Water Level Decisions & Data
Water Level Decisions
As per the current Order, the Water Levels Committee monitors hydrologic conditions and may provide the Companies with directions for the operation of their discharge facilities at Namakan Lake and Rainy River. Below are directions and updates provided by the Water Levels Committee.
April 7th , 2020
The Water Levels Committee met today to review basin conditions and forecasts. Based on the quick depletion of the snowpack in much of the basin, a modest response in freshet flows, and a relatively dry forecast for the next two weeks, the Committee directed the dam operators to target the middle portion (25% to 75%) of the respective Rule Curves for Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake by May 1.
March 17th 2020
Based on current conditions (snow pack, base flows, winter temperatures) and forecasts, the Water Levels Committee has directed the Companies to target between 25% and 50% of the Rule Curve bands for both Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake as of April 1. The Water Levels Committee is meeting regularly to review conditions and forecasts during the freshet period and will adjust targets accordingly.
June 21st 2019
The Water Levels Committee has directed the Companies to resume normal operations at Rainy Lake, following the standard Rule Curve. Under the Sturgeon Protocol, Rainy Lake outflow was unchanged since May 31st, providing stable flows to the Rainy River through the active spawning and incubation phase of the Lake Sturgeon.
May 31st 2019
The Water Levels Committee has directed the Companies to maintain a relatively constant outflow from Rainy Lake over the next week in order to minimize risk of dewatering of sturgeon eggs along the Rainy River. Active spawning has been observed at Manitou Rapids and Long Sault Rapids over the past week.
Under a protocol on sturgeon spawning created a number of years ago, the Water Levels Committee commits to adjusting regulation of Rainy Lake outflow to protect sturgeon spawning during periods of declining or slowly increasing inflow to Rainy Lake. This is undertaken on the understanding that the Order, safety, and structural issues take precedence over maintaining stable river flows.
Partners to the protocol on sturgeon spawning include the International Falls and Baudette offices of the Minnesota DNR, Fort Frances District OMNRF, Rainy River First Nation, PCA, and H2O Power. See link for more information on the protocol.
May 2nd 2019
The Water Levels Committee has directed the Companies to begin targeting the lower 50% of the standard Rule Curve range effective today.
April 25th 2019
The Water Levels Committee has been the decision to return to the standard rule curve on Rainy Lake. It has directed the Companies to begin targeting the mid-band (25%-75%) of the Namakan Lake Rule Curve and the 0-25% range of the standard Rainy Lake Rule Curve by Tuesday, May 7th.
April 23rd 2019
The Water Levels Committee has requested that an additional attempt to add spill be carried out by incrementally opening canal gates on the stable headpond level to secure the greatest outflow without compromising mill operations.
April 19th 2019
Three gates were opened at the International Dam on April 18th to maintain the lake level within the directed range. Due to an emergency at the PCA mill, the gates were closed and the reduced outflow from Rainy Lake caused water levels to rise above the directed level range.
April 11th 2019
The Water Levels Committee determined that the risk of flooding at this time is reduced but still exists. The Companies are directed to target the upper 50% of the high flood risk rule curve on Rainy Lake.
March 11th 2019
The Water Levels Committee has issued a press release regarding its decision to target the High Flood Risk Rule Curve this spring.
March 7th 2019
The Water Levels Committee directed the operators to target the middle portion (25%-75% band) of the high flood risk rule curve band for Rainy Lake as of April 1st.
Water Levels Data
Rainy Lake and Namakan Lake Data and Information page (Courtesy of the Canadian Lake of the Woods Board of Control)