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Spokane River
Nov 10 , 2009
The Q’emiln Park boat launch ramp on the Spokane River in Post Falls, Idaho will be closed for the season beginning Friday, Nov. 13. The ramp, located upstream of Avista Utilities’ Post Falls Hydroelectric Development, is typically closed each year in mid-November due to weather conditions and dropping water levels.
The boat launch must remain closed for safety reasons whenever water is spilled through gates at the Post Falls Dam, which can be the case for much of the fall through spring. The ramp will re-open in the late spring or early summer, depending on the amount of inflows into Coeur d’Alene Lake
As a result of Avista’s annual drawdown of Coeur d’Alene Lake, Spokane River levels above the dam will be approximately three feet below summer elevation on Nov.13.  Water levels may drop by as much as five additional feet by the end of January. These water levels are subject to change due to weather conditions.
Avista has a 24-hour telephone information line that provides notification of anticipated elevation changes on Coeur d’Alene Lake, 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.
Published: 11/10/2009  9:29 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Sep 03 , 2009
Avista will begin lowering the water level at Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane River behind Post Falls Dam on Tuesday, September 8 in accordance with its new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license.

Avista manages the lake level to prepare for spring runoff, to mitigate flooding in the winter and to optimize power production. The drawdown will take several months to complete.
Published: 9/3/2009  11:50 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 27 , 2009
I just got word that we’re going to have a planned outage next Tuesday, Sept. 1, for some customers along Lake Coeur d’Alene. Our crews are working on improvements to our Ogara substation and they need to shut off the juice for about four hours.

Approximately 760 Avista customers on the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene from Carling Bay south to Ogara Bay, including the City of Harrison and customers on Hells Gulch Road will be impacted by the outage. About 575 Kootenai Electric Cooperative members on the southeast side of Lake Coeur d’Alene and in the Harrison area will also be impacted. The outage will begin at 3:30 a.m. and is expected to last until about 7:30 a.m.

This event is a good chance to talk about infrastructure upgrades, improved reliability projects and meeting customer demand. We always use those buzz words when talking about rates and why we file requests for increases. This work shows where some of those words are put to action. Customer demand in the area has increased and work on the sub will allow for increased demand.

So, if you live in this area, you’ve got a couple days to find a battery-power alarm for that early morning wake-up call. Personally, I opt for the cell phone alarm. It’s plenty loud and the phone holds a charge for a few days.

If you are impacted by this outage, drop us a line and let us know how it went.
Published: 8/27/2009  4:00 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 19 , 2009
Post by Dan Kolbet

On Thursday Avista received a new 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for operating its hydroelectric dams on the Spokane River. For most of us living in this region, the dams have become part of the landscape, intimately tied to the river and how we view it. So, the commitment that Avista will continue to protect and enhance natural resources connected with the river means this view will continue. It also means clean, renewable hydropower from the Spokane River will remain a staple resource for Avista customers.
We’ve been working with hundreds of stakeholders to secure this license for seven years. Now that it’s been issued, we’re excited to get started with certainty about our operations. Some of the new items that will be implemented through out the life of the license include:
• Year-round aesthetic flows in the downtown Spokane area
• Increased minimum flows from Post Falls Dam and recreation water levels on Coeur d'Alene Lake
• Water quality improvements in the Spokane River and Lake Spokane (also known as Long Lake)
• Fish habitat studies and fishery enhancements
• Wetlands mitigation
• Improvements to recreation facilities, such as park improvements and campground upgrades
We received some solid press coverage about the license in newspapers today. Check out Becky Kramer’s article in the Spokesman-Review, which includes a detailed Q and A - Power play: Avista dams relicensed
You might also want to catch Brian Walker’s article in the Coeur d’Alene Press - Avista awarded 50-year dam license

FERC Commissioner Philip D. Moeller released a statement on FERC’s website yesterday commending all parties involved in the license process, but added a personal note that I think ties into many individuals’ feelings about the river. He said, “As a child I held a season pass to “Expo ’74,” the World’s Fair based in Spokane. The fairgrounds were located around the Spokane River with a focus on the needs of the world’s environment. Today’s order [issuing the license] balancing the various attributes of the Spokane River system honors the legacy and theme of Expo ’74.”  Read the full statement.
We heard from many, many customers and stakeholders throughout this process. Any additional thoughts or questions on the new license you’d like to share? Click "comments" below to sign in.
Published: 6/19/2009  10:05 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jun 15 , 2009
Post by Dan Kolbet

We just announced that the Post Falls boat ramp at Q’emiln Park will close today. Ironically, we just opened the boat ramp on June 12 - last Friday.
Avista operates the Post Falls Hydroelectric Development on the Spokane River and opens and closes spill gates on the river to control water levels. When the spill gates are open, city regulations require the boat ramp to be closed.
If you were in the area last weekend, you’d have noticed quite a bit of rain. Apparently it was enough to increase river flows into Lake Coeur d’Alene and necessitate spilling water at the dam to keep the lake and river levels from going too high. So, with the spill gates open, the boat ramp closes.
I heard from a few of the Avista employees involved in this open/close decision last week and I know they are definitely mindful of boaters wanting to use the ramp as soon as possible. That might happen in about a week. Watch the blog for more info.
Published: 6/15/2009  2:41 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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