International Kootenay Lake Board of Control
Public Meeting

Bonners Ferry Fire Hall Meeting Room
7137 First Street
Bonners Ferry, Idaho

October 28, 2005
7:30 to 9:30 PM


  United States Canada
Chair Col. Debra Lewis (host) Kirk Johnstone
Members Kathy Peter Glen Davidson
Secretary Larry Merkle Daniel Millar
Guests IJC Commissioner Irene B. Brooks

Marc-André Beaucher (Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority), Creston; Brian Stushnoff (Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority), Creston; Charles Brendecke (Consultant, Elk Mountain Farms), Boulder Colorado; Ed Atkins (Elk Mountain Farms), Bonners Ferry; Kindy Gosal (Columbia Basin Trust), Golden; Lucy Dukes (Bonners Ferry Herald), Moyie Springs; Dan Dinning (Boundary County Commissioner), Bonners Ferry; Mary Dinning, Bonners Ferry; Michael Gondek, Bonners Ferry; Bob Graham (Boundary County Emergency Services), Bonners Ferry.


1.   Welcome and introductions

Col. Lewis welcomed guests and led round table introductions.
Debra Lewis
2.   Review of the agenda

The agenda was adopted without modification.
Debra Lewis
3.   IJC and the Kootenay Lake Orders - context

Larry Merkle gave a presentation to explain the organization of the International Joint Commission and the Kootenay Lake Board of Control. He outlined the history of the 1938 IJC Order on Kootenay Lake and described the principal provisions of the Order.
Larry Merkle
3.1     Kootenay Lake levels 2004

Daniel Millar presented the 2004 hydrograph for Kootenay Lake. (See appendix 1.) The 1938 Kootenay Lake Order prescribes the maximum allowable water level throughout the year. From September through to the beginning of January, FortisBC is allowed to store water on Kootenay Lake to 1745.32 feet as measured at Queens Bay. Then, in preparation for the freshet, the water is drawn down below 1739.32 feet around April 1. This stage promotes drier lowland areas upstream of the lake, presenting farmers in Creston Valley and Kootenai Flats an early opportunity to get on their fields. Beginning with the freshet, water levels are managed to take advantage (by lowering) of the 1930s excavation of the lake outlet at Grohman Narrows. After the freshet, the maximum allowable water level is 1743.32 feet as measured at Nelson, until September. The company has kept water levels below these criteria through the year, reaching a high of 1746.10 feet in June and a low of 1738.93 feet in March.
Daniel Millar
3.2     Questions from the public concerning the Kootenay Order and operation of Kootenay Lake in 2004

Bob Graham expressed concern that an image of the 1997 high water at Bonners Ferry cited a water level that was higher than he believed was depicted by the picture. Larry Merkle agreed to confirm the date of the photograph and stage of the river. Later investigation confirmed that maximum Bonners Ferry river stage did occur on the date shown on the photograph and that it is highly likely that the photograph was taken on the date shown.

One participant asked "What is Grohman Narrows?" The narrows is a restriction of the outlet of the lake upstream of Corra Linn dam. At times, Grohman Narrows, rather than the dam, controls lake levels.

Other participants asked to see hydrographs of the lake for various years, including the 1997 high water year. These images were displayed.

Another participant asked if the level of Kootenay Lake could be lowered more during high spring runoff events by additional dredging at Grohman Narrows. Mr. Merkle responded that preliminary studies indicate that increasing the lake outflow capacity by dredging is not feasible because the control would just shift slightly downstream and not cause the lake level to be lower during high water events.

Another person in the audience asked whether the historical Kootenay Lake hydrographs displayed by Mr. Millar were available on the internet. Mr. Millar replied that they were not on line at this time, but were certainly available upon request.
Debra Lewis
4.   Adjourn

Col. Lewis thanked participants and adjourned the meeting.