Seasonal drawdown begins on Flathead Lake

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Sunset on the Lake David Gibson of Lexington, Ky., enjoys a sunset kayak tour around the north part of Flathead Lake with Brian "BJ" Johnson and Joli Hailey of Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours out of Lakeside, on Sunday, June 23 near Somers. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)

Energy Keepers, Inc. has begun its seasonal drawdown of Flathead Lake.

The firm, owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, operates the Se?liš Ksanka Qlispe’ Hydroelectric Project, formerly known as Kerr Dam, on the Flathead River. Travis Togo, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, said that “over the last week, they’ve drafted one-tenth of a foot” off the lake through the dam. This, he explained, is “business as usual.”

During the summer months, dam operators allow the lake to rise to a level of about 2,983 feet above sea level to suit the needs of recreational users.

Then, in what Togo calls a “slow and gradual draft,” they allow its water level to drop by about two feet, to prevent fall and winter storms from causing too much erosion on the lakeshore.

On Thursday afternoon, its water level had reached 2,981.58 feet above sea level, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Energy Keepers plans to have that down to 2,981 feet by Oct. 31.

Reporter Patrick Reilly can be reached at preilly@dailyinterlake.com, or at (406)758-4407.

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