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Spokane River

River and lake users should prepare for annual Lake Coeur d’Alene drawdown   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Weather, Hydro power, Spokane River, Electricity

Lake CdA
Avista began its annual fall drawdown of Lake Coeur d’Alene on Sept. 7. We’ll be gradually lowering the lake to about a foot from full pool by the end of September, and then an additional 1.5 feet per month until it reaches its winter level. We want shoreline property owners and boaters to be aware of the annual draft so they can make seasonal preparations, including removing boats from the water and securing docks for low-water conditions.

Avista manages the lake level to prepare for spring runoff, to mitigate flooding in the winter and to optimize power production. As part of our FERC license to operate our Spokane River Hydroelectric Project, which includes Post Falls Dam, Avista is required to maintain the level of Coeur d’Alene Lake at summer full-pool elevation of 2,128 feet from as early as practical (in May or June) until the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Following Labor Day, the lake is lowered to about 6 to 7 feet below summer level over a several-month period. The slow drawdown increases flows of the Spokane River and slightly decreases river levels between the lake and Post Falls Bridge. Spill gates at Post Falls Dam are not opened during the initial stages of the drawdown, and the river should remain open for recreation until November; however, river users should be aware that water levels can fluctuate at any time depending upon weather and dam operations.

For river levels, visit Avista has a 24-hour telephone information line that provides notification of anticipated elevation changes on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Lake Spokane and the Spokane River during the subsequent 24-hour and one-week periods. In Idaho, call (208) 769-1357; in Washington call (509) 495-8043. The recorded information is provided to advise shoreline property owners, commercial and recreational users of changes in the lake and river elevation levels that may affect plans for water use.

Avista also has a new e-mail news system for customers, recreationists, property owners and others interested in news and activities related to Avista’s Spokane River Hydroelectric Project, including river levels and dam operations.

To be added to the mailing list, send an e-mail to  Please do not send general questions or comments to this e-mail address, as it is not monitored constantly. E-mail messages that are sent out will have name(s) and contact information of Avista personnel for customers wanting more information.

Spokane River users should always use caution as water levels may change quickly. This warning applies to all areas of the river, especially around hydroelectric facilities.

By obeying warning signs, using common sense and following area rules and regulations, boaters, swimmers and other recreational users can safely enjoy the Inland Northwest’s scenic waterways.

Follow these safety tips:
• Be alert for debris, obstructions, and partially submerged objects.
• Always obey warning signs near dams.
• Never cross boater restraining cables or buoy lines that designate areas where boats should not operate.
• Never anchor your boat below a dam – water levels can change rapidly with little warning.
• Watch for overhead cables and power lines, especially if you’re in a sailboat or catamaran.
• Always wear personal flotation devices (PFDs), no matter what your age or swimming ability.
• Never operate watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Posted by  System Account  on  9/15/2010
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