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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lake CdA annual fall drawdown gets head start in 2015 drought year

Sunset on Lake Coeur d'Alene. (Linda Lantzy / Idaho Scenic Images)
Sunset on Lake Coeur d'Alene. (Linda Lantzy / Idaho Scenic Images)

WATERSPORTS -- The annual drawdown of Lake Coeur d'Alene won't be necessary this year. The 2015 drought already took care of that task.

Avista usually begins the fall drawdown of Coeur d’Alene Lake starting the Tuesday after Labor Day. 

The goal is to have the lake about a foot down from the summer elevation of 2128 feet above sea level by the end of September. 

This year the lake is already approximately 13 inches below full pool, Avista officials said today.

"Because of the low snowpack and lack of rain this year, the lake has been gradually lowering over the summer even though Post Falls discharge has been maintained at minimum volumes," they said in a media release.

Avista does not plan to increase discharge at Post Falls until inflows into the lake increase. After the end of September, Avista will draw the lake down at the normal rate, approximately 1½ feet per month, until the lake reaches its winter level. At that time, lake levels are determined by natural inflows.

Property owners and boaters should take measures to secure docks and boats for the winter season earlier than normal.

As part of Avista’s FERC license to operate its Spokane River Hydroelectric Project, which includes Post Falls Dam, Avista is required to maintain the level of Coeur d’Alene Lake at or near the summer full-pool elevation of 2,128 feet from as early as practical in the spring until the Tuesday after Labor Day, while keeping a minimum discharge of  at Post Falls Dam  With the record-setting dry summer and low snow pack, Coeur d’Alene Lake elevation as of September 8 is 2126.92, which is 1 foot and 1 inch below  normal maximum summer level. 

Avista will continue with the required minimum discharge at Post Falls which may continue to slowly decrease the level of Coeur d’ Alene Lake. The river users between Coeur d’ Alene Lake and Post Falls Dam should be aware that water levels can fluctuate at any time depending upon weather and dam operations.

See Avista waterflow information about level changes at Lake Spokane, the Spokane River and Lake Coeur d'Alene online or call for the recorded message, in Washington (509) 495-8043 or in Idaho at (208) 769-1357.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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