International Kootenay Lake Board of Control
Kootenai River Inn
7169 Plaza Street
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Thursday September 14, 2006
2:30 - 4:30 PM
||Col. Mike McCormick (host)
(acting for Kirk Johnstone)
Dr. Mark Colosimo (IJC), Tom McAuley (IJC), Marian Valentine (USACE), Dan Egolf (FortisBC)
- Welcome and introductions – Mike McCormick
Col. McCormick welcomed meeting participants and led a round of introductions.
- Review of the agenda – Mike McCormick
The agenda was adopted without change.
- Business from previous meeting
Status of EIS to change Libby project operation (VARQ) – Mike McCormick
Col. McCormick reminded members that the final Environmental Impact Statement for the VarQ operation of Libby Dam was released in April 2006. At present, final signoff of the EIS awaits a formal review of the June 2006 freshet event during which the Libby project had to spill unanticipated inflow. Signing will unlikely take place before December.
A new US Fish and Wildlife Service biological opinion (biop) for sturgeon was adopted in May 2006. Questioned on the length of time needed to determine the efficacy of the biop, the colonel advised the time frame was unknown.
Physical efforts to aid endangered sturgeon take two tacks: adjust the channel substrate for better suitability; and, adjust flows to entice the fish to move to better habitat.
Libby and Bonners Ferry hydrographs – Larry Merkle
The peak inflow to Lake Koocanusa, about 77,000 cfs, occurred in May, but a second inflow peak of over 60,000 cfs occurred in June. This second peak led to a spill event of 55,000 cfs. At Bonners Ferry, resultant water levels were near 1765 feet in May and up to 1766.6 feet in June. The inflow to Kootenay Lake in May was over 120,000 cfs, demonstrating significance of inflow to the lake from below Libby.
Damage Level Study, Kootenay Lake – Larry Merkle
The (US) assumed flood level for Kootenay Lake of 1755 feet appears suspect in light of high water events in the last decade. A practical flood level around 1751 feet would appear more realistic. A recent BC Hydro flood level study suggests flood damage begins to occur around the lake at this lower level.
British Columbia does not use a flood level in the same sense as the US government. In the province, flood construction levels above the one-in-two hundred year flood event are generally accepted
or about 1760 feet around Kootenay Lake.
Dan Egolf reported that there is a strong real estate rush around the lake, and properties are being surveyed such that they encroach on areas subject to flooding.
- New Business
Compliance with the Kootenay Lake Order in 2006 – Daniel Millar
The Applicant, FortisBC, managed water levels in the lake during 2006 in compliance with the orders of approval. The pre-freshet level dropped to below 1739.32 feet a few days after April 1, and control on the rising limb of the freshet moved to Grohman Narrows a few days before the spring rise was officially declared. These exceedences are within the limits described in the order.
Fortis BC operations in 2006 – Dan Egolf
As a follow up to the Board's visits to the company's water level gauges last summer, FortisBC leveled the bench marks at the Queens Bay and Corra Linn forebay gauges. No corrections were required for Queens Bay gauge, but a small correction is needed for the forebay. The company still needs to follow up on bench mark leveling and intake pipe flushing at the Nelson gauge.
Mr. Egolf reported that the Corra Linn generation/flow curves are suspect. New curves are being developed, but still have anomalies when compared to downstream dams. When ready, the new curves will be presented to the Board for approval.
Kootenay Lake water level -public concerns – Glen Davidson
Mr. Davidson reported that several parties have raised concern about high water levels and the complexity of system management on Kootenay Lake. One individual complained about the rapid rise of the lake level at the beginning of the freshet and the lack of public warning. Several of these people are expected to attend the public meeting this evening.
Mr. Egolf reported that FortisBC does publish a short-term water level forecast on its web site, but that the freshet rise forecast was below subsequently-observed levels due to unanticipated conditions.
- Preparation for public meeting
Review of agenda – Mike McCormick
Members reviewed the agenda for the evening's public meeting. Due to high water levels around the lake this past spring, attendance is expected to be much higher than normal.
Col. McCormick thanked members and adjourned the meeting.