P. Lake drawdown to start on Oct. 1

| August 26, 2020 1:00 AM

Due to planned construction this fall/winter on Outlet Dam and the Thorofare breakwater, drawdown of Priest Lake will begin a bit earlier than in years past.

Drawdown releases will begin Oct. 1, 2020. Flows will be rapidly increased over several days to lower the lake level 3 feet in preparation for Priest Lake Outlet Dam improvements work and Thorofare break-water rehabilitation work, set to begin Nov. 1, 2020.

Officials said early winterization of docks and boats is strongly recommended to ensure work is complete before the end of September. Boat ramps may become inaccessible earlier than normal, and high river flows are expected.

The department and the Idaho Lakes Commission are working to develop a system for regularly updating the Priest community on Outlet Dam operations, lake levels, river flow conditions, and IDWR projects taking place locally, according to Lakes Commission Executive Director Molly McCahon.

The Outlet Dam, which was constructed in 1978, is owned by IDWR and operated by a contractor on behalf of IDWR.

The Oct. 1 date was established to enable rehabilitation construction to begin on the dam and Thorofare breakwater this fall.