Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Energy Keepers plans to keep lake at higher spring level

by Rob McDonald, Energy Keepers
| April 11, 2024 12:00 AM

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) approved a request from Energy Keepers, Inc (EKI) to deviate from the Flood Risk Management plan by allowing for a higher spring lake level than usual.

Typically, each spring, the water level is taken down to 2,883 feet. The requested change, approved March 25, would raise the flood risk management elevation on April 15 from 2,883’ to 2,885’ range. 

The established Flood Risk Management is dictated by a 1965 Memorandum of Understanding with the USACE. The deviation increases the probability of lake refill in June, however, the flood risk is minimal.

“It is expected that this relaxation would have minimal risk based on modeling an analysis of current conditions,” states the letter from the USACE.

The summer flows in 2023 remain among the driest seen in the history of the lake, a pattern that forecasters are seeing continuing into 2024. Flathead lake began refilling operations earlier this year to respond to precipitation and hydrological trends.

“By taking these actions early in the season we increase the likelihood Flathead Lake will reach its maximum elevation in what forecasters are predicting as another dry year,” said Brian Lipscomb, EKI CEO. “Should we experience unforeseen precipitation then we can make further adjustments. By May, we are prepared to make further changes to standard operations depending on weather conditions.”

EKI staff conduct frequent analysis and projections of hydrological conditions to ensure top management practices and actions. Flathead Lake will likely be in the 2888’-2891’ range at the end of May.