No Drawdown in New Lake Pend Oreille Pact

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Any reference to a plan that would have released water from North Idaho's Lake Pend Oreille in order to moderate downstream water temperatures has been pulled from the language in a new pact between the Kalispel Tribe, the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The drawdown debate has raged for a while. Earlier this year, the Lake Pend Oreille Alliance claimed that the Corps had been drawing down the lake by 2 feet during the summer months, but federal officials said that simply wasn't true.

"They want your water!" trumpets the Lake Pend Oreille Alliance on its website. "No late- or mid-summer drawdown. Not this year not ever."

The Corps did admit to studying the possibility of cooling the Pend Oreille River to improve bull trout habitat by drawing water from the lake. But now, the Bonner County Daily Bee reports that the idea has been lifted from the new agreement "and replaced with a new strategy for addressing the effects of temperature issues and impacts on bull trout and other aquatic species."

But it's unclear what some of those "strategies" might be. The Idaho Lake Commission is scheduled to take up the issue when it convenes on Tuesday, Dec. 16, in Sandpoint.