Koocanusa Reservoir to Remain Low Through Summer

Army Corps of Engineers blame low snowpack and lack of rain

By Justin Franz
Low water levels along Lake Koocanusa. Beacon file photo

Lake Koocanusa is expected to remain far below its normal pool elevation this summer due to a low snowpack and dry conditions.

The reservoir is expected to peak between 2,432 and 2,437, potentially as much as 22 feet below the typical targeted peak pool elevation of 2,454 feet, sometime in early August. Normally, the reservoir peaks in July.

In a press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, officials say the low water level is a result of a low snowpack and little precipitation. The snowpack in the Kootenai River Basin was 70 percent below normal this year and in February the reservoir saw the lowest monthly inflow volume ever recorded. May precipitation was 36 percent of normal and June has been 45 percent of what is considered normal.

“It has been a dry year overall,” said Logan Osgood-Zimmerman, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Columbia River senior water manager. “We kept the reservoir nearly five feet higher at the end of December than in most years and then have been operating on minimum flows for much of winter and spring to try and conserve water.”

The low water level could impact a number of private docks and marinas on the lake, according to Army Corps officials.


Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.