS – The annual drawdown of Lake Spokane, the Spokane River reservoir also known as Long Lake, has begun, Avista Utilities announced today in a media release.

Starting today, operators expect to lower the reservoir up to one foot a day for two or three weeks until it reaches its winter elevation of 13-14 feet below maximum summer elevation of 1,536 feet.

Under the right weather conditions, which include sustained periods of single-digit temperatures and little or no snow on the exposed lakebed, the drawdown is expected to help control Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds found in Lake Spokane. The drawdown also allows property owners to complete state and locally permitted repair and construction projects along the lake shoreline.

The lower winter elevation will be maintained until runoff conditions begin. Water levels can change with weather conditions in the upper Spokane River drainage.

For updates on changes at Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Coeur d’ Alene Lake, check the Avista website or call: Washington (509) 495-8043; Idaho, call (208) 769-1357.

Jon Eliassen recalls the contributions to WWP board by the late Gen. Schwarzkopf

Jon Eliassen, the current CEO of Red Lion Hotel Corp., sent us this afternoon his impressions of H. Norman Schwarzkopf's contributions on the Washington Water Power board, from 1993 to 1997.

To counter any who might have thought an Army general was just window dressing on the board, Eliassen, who a company VP of finance at the time, recalls a man fully focused on the utility's business.

Eliassen's offered comment is:

“The General was a thoughtful, articulate and engaged board member, and he was always well prepared and always willing to offer comments and questions—Great military leaders translate well into very capable leaders in many business situations, and Norm was no exception.   It was a pleasure to work with him for those four years he sat on our boards of WWP and of Pentzer.”

Clark: Avista Keeps Wanting More

The Spokesman-Review’s most oft-repeated headline reappeared the other day on our Business page. “Avista seeks hike in rates.” This time it’s our North Idaho friends who are getting the treatment. But it doesn’t matter where you live in this great Ingrown Empire. Avista love is spread around pretty much equally. In fact, in the last 100 or so years, a small forest has been chopped down just to make the newsprint needed to carry this headline and variations like it, including … “Soaring Avista rates beat Rover to Mars.” And … “Avista CEO salary hits new record; any guesses who’s gonna pay?” No research has been done to calculate how many gallons of ink have gone into printing these rate hike headlines/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Are you as tired of Avista rate hikes and rate-hike requests as columnist Clark?

Is Avista Asking For Too Much?

Avista Corp. is asking too much of its customers in its latest push to raise rates 6.3 percent for electricity and 6.9 percent for natural gas, the Washington Attorney General’s Office and the state Utilities and Transportation Commission’s staff said Wednesday. The Spokane-based utility proposes the higher rates to raise an additional $40.9 million from electric customers and another $10.1 million from natural gas customers in Eastern Washington. Avista’s request is “an unjustified burden on customers” so soon after the utility raised rates at the start of this year and after a decade of nearly annual rate increases, said Senior Assistant Attorney General Simon ffitch. “Unfortunately it’s a revolving door from the consumer perspective,” ffitch said Wednesday. “I think customers are worn out, they’re frustrated, they’ve given and they’ve given and they’ve given again, and they’re tapped out in terms of ability to pay these rate increases, which just keep on coming”/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (Wikipedia photo of Avista symbol)

Question: Do you think of “greedy” when you think of Avista?

Spokane River access opens at Post Falls

BOATING — The City of Post Falls boat launch and swim beach at Q’emiln Park has opened to the public Friday. 

Avista officials said river flows had dropped sufficiently to allow all of the spill gates at the Post Falls hydroelectric facility to be closed last week. Typically this occurs sometime between Memorial Day and the July 4 holiday, and on average about June 22. The spring runoff season extended well into July this year because of a larger than average snowpack and rainfall in June that amounted to more than twice the normal amounts.

For current information on anticipated elevation changes on Coeur d’ Alene Lake, Lake Spokane, and the Spokane River, call Avista’s 24-hour telephone information line.

  • In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357;
  • In Washington, call (509) 495-8043.

Sandpoint ospreys hatch 1st chick under web cam

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Ospreys nesting above War Memorial Field in Sandpoint hatched their first chick Monday, and a web cam is giving viewers an up-close and personal view as the adults feed the bird.

The emergence of another chick could happen any day — or hour.

The first chick to hatch was being fed this morning around 9 a.m. The camera is positioned perfectly to see the action as though you were in the nest.

With a web cam fixed above the nest platform, the public was able to watch the ospreys arrive on April 10 to begin building their nest and go through courtship.

In late April, the camera caught skirmishes between the pair that adopted this nest and a second osprey pair that was attempting to hijack the nest. (The field on Lake Pend Oreille has two osprey nests.)

The Sandpoint Osprey Cam is a collaboration of the City of Sandpoint and Sandpoint Online with corporate support by Avista and Northland Communications. Consulting biologist is Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest.  Moving the nest and puting up the web cam was no easy task. Read about the project.

The Sandpoint Online web page includes a chat feature for osprey watchers to trade observations, plus  Fink is providing an interpretive blog.

The number of daily page views grew into the thousands on May 7, when the female osprey laid the pair's first egg at 12:48 p.m.  (above left). That egg hatched on June 18.  The second should hatch any hour or day.

The parents will be feeding fish to the birds every few hours for weeks.  Enjoy the show.

Meantime, check out this incredible osprey fishing video and brief yourself with Fink's answers to osprey FAQ»

Avista ‘disappointed,’ S-R stands by story

Avista Corp. issued a statement today saying it was “disappointed” in my article in today's Spokesman-Review on how the utility is spending thousands to target two North Idaho GOP lawmakers for defeat in Tuesday's primary, suggesting the article was misleading because it lacked greater examination of the entire scope of the utility’s political activities, including its activities in the state of Washington. The statement makes no claim that the article was inaccurate; you can read the full statement here.

Meanwhile, S-R City Editor Addy Hatch sent out a tweet noting that a link to Avista's statement has been posted with the story, and adding, “As far as setting the record straight, we believe the story is factual and fair and we stand by it.” And among the 25 comments (so far) on the online version of the story on the S-R website was this one, posted late this afternoon by commenter PerryE:

“I’m George Eskridge’s son, and a lobbyist myself. I agree with Avista that the article wasn’t quite clear enough on the fact that Avista warned my father several months ago, during Idaho’s legislative session, that if he didn’t vote Avista’s way that Avista would be sure that Rep. Eskridge wouldn’t be re-elected.

Growing up, during 'family summer trips' visiting the various Bonneville customers my father so diligently served, I watched my father advocate for cheaper power for utilities and their customers. Now he’s working very hard to ensure that the families in his legislative district have access to cheaper power to keep the lights and heat on as they also work to stay in their homes and put food on their tables.

Now, as Avista has been caught trying to make good on Colwell’s threats, at least Avista could have the decency to owe up to Avista’s political efforts. Their customers, and my dad’s constituents, deserve at least that much!”
  

Avista Targets Keough, Eskridge

Avista Corp. is spending thousands of dollars trying to unseat two longtime North Idaho legislators, throwing its support behind tea party-backed challengers in next week’s Republican primary. Being targeted is state Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, who supported unsuccessful efforts to establish a consumer advocate to review utility rate requests, and state Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, who advocates greater diversity in Idaho’s energy supply. Avista opposed both proposals. Campaign finance reports filed with the Idaho Secretary of State show Avista has given each incumbent’s challenger $1,000 and has given $15,000 to three political action committees that are funneling money back to the challengers, Danielle Ahrens and Pam Stout. The PACS are also sponsoring independent mailers and advertisements critical of Keough and Eskridge/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think Avista should be in the business of trying to defeat state Sen. Shawn Keough and state Rep. George Eskridge in favor of Tea Party candidates?

Slice answer

“I think the sound of the river is 'money money' for Avista,” wrote Rich Clift. “Like they really need it.”

Sandpoint ospreys starting family under web cam

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Things have been looking up for a pair of ospreys since groups in Sandpoint organized to relocate a nest that had to be moved at Sandpoint’s War Memorial Field during renovations.

With a web cam fixed above the nest platform, the public has been able to watch the ospreys arrive on April 10 to begin build their next (see photos above) and go through courtship.

In late April, the camera caught skirmishes between the pair that adopted this nest and a second osprey pair that was attempting to hijack the nest. (The field on Lake Pend Oreille has two osprey nests.)

The Sandpoint Osprey Cam is a collaboration of the City of Sandpoint and Sandpoint Online with corporate support by Avista and Northland Communications. Consulting biologist is Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest.  Moving the nest and puting up the web cam was no easy task. Read about the project.

The Sandpoint Online web page includes a chat feature for osprey watchers to trade observations, plus  Fink is providing an interpretive blog. The number of daily page views is in the thousands and growing especially this week:

Monday at 12:48 p.m. the female laid their first egg (above left).

Soon we'll all be able to watch the hatching and raising of a brood.

Meantime, check out this incredible osprey fishing video and brief yourself with Fink's answers to osprey FAQ»

Avista CEO Morris Gets $250K More

Avista Corp. CEO Scott Morris’ total compensation increased by $250,000 last year, to $3.5 million, due in large part to the company’s improved financial performance, Avista said in a detailed report to Washington state regulators. Of the $9.5 million paid to all company officers, about 42 percent came from customers’ rate payments in its three-state service area, Avista said in the report. That last figure was required by order of the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission. Washington customers, which represent Avista’s largest service territory, pay $2.4 million of the company officers’ $9.5 million in compensation through their rates. Idaho customers pay $1.2 million and Oregon customers pay about $560,000/SR. More here. (SR file photo of Scott Morris)

Thoughts?

Copper Wire Thief Lucky Not Killed

The thief or thieves who stole 25 feet of copper wire from a fenced, locked substation on Huetter Road Monday morning were lucky they weren't allocated, according to a Coeur d'Alene police report. The thief may have been spooked when a ground wire burnt through as a result of the short-circuiting caused by the missing wire, according to Avista crews. Avista crew members speculate the theft occurred between 1 and 2 a.m. because the system became unstable at that time. The theft knocked out power to about 5600 Avista customer as well as to traffic lights on Highway 95, Northwest/Ramsey, and Atlas Road. Investigating officer found copper wire cut away in at least eight areas, some cleanly and some ragged, indicating the thief didn't have proper equipment. Avista has yet to make a damage estimate but repair workers speculated replacement costs in the thousands of dollars. The substation was enclosed by high, chain-link fence, topped by barbed-wire strands. Complete KCSD report here.

Crooks Turned Out Lights To 6000

Item: Theft causes power outage: Avista blames stolen copper, equipment failure/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Roughly 6,000 were without power Monday morning across Kootenai County and part of Spokane, when theft at an Avista Utilities substation led to two stations being off line. Avista crews discovered early Monday that copper wiring had been clipped from equipment in a dozen places at the substation at Prairie Avenue and Huetter Road, which resulted in power operating at lower levels. The utility decided to take the station off line and transfer customers to the Appleway substation, where other pieces of equipment failed in the process.

Question: Dan Kolbet of Avista described this theft as an act of brazen stupidity because it endangered the lives of the crooks, as well as Avista customers. Do you agree/disagree?

Avista Moves Chilco-Athol Gas Line

An Avista construction worker is helping move six miles of natural gas pipeline as part of the Highway 95 reconstruction from Chilco to Athol. Dan Kolbet shot this photo about a half mile south of Silverwood. You can see a slide show of the project by clicking on the story link below.
 
If you’ve traveled along Highway 95 in North Idaho by Silverwood recently, you may have seen Avista natural gas crews working alongside the busy highway. We wanted to let you know what they are up to. Our crews are relocating and increasing capacity for six miles of natural gas pipeline to accommodate a newly constructed highway. The Idaho Department of Transportation is reconstructing a portion of Highway 95 from approximately Chilco to Athol.  The highway will expand from two to four lanes, which is great for safety and traffic, but means Avista’s existing 3-inch natural gas pipeline needs to move to a new right-of-way on the east side of the road. Avista is expanding the capacity of the pipeline from 3 to 6 inches too/Dan Kolbet, Avista news release. More here.
 
Question: How often do you travel the Chilco-to-Athol stretch of Highway 95? Any near accidents?

Lake Spokane winter drawdown starts Friday

RESERVOIRS — Avista Utilities will start to draw down the water level at Lake Spokane (Long Lake Reservoir) on Friday (Dec. 23).Operators expect to lower the reservoir up to a foot a day for two or three weeks until it reaches its winter elevation of 13 to 14 feet below maximum summer elevation of 1,536 feet.

Under the right weather conditions, which include sustained periods of single-digit temperatures and little or no snow on the exposed lakebed, the drawdown is expected to help control Eurasian watermilfoil and other invasive aquatic weeds found in Lake Spokane. The drawdown also allows shoreline homeowners the opportunity to complete state and locally permitted repair and construction projects along the lake shoreline.

Property owners and lake-users can should remove boats from the water and securing docks and boathouses to accommodate shifting ice and low-water conditions.

The lower winter elevation will be maintained as long as river flows allow. However, during the drawdown period water levels are subject to change due to a variety of factors, such as weather (rain on snow events in the upper drainages) or maintenance at the Long Lake Dam.

For updates, see Avista's website or check the 24-hour telephone info for Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Coeur d’ Alene Lake. In Washington call (509) 495-8043; in Idaho call (208) 769-1357.

Post Falls boat ramp closing for season on Monday

BOATING — The Q’emiln Park boat launching ramp on the Spokane River in Post Falls will be closed for the season beginning Monday (Nov. 14).

The ramp, situated upstream from Avista’s Post Falls Hydroelectric Development, is closed each year in mid-November because of weather conditions and dropping water levels.

Generally, the ramp re-opens in the late spring or early summer, depending on the amount of inflows into Coeur d’Alene Lake.

Avista’s annual drawdown of Lake Coeur d’Alene will cause Spokane River levels above the dam to drop to about 3 feet below the summer full-pool elevation of 2,128 feet on Nov.14. Water levels may drop by as much as 5 additional feet by the end of January.

Updates: Avista has a 24-hour telephone information line that provides notification of anticipated elevation changes on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Lake Spokane and the Spokane River.

  • In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357.
  • In Washington call (509) 495-8043.