Flathead Lake in seasonal drawdown

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Sally Finneran/West Shore News Fishermen cast in Flathead Lake near Somers on Thursday.

The tribal corporation managing the former Kerr Dam hydroelectric project announced plans Tuesday for the seasonal drawdown of Flathead Lake.

Energy Keepers Inc., a corporation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, reported that the lake’s current elevation is about 2,891.8 feet. A slow and steady decline in coming weeks should put the elevation at about 2,891 feet by October’s end.

By December, the forecasted elevation will be about 2,888 feet.

Energy Keepers said Tuesday that current inflows to Flathead Lake are about 4,084 cubic feet per second, with current outflows at about 6,000 cfs.

A news release reported, “September was dry, with only about 50 percent of normal streamflow on the Flathead,” a trend expected to continue in October, Energy Keepers said.

Typically, operators of the Selis Ksanka Qlispe Dam allow Flathead Lake to be fuller during the summer to support recreational use and then draw down the lake in winter to help reduce storm-related lakeshore erosion and to prepare for the inflow of spring runoff.

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