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Out-of-balance system putting Priest River at risk

| September 5, 2019 1:00 AM

The current level of outflow from Priest Lake is far below what the Idaho Department of Water Resources stated would be the minimum of 60 cfs. The discharge has been drastically reduced, while the elevation of the lake has been well above the mandated 3.0 feet. It is currently 3.10 and rising at the Priest Lake USGS gage. The discharge is 32.6 cfs at the USGS outflow gage, and dropping.

Who is responsible for monitoring and managing this situation? Idaho Department of Water Resources.

It is a system that is completely out of balance. The Priest River is a valuable resource, and it is being damaged by the needless hold back of water at the lake, in excess of the 3.0 feet recreation level. The outflow was approximately 100 cfs on Aug. 21, 2019, then dropped to 60 cfs,, and then plummeted to below 35 cfs in one day.

If you are concerned and want changes for the Priest River, please contact IDWR Priest Lake Management team at priestlakemanagement@idwr.idaho.gov.

Also contact our legislative representatives:

- Sage Dixon, sdixon@house.idaho.gov;

- Heather Scott, HScott@house.idaho.gov;

- Jim Woodward jwoodward@senate.idaho.gov.

JON QUINN-HURST

Priest River