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Eye On Boise

Lawmaker: BPA, Corps drop plan to fluctuate Pend Oreille lake level this winter

An Idaho state lawmaker says the U.S. Army  Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration have decided against a plan to fluctuate Lake Pend Oreille's level by five feet this winter, a move that would generate more power but threatened to erode shorelines, shift docks and damage habitat for waterfowl.

Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, said he and other North Idaho lawmakers expressed concerns about the move, as did Idaho's congressional delegation and Gov. Butch Otter. "They've recognized those concerns," Eskridge said.  "I recognize the value of this operation in terms of power, but we have to be sure that the value is not at the expense of other concerns. We need to be sure that we evaluate those and that we can find that we're doing no harm or that we can mitigate the damages in a way that's appropriate before we implement it." Eskridge said the lake level fluctuation plan likely will be reconsidered next fall, after more research and public input. "That's a good thing," he said. "If they do this right, it'll give the public a better understanding of the pros and cons of this, and maybe even a better acceptance when we've learned more about it."

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.