Kootenay Lake Board of Control Responsibilities

On November 11, 1938 the Commission granted an Order of Approval to the West Kootenay Power and Light Company to operate Corra Linn dam at Granite, B.C. to store six feet of water in Kootenay Lake and also to excavate the outlet of the lake at Grohman Narrows. The Order stipulated that the works be operated subject to a number of conditions, and established the International Kootenay Lake Board of Control to supervise the construction and subsequent operation of the works. The current board operates under a Directive dated October 24, 2016.

Corra Linn Dam is 30 km (16 mi) up the Kootenay River from its confluence with the Columbia River. The Kootenay River is U shaped originating in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and flows south into northwestern Montana before turning north to flow through northern Idaho back into British Columbia. Kootenay Lake is 100 km (62 mi) long and 3 to 5 km (2 to 3 mi) wide. The outlet to Kootenay Lake is approximately half way along the west shore.

Corra Linn Dam

The 1938 Order requires an orderly draw down of Kootenay Lake in preparation for the spring runoff such that the elevation not exceed 1739.32 feet on or about April 1 as measured by the lake elevation gage at Queens Bay. During the high summer water, the allowable lake elevation is calculated using the discharge from Kootenay Lake under original outlet conditions existing before the excavation of Grohman Narrows. At the end of the summer to allow farmers to work in their fields along the flood plain, the 1938 Order also specifies that once the lake elevation falls below 1743.32 feet as measured at the Nelson gage it should be held below this elevation until August 31. Between September 1 and January 7, the maximum elevation is 1745.32 feet.

Kootenay Lake gauge at Nelson

Between 1927 and 1970 the Creston Reclamation Company, the Duck Lake Dyking District and the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Authority received approvals (Orders of 12 October 1950, 3 April 1956 and 31 March 1970) from the IJC to construct and improve dykes adjacent to the channel of the Kootenay River and in the Duck Lake area for the reclamation of flooded lands. Duck Lake is located just north of the United States-Canadian border at the south end of Kootenay Lake. The enforcement of these Orders also was referred to this Board. In December 2003 the IJC terminated the Duck Lake Orders based on a determination that protection afforded by Libby Dam reduced to near zero the potential for Duck Lake’s dykes to cause backwater effects upstream at the Canada/U.S. border.

The Board consists of four members, one from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Environment Canada and the B.C. Ministry of the Environment. An annual report is submitted to the Commission in April of each year.